We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Fred Thompson: too sane to be President?

This morning Fox and Friends concentrated on three candidates in relation the Iowa caucuses on Thursday night: the two lead candidates in the polls, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney – and John McCain… this was in spite of the fact that Senator McCain is not in Iowa (he is in New Hampshire) and that Fred Thompson is ahead of John McCain is most of Iowa polls.

This is a part of pattern: last night Fred Thompson was on Fox News Sunday, but in the panel discussion, later in the show, the panellists ignored Fred Thompson. He is attacked by people, including me, for not going on enough television shows – but when he does go on what he says is ignored, so perhaps I see why he does not clamour to go on. Yesterday morning Fox and Friends, like the rest of the media, was busy laughing at Fred Thompson’s comments about not being obsessed with politics: “If one is not passionate about campaigning one should not run for office,” was the message of the media.

But what sort of person is passionate about the political process? Not getting things done – but the process of gaining votes. Of going around pretending to be close personal friends with lots and lots of people one has never met before?

Fred Thompson is in the middle of a 40 town Iowa tour – so he is hardly lazy. And he does go on television shows – thus dealing with critics, such as myself, who attacked him for not going on enough shows. But what sort of person would enjoy all this?

A lunatic. Someone who was interested in office for its own sake – not as a means to reduce the size and scope of government.

What the media, including Fox News (the only non-leftist news station and, therefore, of vital importance in the Republican nomination process), are saying is that Fred Thompson is too sane to be President. It is not enough to produce detailed policies for dealing with the entitlement program Welfare State (a cancer that is destroying the United States and the rest of the Western World), or producing a new optional flat tax (individuals could continue to use the existing system if they wished to) to deal with the nightmare of complexity that the income tax has become.

It is not even enough to have a long record of service, going back to Watergate and taking down a corrupt Governor of Tennessee in the 1970′s. And having one of the most Conservative voting records in the United States Senate – before leaving it in disgust at how the system did not allow real reform.

No – someone has to enjoy the prospect for office for its own sake, not to reduce the size and scope of government and restore a Federal Republic. One must enjoy the whole process of politics – i.e. be crazy. Or one must pretend to enjoy it – i.e. be a liar.

And then people complain that politicians are either crazy or corrupt. When they shoo away anyone who comes along who is neither crazy or corrupt.

31 comments to Fred Thompson: too sane to be President?

  • Midwesterner

    Paul,

    Exactly right. When Republicans starting wanting to win elections and get more power instead of stand for the principles they had traditionally held, they achieved the opposite.

    Now they are so obsessed with winning that they have no values left to defend.

    If they nominate one of the big government candidates, they probably will not be given any more chances. New parties have appeared before. The next time it happens could be as painful for the nation as the last time it happened.

  • dre

    Fred’s message to Iowa

    (Link)

  • Dre: I don’t know. He is an actor, shouldn’t he be able to read a speech without a teleprompter, or at least act as if there isn’t one?

  • dre

    Alisa,

    I was listening to what Fred said. As to whether teleprompter reading was a talent of his, I do not care.

    PS Fred did acting without acting classes. Just walked on and did it.

  • James

    Yes, but I understand his first role was as himself.

  • I don’t know, it is probably just me, but although I liked most* of the things he said, i liked the way he said it less.

    *What does he mean to do about SS?

  • dre

    Alisa

    What does he mean to do about SS?

    The pyramid scheme known as “Social Security”?

  • Ken

    Mr. Thompson is just another “big gubment” repub.
    I’m from TN and rather less than impressed with him.
    When it comes down to it however, I may have to hold my nose and vote for him. An A.B.C. voter here (shoot, Obama scares me less than “that woman”)

  • Social Security will be just fine. The dire predictions of its future rest on an assumption that the American economy will grow more slowly over the next 30 years than in any other thirty year period since the Revolution (yes, including the Depression). SS should be abolished on justice grounds, as should the entire state, but on pragmatic grounds it’s fine.

    The real problem is Medicare. That’s going to blow a huge hole in the budget. But politically feasible means of cutting it are about non-existent.

    As for Thompson, he sucks. There’s a real small-government guy running, but he applies the same logic to the oldest big government program that he applies to the little new ones.

