Archive for the ‘Fred Thompson’ Category

The Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson has a must read column on why Fred Thompson’s campaign failed…and why it shouldn’t have failed. Here’s a delicious sample of Ferguson’s thinking:

The man or woman who seeks out such a life and enjoys its discomforts is not normal. Not crazy necessarily, but not normal, and probably, when the chips are down, not to be trusted, especially when the purpose of it all is to acquire power over other people (also called, in the delicate language of contemporary politics, “public service” or “getting things done on behalf of the American people”). The case is made, in defense of the contemporary campaign, that this is an efficient if unlovely way to choose leaders: It winnows out those who lack the stamina and discipline necessary to lead a rich, large, powerful, and complicated country. By this argument, Thompson failed because he deserved to.

But the opposite case is easier to make, that the modern campaign excludes anyone who lacks the narcissism, cold-bloodedness, and unreflective nature that the process requires and rewards. In his memoir, Greenspan remarks that of the seven presidents he has known well, the only one who was “close to normal” was Jerry Ford. And, as Greenspan points out, Ford was never elected.

Fred Thompson probably feels terrible at the moment, but he should be honored to be in Ford’s company.

Frankly, I was upset that Fred didn’t garner more votes than he did. I’m more upset with the way the media gave his campaign less attention than they’d give a leper. Most of all, I’m upset with right-of-center commentators who talked endlessly about the latest poll, the candidates’ cash on hand and other horserace-related topics while ignoring the candidates’ qualifications.

To this day, I’m still convinced that Fred Thompson was the most over-qualified presidential candidate since Reagan. To this day, I’m upset that conservatives, who say that the GOP has to be the party of ideas, ignored Fred like he was the Invisible Man.

After the 2006 midterm elections, analysts said that it was an “ideology-free campaign.” I said that the GOP had to return to being the party of ideas. That’s what I’ve devoted the last 14 months to. On issue after issue, I’ll bet that Fred would’ve drawn a sharp, compelling contrast between the Democrats’ position and the GOP’s position.

Conversely, the least-qualified candidate was Mike Huckabee. Simply put, his smartalecky answers were seen as amusing, which garnered him some attention. Frankly, I’ve never even thought of the Huckster as a second tier candidate, much less a first tier candidate.

One theory I have about why Fred didn’t do as well as some thought he would is because the GOP focused on being a big tent party that it forgot to be a principled big tent party. The GOP got so enamored with the majority that they tossed aside the principles that brought the GOP to the doorstep of being the majority party for a generation.

Another theory I have about the GOP’s rejection of Fred Thompson is their not understanding what the pillars of conservatism is built with. At its core, the three essential pillars of Reaganite conservatism were liberty, liberty and liberty. Fred understood that we needed a strong national defense strategy to keep us a free nation. Fred understood that we needed to keep taxes and spending low to give individuals economic liberty. Fred understands that Americans cherish personal freedom, which is why small l libertarianism is part of the Reaganite-Goldwater model.

Views like these might have earned another candidate a reputation for “straight talk”, maybe even the title of “maverick.” But Thompson was more subversive than that; he was an existential maverick, and his campaign was an implicit rebuke to the system in its entirety. He was a man out of his time. With its reduced metabolism and procedural modesty, his campaign still might have served as an illustration of what politics once was like and, if we have the audacity to hope, might be again. After all, by the standards of a century ago, Thompson was a whirligig.

The best thing that could happen to the GOP is for the next generation of GOP leaders to be Fred Thompson intellectual heavyweights. That’ll take lots of work because intellects like Fred don’t come along everyday. Let’s illustrate that by playing a little word association with the candidates.

The first word I think of when I hear McCain’s name is panderer. (The second is stubborn.) The first word I think of when I hear Huckabee’s name is socialist. The first word I think of when I hear Ron Paul’s name is either Neptune or Pluto. The first word I think of when I hear Mitt’s name is flip-flopper. The first word I think of when I hear Fred’s name is gravitas. The first word I think of when I hear Giuliani’s name is 9/11.

That should’ve been the big indicator as to who was best equipped to be the GOP nominee. Unfortunately, the first states allowed open voting, meaning that liberals could pick candidates as unqualified as Mike Huckabee and as liberal as John McCain.

It’s time we started picking serious candidates that would’ve tied the Hillary Clintons and Barack Obamas of the world in knots. That’s what Fred gave us. Which of the last debates, from the ‘Schoolmarm’ debate in Iowa to the ABC debate in New Hampshire to the FNC debate in South Carolina wasn’t Fred the smartest man on the stage? That string of impressive debates was nothing less than an intellectual drubbing by Fred.

While the other candidates each settled into their niches, Fred owned the stage. National security credentials? Check. Fiscal conservative? Yep. Federalist? Definitely. Immigration hardliner? Without a doubt.

