Jack Kemp est Mort

Jack Kemp, the erstwhile successor to the failed heroism of Bob Dole and traditional Kansas republicanism, has died.

Bob Dole, the 1996 Republican nominee, a la gauche, Jack Kemp, the ostensible VP, a la droit
Bob Dole, the 1996 Republican nominee, a la gauche, Jack Kemp, the ostensible VP, a la droit

Let it be noted for the record that, in July 1998, as an attendant at the Mobil station on Main Street in Aspen, Colorado, I filled this man’s immense white Chevy Surburban with gasoline and wiped his windows.

The old Mobil station today: oh, weighted it is, with inepuissable time, and the grandeur of investment
The old Mobil station today: oh, weighted it is, with inepuissable time, and the grandeur of investment

As I did this, he had no cell phone with which to fiddle (it being the late 90s, and pre-Blackberry and all), and thus as I busied myself with the man’s vehicle I asked him a penetrating question which I will long remember:

“Are you Jack Kemp?”

“Yes, I am,” he nodded, stopping to look me in the eye.

Although the U.S.-China relationship would be erupting into terrific controversy within the year, I decided to simply say “Well nice meeting you,” summoning up all of my residual Midwestern reserve as I turned to finish checking his oil. Decent guy, no bodyguards, and, especially in comparison to Sarah Palin, something of a class act. Let’s hope some Republicans huddling around a twilight garbage can fire tonigh in Fairfax Virginia will pour some of their 40s on the ground for our dead homie, and think forward to nominating a decent mensch in 2012 to remind Joe Biden he doesn’t own his job or and needs to keep his office clean.

And I, for one, will imagine another history, one where I took a backseat ride with old Kemp in Aspen, because he said “Get in, kid,” all the while him spinning yarns and recollecting yards traversed in Buffalo, and me whiffing of cheap nostalgic gasoline, as he drives up Red Butte Road.

Long live American democracy!

kempjack1With the Buffalo Bills

3 Comments

  1. Reminds me of when i met Gavin Newsom when I lived in San Francisco and all I could muster was “nice hair” rather than the more pressing political questions I had.

  2. Thanks, Hae Eun. But Gavin Newsom’s hair, like that of old Kemp’s, is truly something to behold.

    Did you find the hidden Tupac Shakur tribute in this post? Since you may be a West Coast partisan guerrilla animator/stuffed animal magnate and your competition, like that of Tupac, is fierce, it only seems right!

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