  • Britt

    I’ve been a Fred fan for a long time. I like him more then any other of the Republican candidates (any one of whom I like better then any Democrat…except for Huckabee). The important issues I have this year are as always guns, national security/GWOT, and the rising welfare state. With important, although not vital, Constitutional rights being infringed in the course of a war, it is more important then ever that Americans firmly hold on to the reset button that is the 2nd Amendment. I worry not only about the Dems, but about Rudy and Mitt on that issue. Fred had the perfect answer for the question of whether he had guns: “I have some, and I’m not telling you what they are, or where they are.” So my mind rests easy with that.

    I am not an isolationist. I do think an aggressive foreign policy is an important part of keeping the country safe. I do support the war in Iraq, and War on Terror as a whole, and will continue to. I want a candidate who also has that stance. Illegal immigration ties into this tangentially, and I really like Fred’s plan for that.

    Fred is the only person running with a concrete plan to begin drawing down the welfare state (Yeah, I know, Ron Paul would abolish the government by Executive Order. I like the idea, until I think for about ten seconds about the consequences)

    It’s going to be hard to rebuild the shattered sense of personal responsibility in this country. Reagan was too busy beating the Soviets to really attack the entitlement mentality, and the public schools have of course drilled in socialist values for at least forty years. The process of decades will take decades to reverse, but we need to start, because the Welfare State is a cancer. I fear my country becoming an England, where the state controls your health and your safety. Just today I learned you need separate licenses for automatics and manuals. So that’s why I’m with Fred, and not Ron Paul, because he is a statesmen. Maybe Ron provides the heat, but Fred can shine some light.

    Now, a Thompson/Paul ticket….be still my beating heart. What a combo that would be.

  • renminbi

    The MSM are such clueless wankers-maybe just a little bit above Ed majors in brainpower.They don’t see that people who want desperately to be president are the worst people for the job ;they take themselves too seriously and end up thinking they will save the world.

  • gc_admirer

    How long does it usually take for comments to show up?

  • gc_admirer, sometimes never… the thread is not about immigration. It is about (choose one) Fred Thompson, media coverage of Fred Thompson, Fox News or the ethics of being a politician and running for office.

  • Paul Marks

    Britt – quite correct.

    Never tell the government that you own firearms (or tell them anything else if you can avoid it).

    In Australia registration was used as way of helping confiscation – it is an old trick that has been used in many places around the world.

    Yes indeed Fred Thompson was called in to play himself.

    There was a film about a lady who was fired for trying to expose a corrupt Governor of Tennessee who had sold pardens to criminals. Then the media went to work smearing the lady (contrary to the myth, the normal role of the media is not to expose corruption but to help cover it up – and to smear anyone who tries to expose) it.

    Then there were worse threats and the lady looked around for help……

    Well there are not many 6.5 tall (and almost that broad) lawyers with a voice as deep as southern thunder. So when Hollywood got around to making a film they had really to cast Fred Thompson as himself.

    He has a very limited range as an actor – indeed, correctly speaking, he can not act (just going on screen and being yourself is not the craft). Still it is a way of paying the bills.

    Joshua.

    Fred Thompson does not have a perfect record – I remember seeing the debate where he admitted voting the wrong way on McCain-Feingold and on No-Child-Left-Behind.

    Still at least he admits error.

    And he has presented plans for dealing with the entitlement programs (and Social Security is NOT fine over the next thirty years – and nor are the other programs). This has been an area he has been warning about for years.

    Unlike someone else I know who will not even use the “e” word (entitlements) in debates – for fear of upsetting his supporters from Moveon.org and the DailyKos who make up a large portion of the people who text in their support after the Fox News debates.

    As for being antiwar – the Congressman from Texas quite correctly voted for the war in Afghanistan.

    On Iraq – I was against going into Iraq in 2003, but to run away now (giving victory to radical Islam – among both the Shia and the Sunni) would be a terrible error.

    The war in Afghanistan would become hopeless for a start. The whole of the Islamic world (and the non Islamic world) would see that terrorism in Iraq had defeated the United States – the will of God would be plain as far as most Muslims were concerned, at least those that did not agree with the radicals would be silent out of fear.

