vote for fred

If only Fred Thompson had decided to make a serious effort to run for President at the beginning, we might not be stuck with McCain now.  So thanks Fred.

Now that Fred has zero chance of being President himself, he tries his best to inspire the people for McCain and to make the argument McCain has thus far failed to make against Barack Obama.

Here’s a part of it:

Obama and the Democrats believe that Americans in a time of crisis will be willing to sacrifice their freedoms, abandon their founding principles and common sense and ease into the mediocrity of the warm embrace of the Washington papa bear who will take care of all of our problems for us.

These are not the ideals of the America that drew brave men and women from all over the world to our shores.  In most cases, they were fleeing nations with the heavy hand of government, intolerance and class warfare.  They risked everything to experience our Founding Fathers’ notion of a limited government with powers that were delineated, checked and balanced, in a land where they could live and prosper in a free, dynamic, upwardly mobile society – the kind that existed no where else in the world. But Obama and his liberal friends don’t see things that way.

The liberal agenda is based upon the belief that there are elites among us who know more and know better than the rest of us.  And that with the application of their intellect and power … and our money … they can impose regulations and establish programs, bureaus and agencies that will solve all the problems of the masses’.

Senator Obama and his supporters essentially see society not as dynamic and changing or full of opportunity.  They see one that is divided by economic classes into which every one of us is permanently assigned.  In their worldview, those in a lesser economic class are presumably resentful and envious.  So it’s the government’s job to level things out … or as Senator Obama would say “spread the wealth around.”  It’s about dividing the pie among static classes, not trying to make the pie bigger for everyone or creating opportunity in an upwardly mobile society.

This is the reason why they do not understand Joe the Plumber.  Because he doesn’t have a higher income today they assume that he never will and that he believes he never will. They expect him to resent anyone whose doing better than he is, instead of planning to do better himself. They don’t understand the Joes of the world.  Never have.  Never will.

Read more here.

For all his flaws, Fred Thompson is something John McCain will never be to conservatives — a true believer.  He’s able to make the conservative case and the argument against Barack Obama because at his core he buys into the philosophy.  Of course there were a few areas where Fred agreed with McCain (campaign finance reform is one example), but on most of the important stuff, Fred was solidly conservative.  The same is true of Sarah Palin.  I hope that this temporary alliance with McCain won’t make her more moderate. The Republican party doesn’t have a deep bench full of conservative women who, with a little more experience and knowledge of national and foreign affairs, could be great leaders for the Republican party.  Our party needs her, but as a true maverick, not the McCain version of the term.

rnc: the end and the beginning

There were three major storylines at the RNC today that had nothing to do with Sarah Palin.  The first was the ceremonial end of the Bush era.  The second was Fred’s red meat speech and his stirring account of McCain’s military service.  The third — Joe Lieberman incinerating those bridges between himself and the Democrats once and for all with his direct attacks on Barack Obama.

The Republicans need to do more to emphasize the differences between Bush and McCain, but they need to do this without completely abandoning Dubya.  There are those in the party who still love the guy, and we need all the votes we can get to defeat Barack Obama.  That’s why the President had to speak at the RNC, no matter how brief the speech would have to be.  I’m not sure that the President did much to advance McCain’s candidacy, but it was nice to give him one last hurrah in front of an appreciative crowd. We also saw a video tribute to Bush Sr. It was fitting that they gave all the Bushes their due at the last convention they will have with a Bush in the White House.  (Unless Jeb surprises us all someday…)

Fred Thompson’s speeches will never approach the eloquence of Senator Obama’s, but he was on fire tonight.

