Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Fred needs to understand that modern politics is a knife fight

David Limbaugh shares some of my frustrations with Fred Thompson's campaign style:

It's time to step up, Fred. Conservatives need a leader about whom we have no major reservations. The only one looming out there about you is your failure, so far, to persuade voters you want the job.

All of the GOP candidates are vastly superior to all of the Democrat candidates, but here's the way I see the field now.

Rudy is a strong leader and very good on national security and the war. But he is a social-issues liberal whose pledge to appoint originalist judges is encouraging, but not completely convincing.

John McCain is a war hero and a patriot. He has been strong on Iraq but disappointing on Guantanamo, tough interrogation techniques and other war-related issues. He is not a supply-sider and is abysmally bad – obviously – on campaign finance reform and thus free speech. Also profoundly troubling is his history of sycophancy toward the liberal media elite and, in turn, their sporadic love affair with him.

Mike Huckabee, I believe, is a strong and sincere Christian. That means a lot to me. It doesn't bother me that he wears it on his sleeve – assuming he's not being exploitive of his religion, and there, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Every candidate's worldview guides his beliefs and agenda, and it would be far worse for Huckabee to deny the strong influence of his worldview in forming his identity and contributing to his ideology. It's one thing to be upset with Huckabee if you believe he has used his Christian credentials subtly to highlight and demean Mitt Romney's Mormonism, but I don't believe that's what he's done. Christians shouldn't be accused of attacking other faiths when they are simply promoting their own.

My problems with Huckabee concern his political agenda. Huckabee is probably the strongest social-issues conservative, and since his views are driven by his strong faith, I don't fear he'll change for expediency or other reasons. But it does bother me that he appears to believe – erroneously, in my opinion – that his faith requires him to endorse an unacceptably expansive role for government. Extremely problematic are his views on foreign policy – applying Golden Rule principles to implacable, deadly terrorists and dictators and sometimes even convicted murderers; his nanny-state, big-government tendencies, including advocating a federal smoking ban, greater government involvement in health care, and opposing school choice; his ambiguous record on taxes; and his pandering to liberals on global warming and class warfare, especially in borrowing from their lexicon to pile on George Bush concerning his approach to Democrats and to foreign policy.
Mitt Romney is a man I've warmed to as the campaign has unfolded. I began with great skepticism because of his major, far-too-recent flips on major issues. Certain aspects of his record – even after his conversion – cast doubt on his commitment to the unborn and traditional marriage. He also strikes me as a bit too coiffed, too robotic and too much of a politician. But I do see Romney as a very likeable man who is saying almost all of the right things, pun intended, and who, if he is the man he holds himself to be, will make a great president.

That leaves us with Fred. I must confess that Fred is the only one I don't have major reservations about – apart from his electability. Yes, I worry that he supported McCain-Feingold and that he might not be a strong supply-sider. But on most issues, he seems reliably conservative and appears to have a solid and strong character. I do believe that with Fred, we know what we are getting.

I find his lack of "fire in the belly" refreshing. He strikes me as one of the few presidential candidates since Ronald Reagan whose primary motivation is not personal aggrandizement but rather serving and leading the nation in very troubled and dangerous times. I see him as almost being drafted into this project, and his refusal to drool publicly over the prospect of becoming the most powerful man in the world is positively delightful.

That said, he needs to make a more convincing case to the voters, which will require a greater display of enthusiasm that he views these as both perilous and promising times and that he is the best man, overall, to navigate the ship of state through these times.

So, Fred, please, as distasteful as it may be to you, it's time to step up and prove you want it. Time is short.

Here's how I see it. I believe that power is so dangerous and so corrupting that the last person you want to trust with it is the man or woman who craves it. Anyone like Bill Clinton who decided in high school that he wanted to be president is someone who should never be allowed closer to the oval office than the guided tour. This lets out Hillary who began planning on taking over in elected office for Bill all the way back in Arkansas.

This also disqualifies McCain whose whoring after the media for more than a decade has been part of his strategy to gain the White House. Giuliani also fails this test because he has been positioning himself for this campaign since he was mayor of New York City. Edwards us also out because anyone who will, in effect, abandon a wife who is dying of cancer and very young children to mount a hopeless campaign for president not only doesn't deserve the office he doesn't even deserve a share of the earth's oxygen supply.

About the only serious candidate for president who passes the "he hasn't been driven insane by his mad lust for power" test is Fred Thompson. Thompson is the true "Civics 101" candidate. Remember how we were told that the way the founders planned it every few years the voting public would find a man whose character and accomplishments in life led them to believe that he would make a good president or congressmen or Senator? Remember how that man was supposed to be reluctant to leave his real life and take a pay cut to take on the headaches of public office? But the people would insist that the nation had been good to the man and it was his time to "give something back" so the candidate would reluctantly stand for office and if elected would only serve one or two terms and then insist on going back to his real life.

Fred Thompson is that man. He was drafted by conservatives who looked at the slate of candidates and knew despair. They begged him to run and he, reluctantly, agreed.

The fact is that he is the only true conservative in the race.

The fact is that only conservative leadership can save the United States of America.

The fact is that in the general election a RINO will lose in a landslide to the Democrat, no matter whether it is Clinton or Obama.

The fact is that all the Republican candidates except Thompson are RINOs.

Those of us who understand what is at stake want Thompson to do absolutely anything it takes to win because anyone else would be a disaster.