    And the non Islamic world would see that the United States is a helpless power, one that has no will to fight (even when America is WINNING).

    The People’s Republic of China would take careful note of that – in relation to Taiwan and a lot of other matters.

    Overall my fear is that Fred Thompson will end up like Governor Du Pont did in 1988.

    He came in with a very good record, and with a lot of good ideas (Welfare Reform – reform of Social Security, when it would have been a lot less difficult than it would be now, and so on) and…..

    People (George Bush) made fun of his French sounding first name, and his poor presentation.

    And he sank without trace.

    Result – higher taxes, and more regulations.

    To judge by the record that is what people will get with (for example) Governor “Fee Fee” Romney.

    And more entitlement programs – such as the one that has just started to bite in Massachusetts.

    The fines and bills are starting small (as they always do with entitlement programs), but they are going to get bigger and bigger over time.

    That is what the record says that both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee stand for – bigger government.

    Also Hillary Clinton would destroy either one in the general election.

    And unlike Perry I am not sure that a big government Democrat would mean a Republican come back in 2012.

    With great respect I think he forgets the ruthlessness of Hillary Clinton (Bill is lazy – Hillary is not).

    For a start News International would have to “make a deal” or see itself torn apart by regulations (F.C.C. and others) and tax audits.

    So no hard attacks from the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post or Fox News.

    The media would present any economic downturn not as the fault of Fabian Hillary Clinton – but as caused by wicked capitalism.

    A come back for free market ideas depends on at a lot of media help.

    Remember there would be no conservative talk radio – the “fairness doctrine” would kill it.

    “The internet, the internet” – actually the left are very powerful on the interent.

    Not just the big leftist blogs – but companies like “Google” and Microsoft (have a look at MSM some time in anyone doubts where Microsoft stands politically).

    A few free market blogs are not going to cut it on their own.

    “You are paranoid, Hillary is not going to introduce some sort of semi totalitarianism”.

    Yes I am paranoid – but sometimes paranoid people are correct.

  • Nate

    I’m a “friend of Fred,” too.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Ron Paul, too…but as many have pointed out, they differ in many ways.

    Reagan was a transformational president not because he rolled back the state, but because he brought confidence back in to vogue. I think Americans need that, now — and badly.

    The lack of public engagement, confidence, and charisma is the single greatest failure of G.W. Bush’s government. Overall, things are going fairly well in the US — but from the way everyone talks, it’s like we’re back in ’33, again. THAT is the plan of statists….first convince everyone that their life sucks, then offer a friendly hand from the state to make it all better. We can fight them in the government all we want, but if we aren’t confident and convincing to everyone else that liberty is the best means to achieving happiness, it will all be for naught.

    While Ron Paul might very well have a better shot at rolling back the state, I think the victory would be very short lived. He might make inroads in the 4 to 8 years that he would have as president…but realistically we’re going to get no where in 8 years of legislative and executive whack-a-mole.

    We first have to convince society as a whole that government, especially FEDERAL government is neither the first, nor rarely the best answer to every problem. Fred, although not perfect, seems to be very sincere in his commitment to federalism — restoring not just power but autonomy back to the states and the people. And Fred has the stature and charisma to actually have a dialog on that matter with all Americans. (Again, something W sorely lacks/lacked and something that I think Ron Paul could improve upon.)

    As an example, look at the New Orleans debacle…everyone was blaming FEMA for being slow, yada yada yada. Who blamed individual initiative? Who blamed the Mayor? Who blamed the Governor? W didn’t even put up a fight on it, just nodded his head and did some re-organization with FEMA. Until many US citizens can be weened from the thinking that the President is either God or Santa Claus, liberty will be in jeopardy.

    I believe that of all the candidates in the field, Fred has the best chance of replanting that seed in the American mind and then letting it bloom and prosper in the future.

  • Fred is an adult in a game played by children who clamor for attention. The news media are the king-makers. They decide who gets coverage and who doesn’t… What the king makers want are profits… Profits come from attracting eyeballs to the lowest vulgar common denominator…

    Fred is not immediately seen as a “Hillary-Killer”… But he is adult enough to snap her out of the cute-clever-triangulation between Lady Macbeth and the aging Princess… Once her true colors are seen, she will repulse more than the 51% who have already declared they would never-ever vote for her.

