On Sunday, one of the giants of the conservative movement passed away. We had a Throwback Thursday post on Facebook early today linking to Kate O'Beirne's speech to RNLA. Like others, we found her to be incredibly gracious with her time and we can agree in our limited exposure with what Ramesh Ponnuru wrote:
She enlivened every party, taking special care for the people who seemed shy or left out. This same impulse led her to take in young colleagues, or classmates of her children, who had nowhere to go for holidays.
Kate was a true conservative who fought on all fronts, as detailed in this story on school choice:
As an early board member of the organization I founded, the Center for Education Reform (CER), Kate was intensively dedicated to CER (even though education reform wasn’t the issue that grabbed her most). She was steadfast in her commitment to conservative principles and never hastened to argue, with great diplomacy, that focusing on only certain segments of society for educational choice ignored the hard-working middle classes who also deserved to have choices (prescient for 25 years ago, no?).
At her speech to RNLA, while all enjoyed her presentation, it was the women, especially younger women, who were particularly inspired. The reason should be obvious: she was a true conservative role model for women.
Kate O’Beirne came of age in the 1960s, amid the second wave of feminism, but in a characteristically pungent quip, the conservative commentator said she “learned more about self-worth, ambition and opportunity from my conservative parents and Catholic nuns than I ever did from Eleanor Smeal and Gloria Steinem.”
Such luminaries of the women’s movement were to be looked on with a gimlet eye, she said. Instead, she lionized the nun who coached the debate team at her all-girls’ high school and “encouraged us to go in for the kill” against male opponents. The nun also urged her to go to law school.
RIP, Kate O’Beirne.