The most-repeated ‘criticism’ of Fred was his……style. We were insulted by people who said that Fred didn’t have a fire in his belly. PHHHFTTT!!!! Give me a brilliant man who’s thought through the important issues of the day over a politician with fire in their belly anytime. That isn’t a difficult decision.

Finally, my hope is that we’ll take Fred Thompson, and like-minded politicians, seriously the next time around.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Though I hate admitting it, it’s time to move on now that Fred’s dropped his presidential bid. Before we move on, though, I think it’s important to learn from Fred’s campaign.

The biggest lesson to be learned is that Fred shouldn’t have teased us so long with his entry. Fredheads should’ve contacted his campaign and told him he needed to get in so he could carve out his niche. Had the Fred Thompson of the last few debates jumped in in July or August, I’m convinced that he’d be the prohibitive favorite for the GOP’s presidential nomination right now.

The next biggest lesson we must learn as a political party is that Thompson’s type of conservatism is appealling. The other lesson we need to learn is that we don’t need to abandon conservatism to attract more squishy moderates. I’m all for a big tent but I insist that it’s a principled big tent. Which leads to this important point.

John McCain’s way of collaborating with Democrats is the opposite approach that Reagan used in winning over liberals. Reagan won liberals over with policies that made too much sense to argue against. McCain hasn’t tried winning liberals over. History will show that McCain caved each time he worked with Democrats. The only time he didn’t cave was on the surge.

McCain caved on the Gang of 14 without a legitimate reason. McCain caved on the First Amendment when he teamed up with Russ Feingold, Christopher Shays and Marty Meehan on campaign finance ‘reform’. He caved to Ted Kennedy on immigration ‘reform’, even allowing an open borders advocacy group like NCLR a seat at the negotiating table for the second bill.

Because NCLR was doing the negotiating, we knew that McCain wasn’t talking straight with us when he said that he’d learned his lesson about comprehensive immigration reform. Everyone knew that he and Ted Kennedy simply repackaged the same teethless provisions into a new bill.

Now we’re down to Mitt, Rudy, McCain and Huckabee, though I don’t think Huckabee will be with us much longer. For the reasons stated above, I can’t support John McCain. Simply put, he’s too headstrong to not attempt to shaft Republicans again. I won’t tolerate that. I also can’t support Gov. Huckabee because I’ve seen too many of his dirty tricks. I won’t support candidates that I can’t trust. I also think his Fair Tax plan is a disaster waiting to happen.

That leaves Rudy and Mitt. I like alot of the things that Rudy brings to the table policywise but I just can’t endorse him. I’ll support Mr. Giuliani if he’s the nominee but I won’t go farther than that.

That leaves Mitt. As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve had strong reservations about Mitt. I’ve questioned Mitt’s abortion transformation. I’ve questioned him about flip-flopping on the Bush tax cuts. I’ve called him a convenient conservative who didn’t always apply the principles of federalism.

That said, there’s alot of positions that Mitt’s adopted that I agree with. He’s said that he’d make the Bush tax cuts permanent, something I strongly agree with. Mitt’s said that he’d aggressively fight the jihadists, something else that I approve of. While I’m not convinced that Mitt would hit the ground running with foreign policy, I’d feel alot more comfortable with him if his running mate was Fred Thompson.

Having a Mitt-Fred ticket would be rock solid, far more impressive than Hillary and whoever or Obama and whoever. Fred’s conservative credentials can’t be argued with. Equally important, he’d give the Romney administration instant foreign policy credibility. With Fred as VP, we’d also be certain that the judges and justices that Mitt picked would fit the Roberts/Alito/Thomas/Scalia mold. You can’t do better than that.

I’m not endorsing Mitt Romney at this point. I’m simply pointing out what the best ticket is at this point. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have misgivings about Mitt but I’d also be lying if I said that he’d have the most upside as long as he’s paired with Fred.

Let’s face facts about something. A Mitt-Fred ticket has much more of a chance of uniting the GOP than any other ticket. We’ll need that if we hope to keep the White House under GOP control.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I’ve been meaning to write about what Reaganite conservatism is and isn’t since this summer. In the aftermath of Fred Thompson’s dropping, now’s the time to write it.

Alot of people think that Reaganite conservatism is about cutting taxes, a strong defense and appointing strict constructionist judges. That’s a mistake, not because Reagan didn’t espouse these things but because Reaganite conservatism was much more than that.

At its core, Reaganite conservatism was about liberty. Every economic and foreign policy had liberty as its goal. The byproducts of that liberty were economic prosperity and the collapse of the Soviet Union. To achieve these goals, Reagan understood that he had to stand conventional wisdom on its head. Reagan knew that conventional wisdom wasn’t based on the Constitution’s first principles but on the latest Beltway buzz. Instinctively, Reagan knew that anything born inside Washington’s Beltway was foolishness compared with the common sense found in America’s heartland.