    The ONLY one worse than Hillary as President would be Huckabee… We have already had an Arkansas double talker… We don’t need another with the Smooth-Vague Polished Deceit of a Southern Baptist Minister…

    The comments are Right_on-!… Fred Thompson is too sane to be elected. He is too much the adult to be taken seriously. We will never get a chance to see if he is what we needed at this point in history… Sadly.

    The next 8 years will be very dangerous for Western Civilization… It will get bloody and ugly and many cowards will surrender their freedoms for the promise of security… A hollow promise..

  • Sunfish

    He has a very limited range as an actor – indeed, correctly speaking, he can not act (just going on screen and being yourself is not the craft). Still it is a way of paying the bills.

    In his most-successful acting role (IMHO), he still played himself. The character Arthur Branch isn’t too too far from the real FT.

    I’ve been voting in Presidential elections ever since voting against Billy Jeff the first time. (I’m apparently the youngest guy here: the Revolution of 1994 was my first rodeo) And yet, FT is the first candidate for ANY office I’ve ever liked enough to give money to his campaign. And only the second who I liked enough to deface the back of my truck with his bumper sticker (and the first was in a local election)

    I have a modest proposal, while we’re here: let’s lock Romney and Huckabee in a room together for a few weeks. Long enough to force one to brain the other with a rock and resort to cannibalism. Then, let’s not vote for the survivor. One seems to run on the delusion that a winner of a Massachusetts statewide race is not too far left to be electable in the rest of the US. The other is trying to capitalize on the tradition of nitwit southern populism popularized by Huey Long, not realizing that John Edwards got there first and has better hair, and that leftists consider Baptist ministers scary.

  • The key for Fred still is and always has been South Carolina. If he can finish a strong third in Iowa and win South Carolina his campaign will be in a fine position.

    I think his problem is – and if he’s still in the race I’m going to vote for him in the Pennsylvania primary – that even though I think he’d make a good president, I look at him and imagine him actually being President and I just think that it seems odd somehow. For example, I can see Mitt Romney in the White House and not like it very much, but I don’t think it’s unrealistic. For some reason I can’t quite pin down with Fred, I do to some degree.

    I hope he does well because, at least, if he does, it will mean the end of Huckabee and will hopefully bring the other GOP candidates closer to his policy positions. If Ron Paul wasn’t so batshit crazy on foreign policy I’d support him for the same reasons.

  • Peg C.

    FredHead here. I could not agree more than those who most desire the presidency (and from kindergarten on, for cripes’ sake) are the most dangerous of all. Next to “fire in the belly” in the dictionary are pictures of Algore and John Kerry, for starters. Hillary! thinks it is hers not by birthright but because of her husband and her gender: 2 things that should automatically disqualify her — not because she’s married to a former president and she’s a woman, but because her campaign has been run on the platform that she deserves the office solely on the basis of those 2 things. I will never vote for a woman because she’s a woman (well, not since I stopped being a lefty feminist Dem in 1998, anyway). Her sole accomplishment has been marrying and forging the career of what I consider to be one of the worst presidents this country has ever known — and I voted for him twice. She has no experience, no accomplishments, and no principles other than being for herself. Her ambition is such that she has stayed with a serial philanderer of the worst sort to keep her own prospects for high office alive. This is true Blind Ambition. She’s my “senator” and I say these things.

    Fred was an actor. Gasp. He may be again. Reagan was an actor. I came to appreciate him greatly long after he left office and he is indisputably one of our most consequential and greatest presidents. The “actor” criticism is silly and vacuous, something put forth by intellectually lazy people.

    Fred is speaking to us with seriousness and respect, in ways none of the other candidates on either side is doing. “Lazy” is something you call someone when you have no substantive arguments against him. He’s not using vacuous soundbites to woo voters and he treats voters as though we have the attention span and intelligence to listen and understand. He’s unfortunately proving that many do not. I automatically know I will like and respect Fred supporters and find intellectual common cause with them.

    He might be too sane. You have to be abnormal, if not seriously unbalanced, to WANT to be president. Thus I don’t trust anyone who really wants it. Fred was drafted by us and will serve with seriousness and distinction if elected. We’re about to find out if we’re a silly country or a serious one. I won’t bet and my guess is very pessimistic.