Here’s some of what he said about McCain:

Now, being a POW certainly doesn’t qualify anyone to be President. But it does reveal character. This is the kind of character that civilizations from the beginning of history have sought in their leaders. Strength. Courage. Humility. Wisdom. Duty. Honor. It’s pretty clear there are two questions we will never have to ask ourselves, ‘Who is this man?’ and ‘Can we trust this man with the Presidency?’ He has been to Iraq eight times since 2003. He went seeking truth, not publicity. When he travels abroad, he prefers quietly speaking to the troops amidst the heat and hardship of their daily lives. And the same character that marked John McCain’s military career has also marked his political career. This man, John McCain is not intimidated by what the polls say or by what is politically safe or popular. At a point when the war in Iraq was going badly and the public lost confidence, John stood up and called for more troops. And now we are winning. Ronald Reagan was John McCain’s hero. And President Reagan admired John tremendously. But when the President proposed putting U.S. troops in Beirut, John McCain, a freshman Congressman, stood up and cast a vote against his hero because he thought the deployment was a mistake. My friends … that is character you can believe in.

Zing.  Character matters, at least it does for Republicans.  That’s the main question we have been asking about Barack Obama from the beginning — who is this guy and can we trust him with the Presidency?  Love or hate John McCain — you know where he stands.

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fred is done

Kathryn Lopez writes the obit:

What his campaign may have lacked in organizational luster and ambition it made up for in authenticity and charm. You knew his greatest dream in life wasn’t to be president. You knew he’d be happy living life with his family, advising those who wanted his opinion and expertise, talking federalism with Beltway friends on weekends. When he was on Meet the Press a while back, Claremont’s Seth Leibsohn said, admiringly, “Fred came off like his hour there was not the most important thing he had to do that day.” There’s something attractive about that. And that it won’t get you elected president is today’s reality, it’s a reality to reflect on.

For myself and other former Fredheads, this authenticity is something McCain doesn’t have. Huckabee doesn’t have it either, once you start digging into his Arkansas record and finding out that this Baptist minister-turned Arkansas governor was not the guy he is now. Mitt Romney suffers the most from his perceived lack of authenticity, and I think that he struggles when he tries to be someone he is not. This is something he is improving on throughout the primary process, and I am encouraged about his future prospects because he is emphasizing his strengths and his resume instead of trying to be the most conservative guy in the field. (Although you could argue that this has changed now that Fred is out…)

I liked Fred Thompson because he was the closest thing we were going to get to someone who agreed with us on all the issues we cared about. He was a consistent conservative, even though he did support campaign finance reform in the past. He was never going to be another Reagan, and we need to quit looking for one. But what he did have is the willingness to fight for conservative principles, and the conviction to make us believe that he was one of us and had always been one of us. He wasn’t afraid to challenge the media on their stupidity, and to challenge Michael Moore on his flawed view of health care. Conservatives find that a very attractive quality in a candidate.

The Fred fascination was only partly about Fred himself. Conservatives feel that the Republican party establishment has shifted to the left, as far as being more accepting of illegal immigration and bigger government/reckless spending. We are trying to push back against the direction Washington Republicans want to take this party, and Fred was somebody who I thought would do that. It was more than just saying all the right things. Any candidate can do that. But Fred was the most believable based on his past record.

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thanks fred

Huckabee and his people are blaming Fred Thompson for their second-place finish in South Carolina.

Anyone else notice that we aren’t seeing much of that smiley positive Huck lately? Fred took quite a few votes from Huck, and I’m proud to say that I contributed to that effort. It wasn’t enough votes to get into the top two, so that was probably Fred’s last stand in this race. But if all he did was switch the focus back to conservative principles (and derail Huck), it was more than enough. I don’t regret voting for Fred, and I don’t think anyone else does either. I don’t do strategy votes. I vote for the person who I believe would be a good representative of our party and of conservative principles when facing off against the Democrats in November.

I don’t care that Fred being in the race may have helped McCain. That wasn’t intentional on my part (or on Fred’s). There are many good reasons why I couldn’t vote for McCain, no matter what his numbers were against the Democrats. I also don’t like the idea of independents and moderates choosing the Republican nominee. Those two groups are giving McCain an unfair advantage in a primary process that should ensure that the nominee is picked by the majority of the REPUBLICAN party. I hope that’s the way it turns out in the end.

