Several of us urged her to run for president, but she was too smart for that. After all, what if she won? Then she’d have to do all that thankless work. Much better to be at the American Enterprise Institute, with good friends and smart colleagues at hand, access to all the newspapers and broadcasters of the world, and plenty of time for her beloved Kirk.
Their marriage was a triumph over the conventional wisdom that teacher-student marriages can’t last. If anything, it got better and better, despite the tough times of Kirk’s final illness, and I think it demonstrates what an amazing woman she was. She was famously tough on matters of principle, but at the same time she was happy to rethink old assumptions, eager to learn new things, and intellectually playful to the last.
People often forget that her “career” came third for her, both emotionally and chronologically. The important things in Jeanne Kirkpatrick’s life were husband, children, and career. She was one of the first women to show that, with our longer lifespans, you really can have it all. But not all at once. And I think her life suggests that in some cases it’s much better to postpone “labor market entry” until you’ve got the children up and running, and the marriage in good order.
Great lady. Miss her already.