Archive for the ‘Fred Thompson’ Category
Following Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate, alot of chatter is focused on Newt’s stated position on not deporting all illegal immigrants. Newt has rightly received criticism for that policy statement.
Before writing him off at liberal on immigration, it’s important to think whether his stated positions on enforcing the border and streamlining visa programs are mainstream thinking. I’d argue that they’re pretty mainstream.
Let’s compare Newt’s positions with Mitt’s actions, which I wrote about here. Mitt’s portraying himself as an immigration hardliner. What’s interesting is that his immigration ‘epiphany’ is inextricably linked to his presidential ambitions. Here’s what FactCheck wrote about Mitt’s ‘epiphany’:
Romney: As governor, I authorized the state police to enforce immigration laws.
Well, yes. But, as we noted in August, he didn’t do so until he had less than a month left in his term. He was already considering running for president, and the new governor-elect was expected to rescind the arrangement.
Romney began talking about giving troopers the power to make arrests on immigration charges earlier in 2006, but he didn’t sign an agreement with the federal government, a necessary condition for that authority to be granted, until Dec. 13 of that year. Romney was scheduled to leave office Jan. 4, 2007.
In other words, this was Mitt at his political posturing best. This isn’t proof of an epiphany. It’s proof that Mitt’s a political opportunist.
For those who say that there are other options besides Newt and Mitt, let’s examine their records, starting with Ron Paul. Dr. Paul’s position on immigration is certifiably insane. Remember the debate where he was asked about building a border fence? His reply was in question form: “How do we know that they won’t use the fence to keep us in?”
Michele Bachmann passes the purity test but she hasn’t shown any interest in reforming the visa program. She hasn’t shown that she’s given it a moment of thought. In that respect, she isn’t as informed on the total immigration package as Newt is.
While securing the border is important, it isn’t the only immigration consideration. It’s the total package. And by that, I don’t mean a ‘Grand Bargain’ type of “comprehensive immigration reform.” That’s just the Left’s euphemism for amnesty and new Democrat voters.
I’m talking about immigration that’s fierce about protecting America’s sovereignty while welcoming immigrants into our nation who’ve passed through a sane, efficient federal system.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Fred Thompson said it best when he said that “the United States should be a nation of tall fences and wide gates.”
Michele, Newt and Rick Perry all appear to pass that test with ease. Mitt and Dr. Paul don’t pass that test. Meanwhile, Newt appears to be the only candidate who’s thought through his position on streamlining the visa process.
That’s important because streamlining the visa programs would shrink the need for people to illegally enter the country. (I think Mitt refers to that as eliminating the magnets.)
The bottom line is this: None of the GOP presidential candidates pass both the purity test on immigration and the streamlining the visa program test. Of all the GOP presidential candidates, I’d trust Newt’s immigration plan the most, followed by Rick Perry’s, then Michele’s.
I wouldn’t trust Dr. Paul’s or Mitt Romney’s. I wouldn’t trust Dr. Paul’s because it’s beyond bizarre. I wouldn’t trust Mitt’s because he’s prone to saying one thing, then doing the opposite.
Fred Thompson has written a compelling post for the good conservatives at RedState on rebuilding the conservative movement. First Fred outlines the principles of conservatism:
- The role of the federal government is limited to the powers given to it in our Constitution, and the bigger the government gets, the less competent it is to run our lives, and we must have leaders who understand that the market works best when it regulated and legislated least.
- A dollar belongs in the pocket of the person who earns it unless the government has a compelling reason why it can use it better.
- We donâ€™t spend money we donâ€™t have or borrow money that our children and grandchildren will have to pay back, and we must have leaders who understand this and will listen to the will of the people.
- The best way to avoid war is to be stronger than our enemies. But if we are in a fight, we win it because not doing so makes us more likely to be attacked in the future, and we must have leaders who understand this.
- The federal judiciary is supposed to decide cases, not legislate from the bench or dictate social policy and we must have leaders and judges who understand this.
