Jeane Kirkpatrick, 1926-2006


Jeane Kirkpatrick, arguably the archetypal first-generation neoconservative, has died. She was a hawk on foreign policy and a social democrat in the domestic sphere—in other words, her views were pretty much the opposite of mine. But I have a peculiar personal connection to her, one of those six-degrees things that makes the world so unpredictable.

Her son Stuart, who later changed his name to Traktung Rinpoche, got involved in the Rajneesh movement and lived for a while in the Bhagwan's nor

thwestern commune. He later moved to Ann Arbor and attracted a circle of followers, including one of my housemates. I met the younger Kirkpatrick a few times, though I didn't know him well; my housemate was and is a good friend, but I didn't share his religious outlook.

Still, it was through this connection that I learned that Berke Breathed, who had invoked Jeane Kirkpatrick in several funny Bloom County strips, had sent her the original art for the cartoons. Kirkpatrick, apparently unaware of the cultural cache that Bloom County enjoyed at the time, was set to throw them out until her son the guru intervened and explained that they were actually valuable.

For those of you who don't remember them, the strips featured Kirkpatrick in a steamy love affair with the perennial presidential contender Bill the Cat. I have no idea what she thought of the peculiar pop-culture status they gave her. But I'd like to think that one or two of them eventually found their way onto her wall.

NEXT: 'Bizarre' Effects

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  1. Aack!

  2. She… Died!???
    I didn’t think that was possible. Wasn’t she over 500 years old? I thought she sold her soul to the devil in exchange for immortality.

  3. This has been a really depressing newsday. And now this. I still maintain that had she run, Ms. Kilpatrick would have been the first female president, And if you can look beyond the body, she was a BABE.

  4. Oops, make that Kirkpatrick.

  5. Condolences.

    I miss Bloom County.

  6. Close the italics!!!

  7. Close the italics!!!

    I tried. It didn’t work.

  8. Jeanne Kirkpatrick was also a prominent member of
    Social Democrats USA, the International Trotskyite socialist party that also features such as Elliot Abrams and Albert Shanker as prominent 1980’s members. Their website (www.socialdemocrats.org) has been purged of all references to these prominent 1980’s neocons,( see http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j100103.html)but Elliot Abrams is still a top dog in the Middle East. Sidney Hook (whom Pres.Reagan awarded the Medal of Freedom) is still a top Social Democrat.
    I have often wondered how the Republican Party gets away with so many ties to a blatantly Socialist organization without more conservatives rebelling against the obvious contradiction in professed ideologies.

    I also wonder how the left continues to ignore the existence of this pro war, pro union brand of socialism when it promotes the idea of socialism as being inherently peaceful.

    The left and the right are, after all, just two
    sides to the same coin.

  9. And now it does, Hmmm.

  10. Jesse, I had no idea that you were quite the Bohemian.

  11. I actually saw here give a speech at a CN conference in DC a few years back (I think 2002). I remember enjoying it, but I was pretty wasted.

  12. Brendan: Ramble on, ramble on.

  13. Jeanne Kirkpatrick was also a prominent member of Social Democrats USA, the International Trotskyite socialist party that also features such as Elliot Abrams and Albert Shanker as prominent 1980’s members.

    It isn’t Tortskyist, though it was founded by ex-Trotskyists. It is a member of the Socialist International.

    At any rate, if you click on the “social democrat” link in the first paragraph of the post, you’ll see a speech about socialism that Kirkpatrick delivered in 2002. She’s far friendlier to it than you might expect from a Reagan appointee.

  14. Sorry Jesse, I misread the post and thought you met the guy at the commune.

  15. Did she finally freeze herself to death? All that ice water in her veins.

    An unreformed stalinist masquerading as a conservative. Figures that AEI would give her a slot.

    Hope she scrubbed her hands with Comet all these years… the blood of executed nuns doesn’t come off easy.


  16. I’d always assumed that the “Social Democrats USA” was a front ginned up during the runup to the Iraq War.

    You learn something new every day.

  17. Ironic that this occurs just as Ortega is about to take over again in Nicaragua.

  18. “Thbbbt!”

  19. Forget what she thought of the Bloom County references, I want to hear her reaction to Jesse Jackson love-serenading her on SNL.

  20. I will miss her patriotism and honesty. That’s not a bad combination.

  21. What? No discussion of the “Kirkpatrick Doctrine?”

  22. I guess we’ll now find out if death is a totalitarian, or merely authoritarian, fate?

  23. PS — God (atheists please ignore) forgive me, but I’ve been having a prolonged Samuel Jackson moment since I heard the news. You know that line from A Time to Kill.

  24. I will miss her patriotism and honesty. That’s not a bad combination.

    I don’t think it was possible to support and guide U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War and be honest at the same time. I don’t think her support for terrorists in Nicaragua was honest nor her attempt to minimize the rape and murders of nuns by Salvadoran thugs (our thugs, after all).

    As far as patriotism goes, I think supporting dictators that torture and murder dissenters is downright un-American.

  25. I’m glad the horrid excuse for a human being is dead, hope she died in agony, and I pray that she burns in hell for ever.

  26. I’m not as angry at her as A Patriot is. I’m saving it all for when Henry Kissinger dies.

  27. Pinochet is dead.

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