At the heart of Reaganite conservatism was Reagan’s passionate belief that everyone cherished liberty deep in the core of their being. (That’s something that George W. Bush understood, which is why liberating Iraq and Afghanistan was the centerpiece of his foreign policy.) That understanding shined through when he told Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall” even after his speechwriters tried deleting it from the speech several times. He knew that that message needed to be told to stoke the fires of long-suffering Soviet dissidents.

Decades later, one of the dissidents that was re-invigorate by Reagan’s call to tear down the Berlin Wall passed that along to George W. Bush. His name is Natan Sharansky. President Bush read Sharansky’s book, then gave it to his national security team as their reading assignment.

Reagan knew that free people aspired to peace and prosperity. When Reagan talked about that “shining city on a hill”, it was because Reagan’s optimism wouldn’t permit him to picture anything less. The policy co-centerpieces of Reagan’s vision of a “shining city on a hill” were low taxes and low regulations. Reagan knew that the American people, if given sufficient freedom, would achieve economic prosperity. Reagan knew that low taxes gave individuals economic liberty to chart their own course. Once his tax cuts were implemented, Reagan knew that the best thing that he could do was to remind the American people how much they’d achieved during his time in office.

Another first principle of Reaganite conservatism was his demandment that judges believed that the Constitution wasn’t a “living, breathing document” but rather that it was the blueprint that the wisest group of leaders in the history of the world had put together. Reagan knew that the Constitution’s principles provided a pathway to our prosperity. Reagan knew that the vitality of a nation depended, at least in part, on the stability of the Constitution. The Founding Fathers knew what they were doing. The principles that they codified into the Constitution were both wise and applicable to any situation we’d encounter.

That meant that federalism and the Tenth Amendment were key components to Reagan’s beliefs.

Of the remaining GOP candidates, John McCain has the worst federalist/Tenth Amendment record. His votes are based more on conseensus than on the Constitution.

In fact, his teaming with Joe Lieberman on global warming legislation is one of the biggest assaults on our liberties since BCRA. Based on his history, it isn’t surprising that Sen. McCain played a lead role in that legislation. Couple that with his contempt for liberating tax cuts and it isn’t difficult to think of McCain as the biggest opponent to an individual’s liberty.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Jonah Goldberg has a great article up talking about the various types of conservatism. Here’s a little glimpse into his article:

Many of the younger conservative policy mavens and intellectuals have become steadily less enamored of free markets and limited government. Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, formerly Bush’s chief speechwriter, has crafted a whole doctrine of “heroic conservatism” intended to beat back the right’s supposed death-embrace with small government and laissez-faire economics. He calls for moral crusade to become the animating spirit of the right. He’s hardly alone. “Crunchy conservatism,” the brainchild of Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher, is also a cri de coeur against mainstream conservatism. Both of these derive from the kind of thinking that led Bush to insist in 2000 that he was a “different kind of Republican” because he was a “compassionate conservative”, a political program that apparently measures compassion by how much money the government spends on education, marriage counseling and the like.

What these gentlemen are talking about isn’t conservatism. Gerson particularly isn’t talking about conservatism. What he’s talking about is a mix of populism and conservatism. It’s the product of his belief that government is part of the solution. Personally, I’d call it watered-down liberalism.

Bill Kristol’s editorial tries making the argument that conservatives should welcome this year’s candidates, an argument that I reject:

For example: John McCain, with a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 82.3, is allegedly in no way a conservative. And, though the most favorably viewed of all the candidates right now, both among Republicans and the electorate as a whole, he would allegedly destroy the Republican party if nominated.

Or take Mike Huckabee. He was a well-regarded and successful governor of Arkansas, reelected twice, the second time with 40 percent of the black vote. He’s come from an asterisk to second in the national GOP polls with no money and no establishment support. Yet he is supposedly a buffoon and political naïf. He’s been staunchly pro-life and pro-gun and is consistently supported by the most conservative primary voters, but he is, we’re told, no conservative either.

Or Mitt Romney. He’s a man of considerable accomplishments, respected by many who have worked with and for him in various endeavors. He took conservative positions on social issues as governor of Massachusetts, and parlayed a one-term governorship of a blue state into a first-tier position in the Republican race. But he, too, we’re told, is deserving of no respect. And though he’s embraced conservative policies and seems likely to be steadfast in pursuing them–he’s no conservative either.

Kristol’s blinders prevents him from seeing that we need a Reaganesque conservative now. His argument for John McCain, in particular, is feeble. McCain’s lifetime conservative rating isn’t the issue. Most of that rating was built his first 2 terms. The statistic that Mr. Kristol should be talking about is McCain’s conservative rating during the Bush administration. Why is Mr. Kristol ignoring McCain’s global warming legislation? Why is Mr. Kristol ignoring McCain-Feingold, the most despicable assault on the First Amendment in US history? How can Mr. Kristol ignore the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill, which abandons any pretense of abiding by the rule of law?