Here’s why it’s important to support FRED PAC:
All of these endeavors are going to continue, and I want you to be a part of it. Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m pleased to announce the formation of FRED PAC. FRED PAC will help identify and support candidates on every level who support a platform of conservative, principles-based leadership and policies.
It’s time we showed America that conservatism is the most logical, common sense political philosophy in existance. We need to remind people that we’re the freedom-loving, prosperity-loving political party. It’s important that we tell Americans everywhere that conservatism was the force that forced the Soviet Union into the dustbin of history.
The cornerstones of Reagan’s governance were prosperity and liberty. That’s because Reagan had a strong libertarian streak in him.
It’s time that we started funding strong, steadfast conservatives who don’t wander from their conservative principles. That’s what FRED PAC is about. I was one of the first Fredheads because I passionately believe in federalism and in conservatism.
Conservatives have a history of getting things done. I’m betting that we’ll rise to the occasion this time, too.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Anyone who’s read this website knows that my first choice for president was Fred Thompson. Since that didn’t work out the way I’d hoped, I’m thankful that he didn’t just disappear back to Hollywood. We need Fred to continue advocating conservatism’s core principles. That’s precisely what he did in this column.
We’ve heard alot recently that we’d have to remake the GOP brand, whatever that’s supposed to be. I suspect the people saying it really mean that conservatives need to abandon conservatism. I’ve rejected that as utter nonsense. I’m not alone in the Right Blogosphere, either. The best news is that Fred Thompson thinks it’s BS, too:
We know that we were given a country based upon certain eternal truths, the wisdom of the scriptures and the wisdom of the ages, the fact that there is such a thing as human nature that has to be taken into account when governing, and most fundamentally, based upon the fact that people are meant to be free. Our founders derived from these principles a government that had its powers separated, checked and balanced because they knew that power tended to corrupt. In keeping with that they incorporated in our Constitution a system of Federalism to make sure that there was not too much power concentrated in the central government, which was given delineated powers and no others.
When we see government burdening us with unnecessary regulations, it’s imperative that we fight against it. When we see government attempting to burden us with trillion dollar tax increases, we must fight against it.
True conservatives are steadfast about federalism because it defines what different layers of government are responsible for. That’s why John McCain isn’t a true conservative. The minute conservatives stop being steadfast about federalism is the minute that the GOP starts having electoral troubles. Once that happens, it’s difficult to get the genie back in the bottle, which is what’s happening right now.
It’s important to note why federalism was part of conservatism’s core: a powerful central government is destined to be corrupt. It’s inevitable. Here’s another great Fredism:
Some of our fellow Republicans say that things are different now and we must change with the times. We recognize that appropriate change is necessary, just as the conservative thinker Edmund Burke did when he supported the American Revolution.
However we must ask those who would modify our principles, â€œWhen did freedom and liberty become outdated?â€ Then, â€œWhat part of our Constitutional framework needs to be abandoned?â€
More than anything else, we need to eliminate spineless squishies. That said, we can’t just abandon them. It’s imperative that we immediately replace the squishies with steadfast, principled conservatives. The reason why we need to replace squishies with principled conservatives is because we need that type of person in Washington, where they’ll be attacked for their beliefs daily. There isn’t a better example of that than the woman who represents me in Washington, Michele Bachmann. In her stump speeches, she often brags that her spine is made of titanium, something I don’t doubt because she’s withstood some whithering attacks from the left. She hasn’t abandoned those principles, though.
We needn’t abandon conservatism. If anything, we need to stop acting like Democrats. If the “GOP brand” is tarnished, it’s because we lost sight of the principles of Reagan and Goldwater. Finally, check this out:
Not too long ago I was asked by a group of 11 year olds why I was so interested in government and politics. I thought about it for a minute and then I said that, while I was interested in politics from an early age, as I got older I became more interested in what politics were supposed to do, like protect our freedoms. I told them that over the years as I read world history it dawned on me just how unique our country was. How a small group of intellectuals and a much larger group of average people, servants, tradesmen, some folks who had had run-ins with the law but all of whom shared a desire for liberty, came here, carved out a place in the wilderness and decided they could govern themselves. How they came up with a Constitution that was the envy of the world and still is. How they elected a President who could have been a king, but instead served his terms, got on his horse and rode out of town never to return.
