Minor Thoughts from me to you

Archives for Fred Thompson (page 1 / 1)

Fred Thompson Gets Out the Vote

Fred Thompson gave a great speech this morning, exhorting Republicans to get out the vote. It's just unfortunate that his candidate is John McCain. While John McCain might be better than Barack Obama on economic issues, I'm not really convinced that he would be. McCain is a deficit hawk who would be comfortable raising taxes in order to pay for the recent bailouts and his proposed increases in defense spending. McCain is an economic populist who hates profits and "greedy" businessmen. McCain is an economic populist who believes the government needs to buy mortgages to bailout homeowners.

No thanks.

But this speech is great motivational material for anyone thinking of voting for Bob Barr. An excerpt:

All of this is important, because how we respond to our economic challenge is more important than the crisis itself. For the last 25 years the United States, and indeed the world, has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity. You wouldn't know it from listening to Obama, but worldwide over 1 billion people have been able to lift themselves out of poverty. This is due to America's influence, from our defense of freedom in World War II to the Cold War, to the ascendency of our free-market capitalism, the adoption of open trade policies, and globalization. Yet some say our current financial difficulties are evidence that we should turn our back on our founding, free market principles ... that it's time for big changes.

But in a world that is increasingly inter-connected by jobs, trade and global finance, how our economy is viewed by the rest of the world is extremely important to America's economic well being. The worst thing in the world we could do is appear to be unfriendly to investment and trade with an economy constrained and made uncompetitive by layers upon layers of new regulations, and bogged down in the divisiveness of class warfare. Yet if you are to take them at their word this is precisely the direction that an Obama administration and a Democratic Congress would take us, turning a short term recession into a long term economic decline for the United States.

And while our regulatory regime needs to be examined and improved, we should be clear: capitalism is not the cause of our nation's economic challenges. The subprime mortgage crisis was not rooted in lack of regulation, but in bad policies made by Democrats in Congress that forced banks to give mortgages to people who could not afford the houses they were buying. These are the same politicians who protected the excesses and fraudulent conduct of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They are the same ones who now want to control the spending of hundreds of billions of dollars to solve the problem they helped create, and who tried to slip $200 billion into the first bailout bill for their political cronies in ACORN, the organization that is now systemically perpetrating voter registration fraud around the country. This record, Obama and the Democrats say, entitles them to total control of all of the levers of power in Washington.

Under an Obama-Reed-Pelosi scenario nothing will restrain them from making the secret ballot in union elections be a thing of the past. The so called "fairness doctrine" will likely be passed, restricting free speech on talk radio, possibly even the Internet.

Thompson Talks Religion

This is the first time I've ever heard a candidate give the right answer, when asked how Christians should approach social problems. The fact that Fred Thompson refused to pander to the crowd just ices the cake.

Thompson Talks Religion - From The Road:

Mixing theology and social issues on the campaign trail is rare for Fred Thompson, but he discussed it today answering a question from a member of the audience.

A woman asked him if he would "as a Christian, as a conservative" continue President Bush's programs to combat global AIDS.

"Christ didn't tell us to go to the government and pass a bill to get some of these social problems dealt with. He told us to do it," Thompson said.

"The government has its role, but we need to keep firmly in mind the role of the government, and the role of us as individuals and as Christians on the other."

Thompson Won't Dance to Dobson's Tune

Earlier this year, James Dobson stated that he would never endorse Fred Thompson for President. (Not only that, Dobson decided to question Thompson's faith, without every actually meeting him.) I like the way Thompson recently responded.

A gentleman who has never met me, who has never talked to me, I've never talked to him on the phone. I did have one of his aides call me up and kind of apologize, the first time he attacked me and said I wasn't a Christian...

I don't know the gentleman. I do know that I have a lot of people who are of strong faith and are involved in the same organizations that he is in, that I've met with, Jeri and I both have met with, and I like to think that we have some strong friendships and support there...

I don't particularly care to have a conversation with him. If he wants to call up and apologize again, that's ok with me. But I'm not going to dance to anybody's tune.

I don't know if I'll vote for him. But I like him anyway.

President Fred Thompson?

J. Peter Mulhern, at The American Thinker, is pretty convinced that we'll be talking about President Fred Thompson in a little over a year.

Conventional wisdom is hardening around the proposition that Fred Dalton Thompson is too lazy, ill-prepared, tired, old, lackluster, inexperienced, inconsistent and bald to make a successful run for President.

Of course, conventional wisdom rarely gets anything right. When it does, it's only by accident.

In this case conventional wisdom is not just wrong but comically so. Thompson will win the Republican nomination for two reasons. First, he's a very impressive candidate. Second, there's no realistic alternative. He will win the general election for the same two reasons.

He next runs down a list of reasons why all of the other Republican and Democrat candidates are unrealistic alternatives (Romney has the instincts of a used-car salesman, Giuliani is too far from the base, McCain and the base hate each other, etc). Then, he starts talking about what makes Fred a good candidate.