This morning, George Will takes a dramatically different perspective on John McCain:

In the New Hampshire debate, McCain asserted that corruption is the reason drugs currently cannot be reimported from Canada. The reason is “the power of the pharmaceutical companies.” When Mitt Romney interjected, “Don’t turn the pharmaceutical companies into the big bad guys,” McCain replied, “Well, they are.”

That’s a socialist’s attitude of pharmaceutical companies. Shouldn’t that scare every Republican in the nation?

That isn’t the only complaint Mr. Will, along with hundreds of thousands of other conservatives, has with him. Here’s another complaint:

McCain says he would nominate Supreme Court justices similar to Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Sam Alito. But how likely is he to nominate jurists who resemble those four: They consider his signature achievement constitutionally dubious.

When the Supreme Court upheld McCain-Feingold 5-4, Scalia and Thomas were in the minority. That was before Alito replaced Sandra Day O’Connor, who was in the majority. Two years later, McCain filed his own brief supporting federal suppression of a right-to-life group’s issue advertisement in Wisconsin because it mentioned a candidate for federal office during the McCain-Feingold blackout period prior to an election. The court ruled 5-4 against McCain’s position, with Alito in the majority.

Sen. McCain isn’t credible when he says that he’d nominate strict constructionist judges. That’s nothing more than pandering. They’d imperil his ‘greatest’ legislative achievement.

Simply put, John McCain opposes too much of the GOP’s best thinking to be trusted as their leader. I can’t support him. PERIOD. He’s shown a willingness to totally abandon the principles of Reagan and Goldwater. There’s no hint whatsoever that he’s got an instinct for libertarianism. Quite the opposite. He’s shown a propensity for worshiping at the altar of megaregulation. Here’s proof of that propensity:

When McCain and Joe Lieberman introduced legislation empowering Congress to comprehensively regulate U.S. industries’ emissions of greenhouse gases in order to “prevent catastrophic global warming,” they co-authored an op-ed column that radiated McCainian intolerance of disagreement. It said that a U.N. panel’s report “puts the final nail in denial’s coffin about the problem of global warming.” Concerning the question of whether human activity is causing catastrophic warming, they said, “the debate has ended.”

Sen. McCain’s attempt at stopping debate on a hotly contested issue is typical. He’s shown a pattern of total certitude on issues where major questions exist, especially if the idea has been proven in the court of popular opinion. If we think about it, it’s fair to conclude that that fits his personality. He didn’t want to debate McCain-Feingold on the basis of its assault on the First Amendment. He spoke only about ridding the system of corruption. He didn’t want McCain-Kennedy to be debated. PERIOD. They didn’t want committee hearings. They wanted to limit debate and restrict the amendment process. They knew that it couldn’t pass if it was debated on its merits.

I reject Romney’s convenient conservatism because it isn’t conservatism. It’s populism disguised as conservatism. Last week in Michigan, we saw how little regard Mitt has for the Tenth Amendment. While pandering for votes, he told Michiganders that the federal government would bail the state out after Jennifer Granholm ran that state’s economy into the toilet. That isn’t proof of holding fast to federalist principles. I won’t trust Mitt on federalist issues. While I’m certain that he’d cut some spending, I’m equally certain that he’d grow government in other places that it shouldn’t grow in.

I won’t trust Huckabee. PERIOD. After watching Common Sense Issues fill the phone lines in South Carolina with lies about Fred Thompson’s record, then watching him halfheartedly tell them to stop, I’m certain that Huckabee is one of the sleaziest politicians I’ve seen on the national stage.

Even though I’m pro life, I don’t have trust issues with Rudy. I disagree with him but that isn’t the same as not trusting someone. I’m confident that Rudy’s a federalist who’d nominate strict constructionist judges. The fact that he’s got Ted Olson, someone with impeccable strict constructionist credentials, higlights Rudy’s fidelity to the strict constructionist perspective. I’m also certain that he’d keep taxes low and that he’d try and keep government under control.

More importantly, I’m confident Rudy wouldn’t govern by moistening a finger before making a decision. I’ve watched him long enough to know that he’ll listen to all perspectives, even if he doesn’t agree with that perspective. He accumulates information first, then makes a decision. McCain starts with a conclusion, then works back from there.

Of course, Fred’s still the gold standard. Unfortunately, voters thus far haven’t asked the right questions. The discussion’s centered on process (he didn’t get in soon enough) and measurables (cash on hand) instead of qualifications and fidelity to conservatism’s proven ideals.

Hugh Hewitt avoided talking about Fred’s libertarianism, Fred’s adherence to federalist principles and his record of fiscal conservatism. Hewitt rejected his conservative principles to pad his wallet, which is troubling.

