It has been recently reported in The Buffalo News that Republican County Legislator Kevin Hardwick has decided to caucus with the Democratic Majority and presumedly, become a Democrat.
The ensuing comments from Party leaders on both sides were predictable. Interesting was the comment from Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz that Kevin Hardwick was merely following in the footsteps of another Republican, Jack Kemp, who made frequent attempts to “reach across the aisle” in a spirit of bipartisanship.
My first thought was bipartisanship is fine but one doesn’t need to change parties to pursue bipartisanship. Isn’t it funny that it’s always the other side that wants bipartisanship when they don’t get their way.
Second, it’s a real stretch to use Jack Kemp to justify someone changing political parties. Jack was always engaged in the “battle of ideas.” He was a minority within his own party for years. His supply side, upbeat pro-growth agenda was termed “snake oil “and “voodoo economics” by the likes of George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole.
Through years of debate and sometimes ridicule, Jack never once thought of leaving the Republican Party. When Ronald Reagan applied Kemp’s ideas to his economic agenda, America flourished. For Jack, it was worth the fight.
Only Kevin Hardwick knows why he left the Republican Party. For whatever his reasons it’s certainly his right. However, please don’t use Jack Kemp to justify the decision. He cherished his membership in “the Party of Lincoln.”