Isn’t it time we got busy electing conservatives and governing like conservatives? I’d say it’s long past time.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Earlier this week, Drew posted his thoughts about Ron Paul allegedly not being allowed to speak at the Minnesota Republican Convention. After reading his post, I’ve got a couple things that I’ve got to respond to:
Rumor has it that the powers that be in our beloved party will not allow Congressman Paul to speak at the convention. Is it just me? Or is this cause for pause? Is it possible that leaders of the party of Abraham Lincoln (a rather odd duck in his own right) feel it is their province to deny the delegation a chance to hear for themselves what this grassroots phenom is all about? Who do they think Ron Paul is, Sue Jeffers?
Frankly, Ron Paul shouldn’t be allowed within the walls of the convention. He’s far outside the mainstream of the conservative movement on foreign policy. State and national conventions are times when political parties try painting the most positive image possible. That isn’t possible if Ron Paul speaks at the Convention because he’d be the only story that the media would cover.
As a delegate to that convention I would like to hear Congressman Paul speak. I would also like to see the rest of those courageous folks speak, who threw their hats in the ring, and have since either dropped out or suspended their campaigns. That includes Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, Alan Keyes and, of course, the presumptive GOP nominee John McCain. We should at least invite them all.
Having Alan Keyes speak at this year’s convention would be a bigger disaster than having Paul speak. Both men are utterly incoherent and angry sounding. They’d turn more voters off than they’d pull in. In other words, they’d defeat the purpose of the convention. Having them speak would be a bigger disaster than having Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson speak at the 1992 Republican National Convention.
It’s one thing to welcome Paul supporters to join in the fight against big government. It’s another to let certifiable lunatics like Alan Keyes and Ron Paul speak at the state convention.
I will continue to welcome new faces and fresh blood to our embattled party. I have neither supported nor resisted the incredible Ron Paul movement that has threatened to revitalize the republican party this year. But the more those in high places resist the mere thought of Ron Paul, the more I want to hear him out.
I’ve heard Ron Paul in the debates. His ideas are incoherent. During a New Hampshire debate, he said that we could afford health care for everyone if we weren’t paying for the Iraq War. Fred Thompson jumped all over that. Here’s what he said to Paul:
â€œSo youâ€™re saying if we stopped printing more money, we could get out of Iraq and give everybody health careâ€?
Ron Paul talks about fiscal conservatism and federalism but then he whines about us not having national health care because we’re “fighting a trillion dollar war”. How can I take him seriously after that? If you want to “hear him out”, go watch his YouTube videos.
Personally, I’ve heard three lifetimes full of Ron Paul. That’s about three lifetimes too many.
Fred Thompson’s op-ed in this morning’s WSJ is just what conservatives need to hear at exactly the right time. Here’s one of Sen. Thompson’s reminders as to what’s possible when conservatives stick with their first principles:
The power of conservative principles is borne out in the most strong, prosperous and free country in the history of the world. In the U.S., basic constitutional government has been preserved, foreign tyrannies have been defeated, our failed welfare system was reformed, and the confiscatory income tax rates of a few decades ago have been substantially reduced. This may be why the party where most conservatives reside, the Republican Party, has won seven of the last 10 presidential elections.
Americans haven’t tired of having common sense applied to our nation’s most troubling problems. Instead, Americans have recognized that conservative principles haven’t been applied nearly often enough. I suspect that Americans have felt let down that today’s ‘conservatism’ isn’t Reaganite conservatism.
Yet there is still a way to revive the conservative cause. Doing so will require avoiding the traps of pessimism or election-year quick fixes. Conservatives need to stand back for a moment and think about our philosophical first principles.
Conservatives value the lessons of history and respect faith and tradition. They are skeptical of mass movements, perfect solutions and what often passes for “progress.” At the same time, they recognize that change is inevitable. They also know that while man is prone to err, he is capable of great things and is meant to be free in an unfettered market of ideas, not subjugated by a too-powerful government.