It’s time for movement conservatives to withhold support from the populist wolves in sheeps’ clothing. It’s time that We The People told Hugh Hewitt that we don’t give a damn about his boy Mitt. It’s time that We The People told Ed Rollins to slink off the national stage along with his liberal client Gov. Huckabee. It’s time that we told Sen. Sell Republicans Down the River (aka Sen. McCain) that we won’t tolerate his consistent liberalism.

It’s time that harking back to Reagan became Republicans’ motivation, not just talk.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The endorsements keep piling up for Fred Thompson. This time, South Carolina Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom has endorsed him:

“Senator Thompson’s clear leadership on social, fiscal, and defense issues, as well as his strong and proven stance for border security and the rule of law make him a leader like Mark Sanford,” General Eckstrom said. “I proudly and fully support his candidacy for President, and I ask all conservatives to do the same. Senator Thompson is the only conservative candidate who is now strongly surging in the polls. Momentum is crucial and Senator Thompson has it.”

Here’s Fred’s response to General Eckstrom’s endorsement:

“It is always gratifying when an elected official chooses to support my campaign for President, but even more so when that official is known as a ‘Watchdog for the Taxpayers’ and a leading voice for conservative principles as is General Eckstrom,” said Senator Thompson. “I am also humbled that General Eckstrom joins so many other veterans of our armed forces that are supporting our campaign.”

It’ll be difficult to measure how much this endorsement helps Fred, especially in light of David Limbaugh’s endorsement of Fred. Even if this doesn’t move lots of votes in Fred’s direction, it’s still worthwhile because another fiscal conservative has signed onto Fred’s campaign.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Yesterday, Common Sense Issues got caught on tape push-polling South Carolina. This morning, I decided to check into them so I started with their website. Here’s what I found on their About page:

Common Sense Issues is a 501(c)(4) social welfare, grassroots lobbying organization, comprised of individuals dedicated to educating and informing citizens in an in-depth manner about public policy issues. We encourage citizens to seek ways to work together to encourage opinion leaders and public officials to approach America’s problems using basic common sense principles. We seek solutions to public policy problems and issues that mirror the God-given common sense of the American people.

That’s a crock. Based on this report from South Carolina, their goal is to smear any candidate not named Huckabee:

Among the people receiving the push polling calls was a county co-chairman of former Sen. Fred Thompson’s campaign.

Jason Goings, the Aiken County co-chairman for Thompson, said the call he received started by asking him if he was a Republican who planned to vote in Saturday’s primary and then asked whom he supported. After he hit the button for Thompson, a voice highlighted Huckabee’s position against abortion and said Thompson worked as a lawyer for a lobbying firm that protected abortion rights.

The call also attacked Thompson, a former Tennessee senator and actor, on same-sex marriage, illegal immigration and taxes.

Let’s hope South Carolinians take their anger at Common Sense Issues out on Gov. Huckabee. To say that Common Sense Issues is a sleazy operation is understatement.

Here’s some more information on Common Sense Issues:

An organizer for Mike Huckabee supporters in southern Tennessee and northern Georgia made a large donation to the group that has been sending out hundreds of thousands of automated telephone calls to voters in South Carolina attacking Huckabee’s opponents for the Republican nomination for president.

Common Sense Issues Inc. portrays itself as an independent political organization and Huckabee’s campaign denied any involvement with the group and disavowed its tactics, which have included millions of phone calls in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan and Nevada.

Mark West of Ooltewah, Tenn., near Chattanooga, gave a total of $48,500 to Common Sense Issues Inc., according to Federal Election Commission records. West and his wife, Lori, also gave the maximum of $2,300 each to Huckabee’s presidential primary campaign.

And West is the organizer of the Chattanooga Mike Huckabee supporters meet-up group and the northern Georgia meet-up group as well. Huckabee has no formal state organizations in either state, according to his campaign Web site, but supporters are encouraged to click on a link that takes them to the online meet-up groups in their community, including West’s two groups.

It’ll next to impossible for Huckabee to distance himself from the Wests now that that’s public. this isn’t just an unknown contributor to Huckabee. This is a Huckabee campaign insider. He’s also paying for alot of the push-polling that’s going on.

Davis said Common Sense Issues is not affiliated with Huckabee and does not coordinate with his campaign. He said his group backs the former governor because of his views on issues including a strong defense and cutting taxes.

“The folks who have been critical of our phone calls generally are supporting Mike Huckabee’s opponents. They criticize the fact that the calls are happening, but there has not been criticism of the fact that the information we provide is factual,” he said.

Factual? Technically, that might be true. What isn’t difficult is saying that the statements on the public record are deceptive at best. It’s time that the Huckabee campaign apologized to Sen. Thompson and Sen. McCain. As I said here, Davis’ statement that they’re supporting Huckabee because of “his views on issues including a strong defense and cutting taxes” didn’t pass the laugh test:

That’s laughable. Why would this organization tell South Carolinians that Fred Thompson supported “partial birth abortion” if they’re now saying that they’re “backing Huckabee because of his views on issues including a strong defense and cutting taxes”?

