Friday, July 27, 2007

The Wa-Po probably thinks that this is an anti-Fred hit piece

From The Washington Post:

On the Internet sites where conservatives gather to read and chat each day, Fred D. Thompson, the as-yet-unannounced Republican presidential candidate, has been laying out his positions on dozens of issues with little public notice and plenty of rhetorical flair.

The Virginia Tech massacre, he said, showed that students should be allowed to carry guns "to protect themselves on their campuses," and he said the university's ban on legal guns may have contributed to how long the shooter was able to keep killing.

Scientists who insist that global warming is ruining nature, he said, are like those true believers four centuries ago who insisted that the Earth is flat. "Ask Galileo," he said.

As for Congress's recent attempt at an immigration overhaul, that was nothing more than a "legislative pig" with lipstick that hid the United States' failure to secure its borders. "A nation without secure borders will not long be a sovereign nation," he warned.

[. . .]

Aides said Thompson's writings and Web postings began a year or so ago as an effort to repurpose his radio commentaries. But they have taken on a life of their own now that Thompson is considering running for president, and giving him a forum to lay out his positions.

They have helped distinguish Thompson from many candidates in the race, said Mark Levin, a conservative talk radio host with 4 million listeners. Thompson has appeared on his show four times in the past four months.

"Most of the other candidates -- other than an issue here or there -- are trying to conceal their viewpoints in which they think they will offend some portion of the electorate," Levin said. "Thompson comes out, and he is unafraid of articulating his viewpoints. He's not trying to camouflage them."

Thompson's writings seem certain to appeal to key elements of the Republican base.

"Let me ask you a hypothetical question," Thompson wrote in defending Israel's military responses during the Palestinian conflict. "What do you think America would do if Canadian soldiers were firing dozens of missiles every day into Buffalo, N.Y.? . . . I can tell you, our response would look nothing like Israel's restrained and pinpoint reactions to daily missile attacks from Gaza."

His commentary on the Virginia Tech shootings -- titled "Signs of Intelligence?" -- suggested that the university's gun ban was a reason the gunman was not stopped sooner.

"One of the things that's got to be going through a lot of peoples' minds now is how one man with two handguns, that he had to reload time and time again, could go from classroom to classroom on the Virginia Tech campus without being stopped," Thompson wrote. "Much of the answer can be found in policies put in place by the university itself."

"Virginia Tech administrators overrode Virginia state law and threatened to expel or fire anybody who brings a weapon onto campus," he wrote. "Many other universities have been swayed by an anti-gun, anti-self defense ideology. I respect their right to hold those views, but I challenge their decision to deny Americans the right to protect themselves on their campuses."

Thompson also derided Congress's failed immigration legislation, demanding that its supporters "explain why putting illegals in a more favorable position than those who play by the rules is not really amnesty."

Thompson seems to have taken particular pleasure in mocking global warming.

"It seems scientists have noticed recently that quite a few planets in our solar system seem to be heating up a bit, including Pluto. . . . This has led some people, not necessarily scientists, to wonder if Mars and Jupiter, non signatories to the Kyoto Treaty, are actually inhabited by alien SUV-driving industrialists who run their air-conditioning at 60 degrees and refuse to recycle," he wrote.

People who want to know what Fred Thompson thinks about an issue only have to look at his Senate record and his spoken and written commentaries. Fred Thompson isn't perfect and he's the first one who will tell you that. He has been off the reservation on a couple of issues, like campaign finance reform and tort reform, but which candidate in the race is right about everything all the time?

Some people are attempting to make an issue out of the fact that Fred's new campaign manager is Spencer Abraham who as a Senator from Michigan was an opponent of efforts to stanch the flow if illegal aliens pouring into the country across our southern border.

What people need to remember is that a campaign manager is a technician who handles things like scheduling, media buys, staffing issues and provides advice to the candidate on the best way to get the candidate's message out. If you want to know what Fred thinks about immigration reform look at what he has said about it in the context of the debate over the recent, and now thankfully dead, legislation.

Fred is the kind of politician who will stake out positions on issues during a campaign and then when elected actually follow through on what he promised. That may seem a radical idea to some, but that is the way that most politicians were for most of the history of the Republic. Instead of people asking themselves whether Fred really means what he has said about immigration reform because he hired Spencer Abraham they should be asking themselves how serious Abraham ever was about open borders because he took the job with Fred.

Now having said all that it was a mistake for Fred to associate his campaign with Abraham. The man is too linked in the minds of too many conservatives with an unpopular position and too many people will be unable to make the distinction between "hired help doing what he's told" and "evil puppet-master pulling the strings" (we have the left and their fantasies about Karl Rove to thank for this).

For the Fred supporters out there who are worried I counsel calm. Abraham is only acting campaign manager. He likely was brought on board to perform one or two specific tasks related to the technical minutiae of running a nationwide political campaign and will soon be replaced with someone which whom conservatives will be able to take delight in.