Saturday, February 02, 2008

Fred, Why Did You Not Say It?

I was disappointed to see that the Fred Thompson presidential campaign never caught fire and that Thompson withdrew from the race. Fred was criticized for never having the drive and zeal necessary to win the nomination. I see a paradox in that I think that anyone who wants the job bad enough to do the things necessary to get it, may not be worthy enough to deserve it.

I admit that Thompson almost lost me a couple times. His verged on the edge of appealing to the worst in people on the immigration issue and he walked a fine line between being adequately pro American and pro defense and being jingoistic. I also was disappointed that at times Thompson seemed to be playing to the crowd that is dismissive of the science of global warming.

Nevertheless, I thought Thompson was the best candidate in the running. Thompson struck me as a person who was intelligent and thoughtful, and I thought he was the most mainstream reliable conservative in the race. I admired Fred Thompson for speaking the truth on social security and for advocating market solutions for health care reform.

What disappointed me in Thompson, was that I felt he never let loose and was himself. He never did do much to distinguish himself from the pack.

Columnist David Broder writes in a recent column of a meeting he had with Fred Thompson last summer in which Thompson discussed his plan to run. Broder writes that Thompson emphasized that the only reason he saw to run was to raise issues that the other candidates were too timid to address. Those issues included the need to expand military manpower and increase the Pentagon budget and taking on the out of control entitlement spending programs.

Broder writes:

Thompson was particularly critical of farm subsidies, and when I asked if he was really going to take that message to Iowa, he said, ‘Yes, but I'd like to keep that off the record until I announce out there.’ I agreed to omit that detail from my column but reported that he was going to enter the race with rhetorical guns blazing, and that was his reason for running.”

Then I sat back and waited -- and waited. In time, Thompson unveiled a serious proposal to attack the long-term deficits in Social Security -- another of the major entitlements. But I never heard the speech on the farm subsidies. When I asked for a follow-up interview with Thompson, his new press secretary found reasons to put me off.

Would a bolder campaign delivered with some of the personal passion I saw in Thompson at that lunch have produced a different result? I don't know, but given what he said about his motives, I suspect that Thompson would feel better today if he had followed his instincts instead of becoming a more conventional conservative.

I would have liked to have heard the speech that Thompson never gave. I sent Thompson a modest campaign contribution, but never developed a lot of enthusiasm for the campaign. If Thompson would have made the farm subsidy speech I could have dug deeper and become more passionate about the Thompson candidacy.

Our farm policy is irrational and expensive. It is the epitome of liberal economic policy making. It makes food cost billions more for Americans, it is bad for our health, it keeps families farming that don’t need to farm, it enriches the corporate factory farmer, it harms the environment, it keeps agriculture from flourishing in undeveloped countries and it undermines American leadership as an advocate for free trade. Yet, the policy continues and hardly anyone but the farmer pays any attention.

Fred, when you had the microphone, why did you not say what you knew needed to be said?

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  1. a question...

    you have made it clear that you support fred thompson, yet you also claim to be opposed to the war in Iraq and are concerned about global warming.

    Fred thompson has different views on those issues.

  2. So what if Fred has different views then Rod. We are deciding who we think is the best candidate, Rod seems to think for him he would support Fred Thompson.

    For me I support Obama but there are issues that Obama support that I do not agree with.

    There is no one candidate that will have the exact same view as us.

    Let's be realist here.