I know that the delegate count is the all-important number, but to call McCain’s 3 point victory over Huckabee a sign that he’s now the frontrunner — forget it. He got 33% of the vote here. Huckabee got 30%. That means quite a few people voted against those two. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep McCain from winning. The problem is that the anti-McCain vote was divided between Huck, Romney, and Fred. Fred was unable to sell himself as THE alternative, and as long as conservatives couldn’t decide on one guy to represent them, this is the result we get.

Please, fellow conservatives, do not blame us for this result. We did all we could to stop it. Now it’s up to the other states to find us an acceptable nominee.

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right said fred

gc sign2.jpeg

It’s real people. Fred is here in South Carolina. He had an overflow crowd of very enthusiastic FredHeads today at the local Golden Corral, and there are similar reports of this all across the state. Unfortunately, not many of us actually heard his speech. This sort of dampened the mood, but I’m not sure that those who came hadn’t already made up their minds for Fred. There were some technical issues with the microphones, and I heard that every time they tried to turn it up, it was interfering with the media’s cameras and mics. So…another thing to blame the media for. 🙂 What the people heard, they really liked. Fred knows the issues of importance to SC, and he didn’t hesitate to hit on those themes. I’m feeling very confident in the ability of the local folks to understand which candidates are the best fit for our state, and to ultimately reject McCain and Huckabee. More on that later.

fred with the press2.jpeg

An NRO reader writes in to the Corner:

My son and I just returned from the Fred lunchtime rally at the Golden Corral Buffet & Grill in Rock Hill, SC. His bus rolled in at noon from Spartanburg where he had already done a rally and some national TV. The crowd was large and enthusiastic. A York County Republican official told me they estimated there were far more than 500 people there. Unfortunately the sound system would have been better for a group of 100— it was difficult to hear him from very far back. Those who could hear were very pumped up and loud as he hit his key points. When he was through speaking he was mobbed for a long time by fans and signed autographs on FRED08 signs, DVD’s of “Hunt for Red October”, and anything else people asked him to sign. Fred was gracious and my son pointed out on the way home that he sure didn’t look or act like a guy who doesn’t enjoy campaigning. He finally made it back out to the motor coach and headed for our county seat, York, SC for another event before heading to Columbia for a 6PM rally. He’s campaigning hard here in SC and had a very enthusiastic, large crowd at lunchtime in Rock Hill.

After Fred left, I went back to get something to eat. There were some Fred fans still hanging around at that point, and I talked with one of the guys at length about his impressions of the Republican field. He said something interesting that completely goes against the MSM narrative. About McCain, he said that he’s the kind of guy who will stick his finger to the wind to decide what to do next. We need a President ready to make tough decisions, and he didn’t see McCain as that kind of guy. Before this conversation, I bought into that conventional wisdom of the tough, decisive McCain who would defy the odds and earn the forgiveness of South Carolina conservatives.

I then asked about Huckabee and Romney. He said that Huckabee’s Arkansas record did not do much to recommend him as a Presidential candidate. He didn’t trust Huck, and good for him. He also said that he thought that Romney was more liberal than Rudy Giuliani. That’s something I hadn’t heard before, but it confirms my suspicion that not everyone has bought into the Romney conservative conversion. I’m not sure how representative this man’s view is, but I don’t think this is a unique view.

Like I said before, the local folks are plugged in and well-informed on the issues and the candidates. I am confident they will vote to reject McCain and Huckabee, and maybe even vote for Fred. But I’m making no predictions about the rest of the state. Not every Republican here is a conservative.

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there was a debate today?

Yes…if you want to call that a debate. Again I ask, what are these presidential candidates trying to hide by having these afternoon debates?