It’s one thing to have Democrats pull this type of crap. That’s expected. Having a Republican pull this is totally unacceptable. It’s time voters shut down the Huckabee campaign. He’s a disgrace to Christians and Republicans.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The minute I read this headline, I knew that Fredmentum had just gotten a huge boost. Will it be enough to help him win South Carolina’s primary? Possibly. Here’s the headline:

David Limbaugh Endorses Fred Thompson

Take a minute and let that sink in a bit. Then exhale. This isn’t the same as Rush endorsing Fred but it’s significant. It’s big. Now let’s look at what David Limbaugh said in endorsing Fred:

He will not respond like a puppet when a debate moderator tells him to raise his hand to signify a childishly simplistic approval or disapproval of a certain policy. He will not be goaded by interviewers into saying things he doesn’t feel comfortable saying. He won’t divide us with class envy or pretend we can be friends with rogue regimes or terrorists. He does not promise a chicken in every pot or pander to liberals on global warming.

It’s obvious that Limbaugh is pointing at McCain when he says that Fred won’t “pander to liberals on global warming.” It’s equally obvious that he’s referring to Gov. Huckabee when he that Fred won’t “promise a chicken in every pot.” Exposing Sen. McCain and Gov. Huckabee as liberals who don’t have a core philosophy. Reagan and Goldwater had a core philosophy. Fred does, too, because he developed his philosophies after reading Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative”, which should be must reading for conservative activists.

Here’s another section of Limbaugh’s endorsement letter:

Fred does not run from his record; more to the point, he doesn’t need to. He shoots straight without the constant self-serving reminders that he does, as in telling us he’s driving the “Straight Talk Express.”

More importantly, Fred is right on the issues, and there’s little doubt his positions are firm. Research his stances; read his position papers. You’ll find he’s very strong in all areas important to mainstream conservatives, including national defense, taxes, spending, life, immigration, federalism, appointing originalist judges, health care and education.

In those paragraphs, David Limbaugh said in detail what I said about Fred being the Gold Standard on the issues. Fred’s thought things through. Fred’s delivery isn’t to everyone’s liking. I’ve never taken a moment’s notice of that stuff.

I didn’t lose faith in Fred because I’ve believed steadfastly in the rightness of his thinking. Obviously, David Limbaugh sees in Fred what I’ve seen in Fred for a long time: Fred’s a true conservative and he’s the smartest man on the stage at the GOP debates. Think back a week when Fred took Gov. Huckabee to task on his record:

THOMPSON: He believes we have an arrogant foreign policy in the tradition of blame-America first. He believes that Guantanamo should be closed down and those enemy combatants brought here to the United States to find their way into the court system eventually. He believes in taxpayer funded programs for illegals, as he did in Arkansas. He has the endorsement of the National Education Association, and the NEA said it was because of his opposition to vouchers. He said he would sign a bill that banned smoking nationwide. So much for federalism, so much for state’s rights, so much for individual rights. That’s not the model of the Reagan coalition. That’s the model of the Democratic Party.

Huckabee’s campaign hasn’t been the same since. I agree with my friend King that that wasn’t scripted. Fred just decided that enough was enough. It was time to go on the offensive. There isn’t anything personal in Fred’s response. I suspect that that response played a big part in David Limbaugh’s endorsing Fred. People will notice after that.

The potential impact this might have on the race is immense. McCain and Huckabee haven’t really competed for conservative voters. Rudy hasn’t competed. PERIOD. This endorsement likely hurts Mitt the most. Mitt’s paid attention to conservatives but he hasn’t closed the deal with them. In fact, his win in Michigan was as much about a favorite son returning as anything else.

The bottom line is that David Limbaugh’s endorsement gives instant credibility that Fred’s a viable candidate for the nomination. Limbaugh’s endorsement will likely help Sen. Thompson in Saturday’s primary and with his fundraising. (I’ve long suspected that contributions wouldn’t flow in until they saw who was likely to claim the nomination.)

One last thing that’s got to be mentioned is that Fred’s repeatedly saying that we’re fighting for the heart and soul of the Republican Party has woken people up. Alot of conservatives sat out the 2006 election because they didn’t see much of a difference between the D’s and R’s. Now they’re seeing someone with a legitimate shot at grabbing Reagan’s mantle.

Fasten your seatbelts, folks. There’s alot left to this race.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

According to this Washington Post article, Fred Thompson got upset when told about his supporters getting push polled. Here’s how Fred got to the bottom of things:

At a steak house in this small town west of Columbia, a man in the small crowd told Thompson that many people had gotten such calls in the past 24 hours. Thompson asked anyone who had received such a call to raise his or hand. At least a dozen hands shot up. The former senator said he’d heard of push polls accusing him of supporting partial birth abortion.

“They’re taking the most outrageous, easily disproved things that they can come up with. It’s amazing to me. Its so ham-handed,” Thompson said. “I had a 100 percent pro-life voting record over 8 years.”