We have gotten so used to speaking of the President of the United States "running the country" that most of us no longer notice how unrealistic and unAmerican that expression is. The whole point of the American Revolution was to establish a country without anyone to run it. We don't want or need a president who is inclined to run things. We need a President who leads and inspires. Fred, with his non-managerial background, is the only candidate of either party who seems to get this.

Consider that Fred's calm, sensible demeanor permits him to say things that would terrify many ordinary voters coming from someone who seemed less steady. Thompson can say radical things and nobody turns a hair. If any other candidate talked about overhauling social security and the tax code while we fight a global war of which Iraq and Afghanistan are mere outcroppings, a substantial part of the electorate would faint dead away. Try to wrap your mind around the reality that coming off like an old coot having a conversation as he whittles next to the pot-bellied stove down at the country store is an excellent way to attract most American voters.

Frankly, that appeals to me. And that aspect of his personality comes through very clearly in some of his recent campaign videos. He's unassuming and laid back. But he possesses a razor sharp wit and a quick mind.

I need to know more than I do about Fred's positions on various issues. But he's impressed me with what I've seen so far.

Contrasting Freedom With Oppression

On Friday, Fred Thompson reminded us of the importance of engaging the world with our ideas:

It's equally tragic that the U.S. is in no position to provide the victims of [Hugo Chavez] with the truth. There was a time, though, when Americans were on the front lines of pro-freedom movements all over the world. I'm talking about the "surrogate" broadcast network that included Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, often called "the Radios."

When Ronald Reagan was elected, he greatly empowered the private, congressionally funded effort and handpicked the Radios' top staff to bring freedom to the Soviet Union. Steve Forbes led the group.

Cynics still say that the USSR fell of its own weight, and that President Reagan's efforts to bring it down were irrelevant, but Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev say differently. Both have said that, without the Radios, the USSR wouldn't have fallen. The Radios were not some bland public relations effort, attracting audiences only with American pop music. They engaged the intellectual and influential populations behind the Iron Curtain with accurate news and smart programming about freedom and democracy. They had sources and networks within those countries that sometimes outperformed the CIA. When Soviet hardliners and reformers were facing off, and crowds and tanks were on the streets of Moscow and Bucharest, the radios were sending real-time information to the people, including the military, and reminding them of what was at stake.

Unfortunately, we scaled back the Radios and are in no position to use them to influence the Middle East or Latin America.

Fred Thompson mentioned that "we'll have a whole new set of media technologies" to use, if we start to stand up to today's dictators. It's true. Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez has forced Radio Caracas Television off of the air, for the heinous crime of disliking him. RCT has decided to keep fighting anyway. Instead of broadcasting their content over their airwaves, they are broadcasting it over YouTube. Last Friday, YouTube listed RCT as their most-subscribed feed of the week. Today's dictators will have a much harder time controlling the flow of information than yesterday's dictators. I think that's something worth celebrating.

Finally, if Iran's government is so peace-loving and wants only to be granted a measure of respect, why are the Iranians so busy clamping down on freedom in their own country?

Unemployment among young Iranians is about 50 percent. Some 40 percent of the population is on the government payroll, and there is not enough oil money to pay off all the people who do support the government (about a third of the population). Thus the government keeps printing more money, and the result in an inflation rate of over 20 percent. The Iranian people are getting increasingly restless, and, more ominously, surly. The government has relied on street level gangs of young Islamic conservatives to discourage such behavior. But it isn't working, and there have been more and more street battles. The government can more readily call in reinforcements, and has won all these brawls so far. But if the government starts losing them, it's the beginning of the end. Some of the kids have cell phones, a technology the government tried to keep out. The fear is that a street level disturbance will result in the protestors calling in their own reinforcements, defeating the security forces, and spreading. The clerics fear an event similar to the one that suddenly destroyed communist rule in Russia and Eastern Europe 18 years ago. For that reason, much attention and cash is spent on the street level muscle (the Basij militia), and a constant willingness to use physical violence against any protests or "un-Islamic" behavior.

There is a difference between the U.S. and our enemies. We need to remember that. More importantly, we need to highlight it whenever and wherever possible.

Why Fred Thompson Intrigues Me

I'm still ingtrigued by the possibility of a Fred Thompson candidacy. Here's why.

Once he declares and his campaign really starts, I'll be able to judge him a little better.

Solutions Not Sniping

Senator Fred Thompson recognizes that what the country needs is bipartisanship, not partisan sniping:

I believe this direct communication and discussion is going to have an enormous impact on our political process. Our nation is facing unprecedented threats, and the challenges of globalization. We have a 70-plus trillion dollar entitlement shortfall and a government that is not effective in important ways.

To solve our problems, we have to realize that our country is pretty evenly divided along party lines. With close numbers in the House and the Senate, there will be no real reform without real bipartisanship. Too often, what we are seeing isn't an effort to find solutions, but rather insults and purely partisan politics. There are many good and responsible people in government who are willing to work together "“ but the level of bipartisanship needed for real progress can only be achieved when politicians perceive that the American people demand it.

I'm demanding it. (It's worth 2 minutes of your time to read the whole post.)

I continue to be interested in a Fred Thompson candidacy. Hopefully he declares soon, so we can see what he's actually made of.