December 28, 2006

 

Tribute to Ms. Kirkpatrick...

Rest In Peace Jeane Kirkpatrick - a great woman, and a great Reaganite conservative.

From: Yahoo News

Jeane Kirkpatrick, ex-ambassador, dies
By: MERRILL HARTSON, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, an unabashed apostle of Reagan era conservatism and the first woman U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has died.

The death of the 80-year-old Kirkpatrick, who began her public life as a Hubert Humphrey Democrat, was announced Friday at the senior staff meeting of the U.S. mission to the United Nations.

Spokesman Richard Grenell said that Ambassador John Bolton asked for a moment of silence. An announcement of her death also was posted on the Web site of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-oriented think tank here where she was a senior fellow.

Kirkpatrick's assistant, Andrea Harrington, said that she died in her sleep at home in Bethesda, MD late Thursday. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Kirkpatrick's health had been in decline recently, Harrington said, adding that she was "basically confined to her house," going to work about once a week "and then less and less."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn, said that Kirkpatrick, who had a reputation as a blunt and acerbic advocate, "stood up for the interests of America while at the U.N., lent a powerful moral voice to the Reagan foreign policy and has been a source of wise counsel to our nation since leaving the government two decades ago. She will be greatly missed."

Karlyn H. Bowman, a colleague of Kirkpatrick's at AEI, called her "always insightful. Always interesting. Very thoughtful about modern American politics and foreign policy. A wonderful colleague."

Bowman also said that Kirkpatrick, who had been elevated to the U.N. post by President Reagan in 1981, had "served with great distinction" at the U.N. "She was a great patriot, a champion of freedom and we will certainly miss her at AEI and the country."

Kirkpatrick was known as a blunt and sometimes acerbic advocate for her causes. She remained involved in public issues even though she'd left government service two decades ago. She joined seven other former U.N. ambassadors in 2005 in writing a letter to Congress telling lawmakers that their plan to withhold dues to force reform at the world body was misguided and would "create resentment, build animosity and actually strengthen opponents of reform."

Bill Bennett, a former secretary of education under Reagan, the nation's drug czar under the first President Bush and a leading conservative opinion-maker, called her "very forceful, very strong, a daughter of Oklahoma, great sense of humor. She held her own."

Bennett said the Iraq Study Group so prominently in the news "would have been better with Jeane Kirkpatrick on it ... She had no patience with tyrannies, said they had to be confronted, you couldn't deal with tyrannies, that there were some people you could work with - these people you couldn't."

Kirkpatrick once referred to herself as a "lifelong Democrat."

She actually switched to the GOP in early 1985, four years after Reagan sent her to New York for the U.N. job. She took with her a reputation as a hard-liner on foreign policy. Because of this, she often was a lightning rod for the opposition. In some respects, she was a controversial figure like Bolton, who recently decided to resign when it became clear the Senate would not approve him for the job on a full-time basis.

Kirkpatrick considered seeking the Republican presidential nomination that went to George H. W. Bush in 1988. She stopped that process short, however, retreating to the position that she would accept the No. 2 slot if asked. She had played a leading role at the party's convention four years earlier - at a time when she was still a Democrat.

Associated Press Writers Edith M. Lederer and Barry Schweid contributed to this story.


From: The Weekly Standard
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/051vnwic.asp?ZoomFont=YES

A True American Hero Jeane Kirkpatrick, 1926-2006.
By: Norman Podhoretz
12/18/2006, Volume 012, Issue 14

When I first met Jeane Kirkpatrick in 1972, she was an academic political scientist mainly interested in domestic politics. She was also a Democrat and a close associate of Hubert Humphrey who, both as a senator and as Lyndon Johnson's vice president, had been identified with the tradition of Cold War liberalism running from Truman to Kennedy and then enthusiastically embraced by President Johnson himself. But about ten years later, in 1980, she came out in support of Ronald Reagan against Jimmy Carter, and even went on to serve as one of Reagan's advisers during the campaign.

Soon thereafter, and thanks largely to an article entitled "Dictatorships and Double Standards" that she had written for Commentary in November 1979, Reagan appointed her his ambassador to the United Nations. There, following in the footsteps of Daniel Patrick Moynihan (another Democrat sent to the U.N. by a Republican president), she simultaneously scandalized and electrified the world by going on the offensive against the anti-Americanism which, then as now, was the default position in the malodorous sinkhole that the U.N. had become. Unlike Moynihan, however, who remained a Democrat, she finally joined the side she was on, becoming in due course a registered Republican. Yet even before she had formally switched parties, she was chosen to speak at the Republican National Convention in 1984, where she stole the show by denouncing the "San Francisco Democrats" - their convention that year had been in San Francisco - who "always blame America first."

She was, in other words, a neoconservative. And it may be worth noting in the context of all the nonsense that has been written in recent years about neoconservatism - some of it rooted in ignorance, some of it in malice, and most of it in both - that Jeane was not Jewish and that she had never been either a Straussian or a Trotskyite. What drove her out of the Democratic party was precisely the "blame-America-first" syndrome - the sour attitude toward America, and especially the barely disguised hostility to American military power - that had come to pervade Democratic attitudes in the late 1960s and that had persisted into the Carter administration. And what turned her from a devoted supporter of Hubert Humphrey into an even more devoted supporter of Ronald Reagan was Reagan's serene belief in America as a wondrous "city upon a hill" and his correlative determination to hasten the day when the "evil empire" would wind up on that very ash heap of history to which the Communists had always so confidently consigned us.

Jeane Kirkpatrick, then, was a veteran of World War III (or what is more generally known as the Cold War), and I would say of her what the English used to say of those veterans of World War II who had done important and interesting work and had come through unscathed - that she, like they, had had "a good war." And like them, too, she never really found anything afterward that engaged her intellectual energies and her political passions as fully as her own "good war" had done. Back in "civilian" life after the war had been won, she resumed her academic career, she served on many boards, and as a famous and esteemed public figure, she continued to write and to speak out whenever the spirit moved her (as, for example, in a prescient piece, also written for Commentary, describing "How the PLO Was Legitimized").

But it was never the same, especially after the death of her husband in 1995. Evron Kirkpatrick, longtime executive director of the American Political Science Association, had been Jeane's mentor, and throughout the forty years of their marriage he continued to be - to invert an old-fashioned term that seems singularly appropriate here - her helpmeet in all things. His death was an immeasurable loss to her - greater, I suspect, than anyone knew or could tell, thanks to the deep reserve that marked both her character and her personality.

Nor did the outbreak on 9/11 of what I persist in calling World War IV tempt her back into battle. She had serious reservations about the prudence of the Bush Doctrine, which she evidently saw neither as an analogue of the Truman Doctrine nor as a revival of the Reaganite spirit in foreign policy. Even so, she was clearly reluctant to join in the clamor against it, which for all practical purposes meant relegating herself to the sidelines.

Because, to my great regret, I saw very little of her in what would turn out to be the last five years of her life, I cannot say for certain that she was relieved to be out of the fray this time around, but I would guess that this was indeed the case. If so, she rested on the laurels she had earned in World War III. Having enlisted as a young woman, she went on to perform brilliant service on the ideological front, where she stood up magnificently for this country at a time when it was under a relentlessly vicious assault at home no less than abroad. It was as a hero of that war that she made her mark, and it is as a true American hero that she will be remembered.

She was also, not so incidentally, a great cook and a most loving friend.

Norman Podhoretz is editor-at-large of Commentary and an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Copyright 2006 - The Weekly Standard

Comments: Post a Comment



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?