Friday, December 08, 2006

Jeane Kirkpatrick Dead at 80

I heard a breaking news story on WMAL-AM in Washington just a few minutes ago: Former Georgetown professor Jeane J. Kirkpatrick has died. She was 80 years old.

Best known as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations during the Reagan Administration, Kirkpatrick had an acerbic style that endeared her to anti-Communist conservatives and drove her political opponents up the wall. A neo-conservative when that term did not have negative connotations, Kirkpatrick was one of the Scoop Jackson Democrats who joined forces with the Republican party in the late 1970s and early 1980s on issues related to the Cold War.

Kirkpatrick was a solid intellectual force who was a popular teacher in her years on Georgetown's campus (both before and after her tenure as UN Ambassador). Her speech at the 1984 Republican National Convention put the term "San Francisco Democrats" into the nation's political lexicon years before anyone had heard of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Fox News reports that Kirkpatrick's death

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.

Earlier this year, I wrote about Ambassador Kirkpatrick's commencement speech on the day I was graduated from Georgetown University.

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