Top three: Romney, Fred, Giuliani. Romney is strong as a policy wonk. Talking about economic issues rather than social issues allows Romney to play to that strength. I linked to National Review’s endorsement editorial yesterday. It looks like Romney read it thoroughly and tried to make the same argument for his nomination as they did in that editorial. Wise move. Fred looked great in this debate, but he needs to look more awake during the candidate introductions. Little things like this matter because of the narrative that’s already been written about Fred. It’s easy to like Fred when he is on the attack. Conservatives like criticism of the NEA’s role in our educational system. Another Fred highlight was when he refused to play along with the climate change question. We need to see more of Fred the fighter. Unfortunately, it may have come too late for Fred to have a realistic shot at the nomination. Giuliani didn’t do anything to hurt himself, and had some good answers. I just don’t remember what they were.

Shouldn’t have shown up – Alan Keyes. The Des Moines Register did him a huge favor (or maybe they were just obligated to include him under their own criteria). In either case, he didn’t take advantage of the opportunity, instead blaming the moderator for shutting him out of the discussion on several occasions. When she did allow him to speak, he filibustered during his time and didn’t give straight answers to any question that he was asked. There’s a good reason he’s only polling around 2% in Iowa.

Made CNN’s debate look good — the debate moderator and the Des Moines Register. She didn’t give the candidates enough time to answer questions. She didn’t ask follow-up questions when necessary. She also lost control of the debate several times.

In there somewhere — Huck, Hunter, Tancredo, Ron Paul. The good thing for the new Iowa leader is that the moderator didn’t allow enough time for direct shots at him. Huckabee continues to coast along without getting very specific on policy issues, and breaking out more new catchphrases and one-liners won’t make him look any more serious as a potential President. It’s hard to see how Huck can maintain his lead with all of the increased media scrutiny he has been getting lately.

I’m not sure if those who took the time to watch this debate changed their minds about their preferred candidate, but those supporting Fred had to like what they saw from him today.

More fun with Iowa debates tomorrow when it’s the Democrats’ turn to answer questions.

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the problem with fred

I’m sure Fred Thompson is a good guy.  I’m also sure that there were many persuasive people telling him that he could be the one to save the GOP from Rudy McRomney, and no doubt Thompson is more conservative in some areas than the current top three.  But it’s fair to say that there was no way that Fred Thompson could be the savior of the GOP, or another Ronald Reagan, or the “one true conservative”.  His record in the Senate is mixed, and it resembles John McCain’s on illegal immigration and campaign finance reform, two areas where McCain runs into trouble with the base.

There are many objections I have to James Dobson critiquing possible GOP nominees, but I have to agree with him, and with what Quin Hillyer wrote in the American Spectator, when they suggest that Fred Thompson doesn’t act like he wants to be the nominee or to be President.  It’s an admirable quality in a candidate, I guess, not to look like they were planning their Presidential run for many years before taking the plunge. However, if Fred wants to continue to be taken seriously as a candidate, he has to start doing his homework on the issues of the day.  He can’t go to Florida and not know about the local issues (Terri Schiavo, drilling in the Everglades).  If he’s going to be an advocate for conservatism, he needs to know what he believes and why he believes it.  He can’t get by on Southern charm alone.  Ask Mike Huckabee how much money his campaign gets from his great personality and folksy speeches.

It’s not just the objection to Rudy, Mitt, and McCain that drives conservatives to look for someone else. All three men have flaws I can live with as the GOP nominee.  Conservatives are looking for someone with a vision, a new direction for our party, and a direction for our country.  We need someone who is bold enough to tell us the truth about where the Republican party has failed the people of this country.  We need someone who knows what is wrong and how we can fix the GOP. We want to be inspired with big ideas and someone with the kind of vision for change that Newt Gingrich has (only in a more electable package).   It’s no wonder that all of the candidates don’t quite measure up to those high standards.

Fred Thompson could be the guy who could unite most of the base,  but he can’t just coast through this process if he wants to be the nominee.

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