It’s great having spokesmen like Sen. Thompson making the case for conservatism but that isn’t enough. What’s needed are an army of spokespeople who can make conservatism’s arguments in whatever setting they find themselves in. Part of what’s necessary is to have a bold attitude. Something else that’s necessary is that these ambassadors should make their arguments personal. If we explain why we hold conservatism’s first principles dear, we’re doing well. If we’re able to explain those first principles on a personal level, we’re doing better.
I’d argue that movement conservatives are ready to start another movement. It isn’t that there aren’t willing foot soldiers for the conservative cause; it’s that we haven’t seen enough conservative standardbearers to follow. When Rush has talked about the RNC’s fundraising woes, his bromide is always the same: Start acting like conservatives and the money will come flooding in like it did in the not-so-distant past.
Conservatives should stay true to their principles and remember:
- Congress cannot repeal the laws of economics. There are no short-term fixes without longer term consequences.
- In a free and dynamic country with social mobility, there will be great opportunity but also economic disparity, especially if the country has liberal immigration policies and a high divorce rate.
- An education system cannot overcome the breakdown of the family, and the social fabric that surrounds children daily.
- Free markets, not an expanding and more powerful government, are the solution to today’s problems. Many of these problems, such as health-care costs, energy dependency and the subprime mortgage crisis, were caused in large part by government policies.
At its best, conservatism’s first principles are so true that they can’t be argued against. The only way they’re defeated is if they’re abandoned on the battlefield of ideas. That isn’t defeat, though. That’s surrender. That isn’t something that I’m willing to do.
Isn’t it time that conservatives pledged that they’d fight the good fight under all circumstances? Isn’t it time that conservatives pledged to rebuild their state parties from the ground up, thereby ensuring that the Republicans we send to Washington are solid conservatives?
Isn’t it time we built our own movement?
The indispensable Instapundit has posted a link on Fred Thompson’s latest role. The news couldn’t be better for movement conservatives. Fred Thompson lost the battle for the GOP presidential nomination but he’ll win the war for movement conservatives in his new job:
Our nation has some serious issues to work through for todayâ€¦and for the next generation. Now isnâ€™t the time for conservatives to be looking for a tailored message or a politically expedient route to victory if the end result is going to be the inevitable slide toward the liberalization and secularization of America, and the growth of government and loss of freedom that inevitably ensues. For us conservatives it must be about principles and policies that are grounded in freedom, free markets and the rule of law. Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ve been talking and writing about for the past few years, and thatâ€™s what I want to talk write about here on Townhall and in the new Townhall Magazine.
I joined Townhall and am writing exclusive commentaries for Townhall Magazine because I see them elevating the discourse on issues based on these principles — smaller government, individual liberty, standing for common values that have become all too uncommon, a strong national defense and, most of all, an optimism and belief in America.
Rest assured that Fredheads across the nation will tune into Fred’s exclusive columns because they’ll want to hear Fred’s articulation of genuine conservative principles.
This is the best way to build the conservative movement from the bottom up. Really, it’s the only way that that type of rebuilding is possible. Both parties face uphill battles in rebuilding their product, though it’s obvious that Republicans have alot more garbage to take out before they’re rebuilt than do Democrats. That said, Republicans have an appealing set of principles to rebuild on, something that Democrats don’t have. Let’s remember that more people voted against Republicans in 2006 than voted for Democrats.
I admit that I was more than a bit pessimistic this morning. We’ve lost 3 straight special elections in districts that should’ve been safe districts. The fact that John McCain, and to a lesser extent the RNC, didn’t seem to care much about the GOP base didn’t sit well with me. Fred’s reminder that he’d seen conservatives up close and personal during his campaign was the perfect tonic for what ailed me.
The thing that have been badly missing from the conservative movement are leadership and vision. Fred offers an abundance of both qualities. He’s someone that can inspire people to get involved in the conservative movement.
Contrary to what others have thought, I don’t think we need Ronald Reagan’s clone. We just can’t stray from the pillars of Reagan’s conservatism, namely freedom, prosperity and a strong national defense. Underlying those pillars are the ideals of limited government and federalism, which isn’t possible without a healthy respect for the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.