  • Re Sunfish’ modest proposal: ROTFL!

    I donated today – keeping my fingers crossed now. Wait, I’m Jewish…

  • JAL

    I’m with sunfish — FT is the first candidate for anything I have given money to — twice so far, more if he keeps moving. My 90 year old mother too.

    He is the most sane, thoughtful candidate I have heard in ages. (And I have been voting since the 60s.)

    I don’t understand why the media is ignoring him — except he really does have “gravitas” (!) and Hillary and Obama will not be able to compete with real competence.

  • Friend of Fred, here, myself and long time blogger too.

    Y’know this what the new media is all about. When the News Media are part of the story and trying (consciously or subconsciously) to affect the outcome of an election, the blogs need to put the light on them, than camera in their faces and ask THEM the hard questions.

  • Thanks for saying what absolutely needed to be said.

    I still see a lot of remarks of people who haven’t studied the issues or candidates beyond the cursory details such as McCain-Feingold. Fred went far out of his way to explain exactly what happened wherein we should be applauding his intent and involvement regardless of the attachment to that bill which McCain, as the senior senator and author of the bill, allowed the infringement of our First Amendment by the introduction of the attachment to the bill ( by Liberal senators ) of what amounts to incumbent protection. ( In direct contrast to Fred’s admission and explanation, McCain, to this day, offers that any infringement is “just fine with him because the bill works”. ) Still further, Campaign Finance Reform was McCain’s attempt to atone for the Keating 5 debacle…let that sink in for a minute.

    It’s very easy to understand Fred instills inherent trust once you bypass the MSM/pundits and learn what he is saying and in how he says it…Give yourself and our country a break, give this man a chance and watch in amazement how what is wrong today go very right tomorrow.

  • Kim du Toit

    A quick aside:

    “He has a very limited range as an actor – indeed, correctly speaking, he can not act (just going on screen and being yourself is not the craft). Still it is a way of paying the bills.”

    …as John Wayne discovered. The best movie stars ALWAYS “play themselves” — they leave acting to the actors. (cue Peter O’Toole’s immortal line in My Favorite Year: “I’m not an actor — I’m a movie star!”)

    I endorsed Fred Thompson before he declared he was running, because he’s the ONLY candidate who is about as close to a Reagan conservative as one can realistically hope for: a man who understands the conservative principle, but can enunciate it in such as way as to inspire others to want what he wants.

    He’s no Reagan — but he’s far closer to Reagan than any three Republican candidates, if you combine ALL their best conservative attributes.

    And sure, he’s not obsessed with winning the Presidency. That should make him all the more desirable, especially compared to fanatical Party apparatchiks like Hillary Clinton, populist popinjays like Edwards, religious hick-state populists like Huckabee, and smooth Big Government types like Giuliani or Romney.

    Hell, Thompson’s positions on most issues sound more like Barry Goldwater (PBUH) than Ronald Reagan.

    But of course he’s therefore ignored by the mass media (even Fox News, the idiots) and by Establishment Republicans, because the latter are like GWB without the religion.

    He may surprise most people. I’m hoping so, anyway.

  • Paul Marks

    Alisa you remind me of the character Willow Rosenburg (spelling alert) from “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” on one of the problems of Vampire fighting “but my parents have noticed I have a cross”.

    I suspect a Star of David would have worked just as well – it is the faith the bloodsuckers do not like. I am not sure whether even faith is the correct word – I get the impression that an athiest Ayn Rand follower waving a copy of the “Atlas Shrugged” could drive back the undead.

    Speaking of bloodsuckers, Hillary….. (sorry – well not sorry actually).

    It is interesting (in a horrible way) watching Senator Clinton going on “Fox and Friends” and saying people should vote for her because if elected she will “cure autism, I have been working on this for many years” and “cure cancer, a lady came to one of my campaign events with a bald head from cancer treatment, but she had painted her head in my support – I will not let her, and all the other people who have invested all there hopes and dreams in me, down”.

    And there was the Christmas ad with Senator Clinton wrapping presents labeled “universal pre K”, “alternative energy”, “universal health care” (and so on) – all these things can be had if only people will vote for her.