Trey Taylor, 41, told The Post that he’d gotten a call in which, after he’d revealed his preference for Thompson, a recorded voice said Thompson had lobbied on behalf of a “radical” pro-abortion organization. The recording then cited Huckabee’s anti-abortion record.

According to this CBS article, Fred’s called on Gov. Huckabee to put a stop to the calls:

Fred Thompson called on Mike Huckabee to put a stop to push polling calls that misrepresent Thompson’s record. “I find it ironic that this man would talk about cleaner politics and rising above the fray,” Thompson said, “while this is going on right under his nose.”

At an event in Prosperity today, a Thompson volunteer stood up during the audience questions portion and said a lot of people had received negative phone calls that “misrepresented your record.” “Really?” Thompson asked, seeming genuinely surprised. “Could I ask you to raise your hand if you got a phone call like that?” Roughly half the 75 people in attendance raised their hands.

“Good gracious,” Thompson said. “Who do they say is calling? Do they say anything good about any candidate?” “Huckabee,” the audience responded. “They’re picking the most outrageous, easily disproved things that they could come up with,” Thompson said, referring to the substance of the calls, which say that Thompson supported so-called “partial-birth” abortions. “It’s amazing to me, it’s so ham-handed. I call on the governor to put a stop to this.”

Huckabee’s campaign has said it doesn’t know anything about the push polls and doesn’t condone them. Thompson pointed to his endorsement from the National Right to Life Committee and several state right to life organizations as proof of his anti-abortion rights credentials.

That’s a rather passive response on Gov. Huckabee’s behalf. I’ll take him at his word that he doesn’t know anything about them but just saying that they don’t condone them seems passive at best. The proper response is to villify the people doing the push-polling, then telling them to stop such calls immediately.

WCBD-TV is reporting that an organization named Common Sense Issues is behind the calls:

Huckabee’s campaign quickly disavowed the push polling and Common Sense executive director Patrick Davis says his group is not affiliated with the former Arkansas governor.

Davis says his group is backing Huckabee because of his views on issues including a strong defense and cutting taxes.

That’s laughable. Why would this organization tell South Carolinians that Fred Thompson supported “partial birth abortion” if they’re now saying that they’re “backing Huckabee because of his views on issues including a strong defense and cutting taxes”?

This organization should be sued into oblivion if it’s supported by the facts. If they’re saying these types of things, which I believe they are, then this organization is sleazy to its core.

I’d further demand that the Huckabee campaign be investigated for possible ties to this organization.

This type of thing is why I think the polling is wrong. If Fred wasn’t closing the gap and possibly overtaking Huckabee, this organization wouldn’t be doing this. This organization obviously sees Fred as a threat to their prefered candidate because Fred’s the only candidate that’s been mentioned in the push-polling. They didn’t go after McCain. They didn’t go after Romney. Just Fred.

Erick at RedState has a must-read post up on the Thompson campaign. Based on Erick’s reporting, Huckabee is feeling Fred’s heat:

At events in rural areas today, despite sleet, snow, and ice, Thompson saw large crowds. Likewise, Huckabee has escalated his attacks. This bears with conventional wisdom from reporters I talked to who have said they are seeing Huckabee going down and Thompson going up in the polling.

I’ve always beleived that a man of integrity didn’t worry about close scrutiny. If someone wants to check me out, fine. They won’t find anything disquieting. Based solely on Gov. Huckabee’s campaign going negative, I’d say that he doesn’t want people srutinizing his record because he knows it won’t fly.

One thing that’s indisputable: Fred’s getting noticed by conservatives wanting to take their party back. Once that reaches critical mass, the entire dynamic of this race changes dramatically.

UPDATE: Jim Geraghty just laid the wood to Gov. Huckabee and Huckabee’s supporters in this post:

More than a few South Carolina readers have reported the same calls, as well as Campaign Spot Senior South Carolina Correspondent.

I’m neither impressed by the Huckabee campaign, nor from Common Sense Issues, the group behind the calls.

Sure, the Huckabee campaign says they don’t support this, and they’re calling on it to stop. But let’s see some anger. Let’s have Huckabee call up Davis, the guy who’s doing this and say, “stop it, you’re hurting my campaign.” Come on out and denounce Davis as a mudslinging slime merchant who’s manufacturing cynicism on a grand scale. (They’re saying they’ll make a million calls in South Carolina!) The governor’s a good wordsmith, I’m sure he can put it even better than that. Let’s see some fire and brimstone. Tepid words to the Associated Press aren’t going to deter Davis.

If Huckabee supporters want to make Thompson’s lobbying in two or three meetings 17 years ago the reason Republicans shouldn’t vote for him in the primary, they should come on out and say it. Don’t do this in the dark of night, hoping to reach primary voters who aren’t familiar with the issue. If this really was such an objectionable, disqualifying bit of Thompson’s background, we would be hearing it from the candidate himself.