Fred Thompson’s enunciation of conservative principles will inspire a new set of leaders. He can play the role of his mentor, Sen. Barry Goldwater. I suspect that he’d like being remembered as this generation’s Goldwater (without Goldwater’s landslide defeat, of course).
Isn’t it time that we rolled up our sleeves and got to work rebuilding the GOP on the right principles? Actually, it’s long past time.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Mike Huckabee is finally flipping his lid. Check out this answer in his interview with Howard Fineman:
Fineman: How do you answer people who say that you ensured John McCain’s nomination by hurting Mitt Romney?
Huckabee: I find it amazing that people would say that I “hurt” Romney. Could it not be that he hurt me? Had he not been in South Carolinaâ€”and if Fred Thompson had not been thereâ€”I would have won. Would it have changed the universe for me? Yes, it would have. Why is it that my candidacy should disappear? Who is it that has the right to pull the plug on it? Is it my critics? My critics never supported me, so why would I sit around and act according to the chorus of critics? I’d rather act according to the chorus of my supporters.
As I said here, the nomination race is over. At this point, Gov. Huckabee would have to win 83.3 percent of the remaining delegates to win the nomination; McCain only has to win 40 percent of those delegates. What are the odds that both those things will happen? He has the right to continue but it’s unrealistic for him to think he’ll win.
What’s particularly unbecoming is his playing the ‘If my opponents hadn’t been in the race, I would’ve won’ card. Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson both had more credentials to be president than Gov. Huckabee has. Sen. Thompson has tons of foreign policy experience, federalist principles and a habit of cutting wasteful spending in Wsahington. And he voted to balance the federal budget four consecutive years.
Mitt Romney took over the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics when they were filled with corruption. He had to deal with the security of world’s athletes in the aftermath of 9/11. He built Bain Capital from the ground up. He has a long legacy of accomplishments.
Mike Huckabee has a quick wit and a mixed history of cutting and raising taxes. And he thinks that he’s the one who should be president? Shame on him for thinking that.
What’s been true all along is that Mike Huckabee’s never been more than a likeable second tier candidate. His sense of humor and his position on the disaster known as the Fair Tax are the only things that kept him in the race.
That’s hardly the resume of a first tier presidential candidate. That’s the resume of a first tier presidential wannabe.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Yesterday, I announced on NARN’s Final word that I’d caucus for Mitt Romney Tuesday night. I’ll do everything in my power to encourage others to do the same.
It isn’t a secret that I was a Fredhead from Day One. I said numerous times that he was the conservatives’ gold standard. He had almost impeccable federalist credentials. I knew that he’d appoint strict constructionist judges. He had a strong record of voting for tax cuts and reforming entitlements.
I’ve also been critical of Mitt Romney, especially citing his flip-flops. One thing that I’ve always believed, though, was that he’s an extremely intelligent man. Anyone with a history of accomplishments like he has must be intelligent. I’ve always thought, though, that he was reliably in the conservative camp on immigration, which isn’t a minor thing.
It isn’t a big admission that John McCain has been stronger on Iraq, That said, we’re well on our way to victory in Iraq, nullifying McCain’s biggest strength.
Another plus Romney has over McCain is in their decision-making process. Mitt Romney will pore over significant amounts of data before making a decision. Clearly, that isn’t what John McCain does. In fact, it’s mystifying to me how he can say that the debate is over on manmade global warming. The facts simply don’t bear that out. As George Will said recently, when did anyone have to say that the debate is over on whether the earth is round? We know that because we’ve got irrefutable visual proof of that.
Other considerations factored into my decision: John McCain is a disaster on a whole host of important issues. He still hasn’t let go of his Shamnesty bill. If he had, he wouldn’t have hired Juan Hernandez to be his Hispanic outreach director. He still thinks of McCain-Feingold is constitutionally solid law event though a key portion of the bill was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
I suspect I wasn’t alone in being uncomfortable in hearing McCain talk pejoratively that he served out of patriotism, not profit, as though profits are evil.