    It is appealing to the worst in human beings – the part of them that sees government as a sort of magic box from which they can get anything they want (as long as they support superhuman rulers).

    Sadly Mike Huckabee has a similar view of government – as his record shows.

    “But Mitt Romney does not”.

    It is quite true that Governor Romney has opposed “gun control”, higher taxes and more entitlement programs. But he has also supported all these things.

    It depends what day it is and who he is talking to.

  • E.P.Unum

    Fred Thompson: too sane to be President?

    I’m sorry, that’s a ludicrous statement but I do sense the sarcasm.

    Yes, the Republicans are looking for that ace in the hole, a savior to save face for the Republican Party, that’s their game. But what if this guy sees it for what it really is; a Party that he would certainly have the opportunity and the power to reform to his standards.
    His sell:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VblJq4j0_SE

    Maybe he’s just floating our boats to say what everyone wants to hear. Hell they all do that, but think for a second, what if he means it. Scary thought huh. This could be serious; I might have to double up on Reality TV or ET to get my gossip fill so I sleep better knowing someone else screwed the pouch worse than I did today. Politics could actually become serious, without humor, NOT! We still have the press, that’s humor enough.

    I’m not looking for a president who looks good on TV, or a president who says everything I want to hear or even a president whose soul kill is to win the presidency for his party, to win power for the sake of power. I need a president to tell me I did screw the pouch today and it’s time correct it, a president to stop telling us how great America is when it isn’t. Optimism is not a substitute for leadership.

    Of all my faults and short comings, of one thing I am most certain of myself is an ability to ready people. I believe he has integrity, strength, and the will and maybe the experience needed to pull this off. A man with integrity does not have to think up an answer to appease his peers; he knows that the answer from deep within him is the correct answer regardless of whether or not his peers agree. This is also conviction.

    Conservatism has gotten a bad rap. (Anology: horse blinders). I don’t think that way though. I do think conservatism can be so extreme that it is a detriment to itself; so is everything if not in moderation. I like to think of myself as a Preservative… without the fruit. So, Preservatism is my angle whereas; I like the old ideas but, know that there needs to be a little flex to fit the times. Fred Thomson’s little invocation of George Washington was an interesting touch. It is very difficult for a candidate to pull off without looking cliché; however, it struck a note with me. It is interesting that he uses Washington’s final chapter, “last days”, as an example rather than his accomplishments as the same. I have read Washington’s Farewell Address several times and it is all that. It is an insightful tale of government power, the miss use of such power and a sober warning to and for the future: http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/farewell/text.html
    These readings should be a requirement for all Americans so that they would know the pains of keeping such freedoms and long lasting foreign relationships . It’s a long speech with much pleasantry but, worth it.

    We have had our day in the sun and if we propose to call ourselves Americans then prove it. Think of our children first and leave it better than when we came. That should be our legacy.

    I guess then, I’m looking for a candidate who is too sane to be President.

    Peace out,

    E.P. Unum

  • Cynic

    Reagan was too busy beating the Soviets to really attack the entitlement mentality

    Surely Fred, if elected president, will be too busy battling with muslims to ‘attack the entitlement mentality’?

  • Allan Stewart

    Attn: Fred supporters in Iowa
    Caucus tomorrow. No excuses. Fred needs you. America needs you.
    You may register at the site and you can find the site for your precinct at the Des Moines register web site, the IA GOP website, or by calling your local voter registration office. You must be there by 6:30!
    Only 1 out of 20 registered voters will caucus. You get to vote for 20 people! Every single vote makes a big difference.
    … and bring a date.

  • Paul Marks

    It is not “the Muslims” Cynic – it is not all one billion Muslims who interpret Islam to mean that all non Muslims and moderate Muslims should be exterminated or enslaved.

    And Ronald Reagan never produced detailed proposals for dealing with the entitlement programs – the how to get from where we are to where we want to be (neither has Ron Paul).

    But Fred Thompson has done.

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly the anti Thompson spin continues.

    Fox and Friends declared that John McCain came third (he came forth), and in spite of the “hope to see you tomorrow” yesterday, Fred Thompson did not seem to be on the show.

    However, to be fair, Fox and Friends may have the opinion polls in New Hampshire in mind.