Thanks, Mr. Geraghty, for putting things this eloquently. As I said earlier in this post, I thought that Gov. Huckabee’s response was passive. If that’s the best he can do in confronting a push-poller, then I don’t want him negotiating with a hardline foreign leader.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

To say that Mike Huckabee doesn’t have a steadfast governing philosophy is understatement. This article offers sufficient proof of Huckabee’s ‘flexibility’ in his attempt to be all things to all people.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee yesterday continued to move to the right on immigration during this year’s presidential campaign, signing a pledge to enforce immigration laws and to make all illegal aliens go home.

The pledge, offered by immigration control advocacy group Numbers USA, commits Mr. Huckabee to oppose a new path to citizenship for current illegal aliens and to cut the number of illegal aliens already in the country through attrition by law enforcement, something Mr. Huckabee said he will achieve through his nine-point immigration plan.

“Some would say it’s a tough plan. It is, but it’s also fair and reasonable,” Mr. Huckabee said.

It’s also the opposite of Huckabee’s policy before the presidential spotlight got shined on him. It’s obvious that he’s pandering now after getting slammed for wanting to give illegal immigrants in-state tuition. This happened just a day after his flip-flop on signing a federal ban on smoking.

In other words, he’s saying whatever he thinks will gain him a few extra votes. That isn’t that dissimilar from John McCain’s approach. It doesn’t take tons of courage to be all things to all people. It takes steadfastness to stand for the same underlying principles year after year, decade after decade.

Fred’s done that because he understands Goldwater’s and Reagan’s thinking. Fred knows that keeping taxes low means that families have financial freedom. Fred knows that securing our borders limits the possibility of terrorists getting into the country. Fred understands that keeping as much of the decisionmaking as close to the people as possible isn’t just constitutionally mandated. It’s also the smartest type of governance ever devised by man.

Mike Huckabee either doesn’t understand about that or he doesn’t care about that. I’v seen scant proof that John McCain cares about that type of thinking either. Here’s why that matters.

Today, McCain’s appeal to liberals is to adopt their liberal positions. In 1984, Reagan’s appeal to Reagan Democrats was based on them adopting his conservative beliefs. Let’s put it in contemporary terms.

John McCain abandoned the GOP to craft tax increase legislation. That’s what his Global Warming initiative is. Does anyone think that Mike Huckabee, the populist, wouldn’t sign onto that if he thought it meant a few votes?

Mike Huckabee and John McCain essentially said that our sovereignty wasn’t important when they just accepted the broken borders as acceptable. At least, that was their position until they saw how outraged people were with Shamnesty. Then they reversed course.

Here’s why Shamnesty is a stain on our nation:

Illegal immigrants have had a huge impact on education and health care costs, shifting those costs onto taxpayers. Asking people to work hard, play by the rules and subsidize others isn’t grounded in individual liberty. That’s the principle of enslavement upon which modern liberalism is founded.

We can’t afford to vote for Huckabee because he’s a flip-flopping liberal. The only differences between him and Sen. McCain is that McCain’s unswervingly liberal.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Here’s the transcript to Fred’s newest advertisement:

Fred Thompson: I’m Fred Thompson and I approve this message.
I’ve been a conservative all my life.
I grew up in a little hometown just like this.
Started the first Young Republican Club in Lawerenceburg, Tennessee.
In eight years in the United States Senate, I fought for tax cuts, and for conservative judges.
And I’m proud to have had a 100 percent pro-life voting record.
Common sense conservative principles. Free people and free markets and a government that doesn’t tax and regulate us to death, but defends us and protects our borders.
In a country where, if you play by the rules, you’ve got a fair chance to live the American dream.
My friends, we must remember that our basic rights come from God and not from government.
And if we stick to our basic conservative principles, we will win next November and the United States of America will be better for it.
Announcer: Strength, Conviction, Honesty.
Fred Thompson, President.

This is the type of conservative leadership we’ve craved for years. Fred’s an unabashed free trader. He’s also a fiscal hawk, watching each tax dollar spent like it’s his own.

When Fred says that “must remember that our basic rights come from God and not from government”, it isn’t just a sentence in a speech. It’s something that he steadfastly believes in and has fought for. Just like Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan before him, Fred knows that growing government limits our freedom. Just like Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan before him, Fred knows that raising taxes limits individual liberty.

Friends, we don’t need a leader who doesn’t value our sovereignty. We don’t need a populist who doesn’t give the Constitution a second thought. We don’t need a last minute conservative to pander to people. We need a leader whose beliefs are grounded in something as solid as the Constitution. We need a leader who won’t try to be something he isn’t.

Isn’t it time we said that we’ll only settle for the Gold Standard?

UPDATE: Here’s the YouTube of Fred’s new ad:

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Cross-posted at California Conservative