While the GOP candidates clearly didn’t like Mitt, it’s equally clear that Johhn McCain’s smugness and not-so-straight-talk weren’t winning people over.
Simply put, a President McCain has a couple strengths, numerous risks and little upside. A President Romney has numerous strengths, few risks and significant upside.
In the final analysis, that’s what made the decision to support Mitt Romney a relatively straightforward choice.
PS- Remember that a vote for McCain is a vote for the Democrats’ agenda.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Earlier today, Captain Ed announced that he’d caucus for Mitt Romney when Minnesota holds its caucuses on Super Duper Tuesday. Of the remaining candidates, I find myself agreeing most with Mitt. Something that Captain Ed said, though, raised some red flags for me. This is the part that caught my attention:
This decision did not come easily. Some have complained about the choices available to the Republicans, but I have seen the field as a collection of highly accomplished, experienced candidates, almost all of whom I could support, enthusiastically, in a general election. That made the decision as hard as it was, and it forced me to analyze what I want to see in a nominee.
Frankly, this isn’t a great bunch of candidates. John McCain is certainly strong on the Iraq war but he’s also the guy who would pick justices who would preserve his only legislative ‘achievement’, campaign finance reform. He’s also the man who thinks that manmade global warming is so important that he’s willing to co-sponsor a huge tax increase to reverse manmade global warming.
That’s before we start talking about his role in the McCain-Kennedy Grand Bargain amnesty bill. Sen. McCain says that he “got the message” on immigration reform, that he’ll shut down the borders first before giving all the illegal immigrants amnesty. As I wrote here, we got the message, too, when he hired Juan Hernandez as his â€œHispanic Outreach Director.â€
That isn’t the resume of a great candidate. The only way you get there is if you’re good at rationalizing and if you use the loosest of subjective criteria.
Next there’s Mike Huckabee. His resume reads like a liberal’s. He’s cut some taxes, raised others. He tried giving illegal immigrants taxpayer-subsidized tuition breaks. That’s before we start talking about his foreign policy credentials, which are meager at best.
He’s run the Arkansas GOP into the ground, too, because conservatives frequently opposed his initiatives. According to the Washington Times article, anyone that didn’t follow him in lockstep was undercut by Huckabee.
Here’s another statement that I disagree with:
The Democrats have no one who can match that experience. Putting McCain or especially Fred Thompson against the Democratic nominee, whether that is Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, effectively cedes the inexperience argument. It argues that Republicans consider resumes to be irrelevant, and that will have us fighting with one hand tied behind our backs.
Having Fred Thompson as the nominee “effectively cedes the inexperience argument”? Who was the man that gave the most intelligent answers, whether the subject was foreign policy, immigration, specific entitlement reforms, the overall economy? Who mopped the floor with the other candidates in the ABC debate in New Hampshire? Who mopped the floor with them again in FNC’s South Carolina debate?
Putting Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama on stage in a debate against Fred would be a delight. He’d surgically destroy their arguments, just like he did with Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney during the ABC-sponsored debate from New Hampshire. Fred’s the only GOP with whom the word gravitas fits. Simply put, Fred was the smartest man on stage at the GOP presidential debates.
I’d further argue that Fred’s experience on the Intelligence Committee and Foreign Relations Committee gives him a depth of knowledge on the most important issue of the race that neither Hillary or Obama has.
To be fair, though, there’s much in Captain Ed’s post that I agree with. Here’s the part that I agree most with:
Both Rudy and Romney have led entire organizations in both the public and private sectors, with Romney getting the best in this area. They have had the buck stop at their desk. Both Rudy and Romney have transformed failing entities (New York City and the Salt Lake City Olympics).
It’s impossible to argue with Captain Ed’s arguments here. Both gentlemen have turned disasters into undeniable success stories. Here’s another statement with which I agree:
Mitt, however, has shown that he will fight in every state, while Rudy played a bit of rope-a-dope, and has apparently lost the gamble. Until the debate, I thought Rudy might have had the right idea, but Rudy still hasn’t come out of the gate in any effective manner.
Mitt has the resources needed to compete in each state, something that’ll be needed in the coming months.
Cross-posted at California Conservative