Jack Kemp may have been the original compassionate conservative, and no one made the moral case for free market capitalism more effectively in the halls of Congress than he did.

He was a civil rights liberal before he was an economic conservative; his views shaped by his years as a star pro quarterback who appreciated the work of the big linemen, white and black, who protected him in the violent hours of Sunday afternoon.

He believed that lower tax rates, limited regulation, sound money and free trade were the best policies not because they made the rich richer, though he didn't mind that, but because they made everybody richer. And when Ronald Reagan caught Kemp's infectious enthusiasm for what liberals derisively called trickle-down economics, Kemp had an experience few mere congressmen ever have. He saw his ideas, in an almost pure form, adopted and written into law.

What followed was an American economic boom that lasted with only minor interruptions for more than 25 years. When I last spoke to him, just a couple of weeks ago, he bemoaned the lack of a strong voice for those ideas he had done so much to advance.

As one who cared always first about his country and his countrymen, it was no comfort to him to know that if his economic ideas were right, the opposite ideas now being put into play by the Obama administration, cannot also be right.

Brit Hume is the senior political analyst for FOX News Channel.