• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Then there were five

Adios, Fred:

Fred Thompson dropped his presidential bid Tuesday, after the former Tennessee senator and actor finished third in the South Carolina primary and was unable to score a victory in any of the early primaries or caucuses.

Thompson was the candidate in a very flawed Republican field whose positions I was most comfortable with, but he got in too late and campaigned too little. I assume Rudy Giuliani is gone; I could be wrong, but his "wait till Florida" strategy seems to have made him less viable with each passing week. That leaves Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and John McCain. Huckabee and McCain have so little conservative and libertarian instincts that they shouldn't even be Republicans. Romney has been such an opportunist in saying what he thinks his audience wants to hear at any given time that I don't have a clue to what he really believes.

On the Democratic side, Edwards is the dead man walking, so we're left with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and it's hard to judge them right now. The GOP field has been so fractured because the candidates don't know how to play to a base that has fractured; the "Reagan coalition" of national security conservatives, social conservatives and economic conservatives has fallen apart. The Democratic base is still more or less cohesive, so the candidates are playing to it. I'll have to wait until the general-election campaign to see how much the Democratic candidate is willing to come back to the center, and how much I believe him or her.

There are a few issues that are more important to me than all the others when voting for president: national security, limiting the scope and size of government, reinvigorating federalism so Washington is less the center of our political life. Looking at the five that now seem to be left standing, I don't think I am going to be a happy voter this November.


Wed, 01/23/2008 - 1:22pm

>>national security, limiting the scope and size of government, reinvigorating federalism so Washington is less the center of our political life.<<

One problem is that the first item on your list has been used to go against the second item on your list and, to some extent, the third. By shifting the focus of national security from mostly countering the aggression of other nation-states to a vague vigilance against the amorphous concept of "terror(ism/ists)," I think "national security" became about as elastic as the commerce clause in terms of permitting the expansion of the federal government.

Wed, 01/23/2008 - 5:24pm

I don't know how anybody could be happy about the coming election.

Wed, 01/23/2008 - 7:33pm

I concur with your comments, Leo. I tried to say the same thing on another site, but you did it so much better.

Fred Thompson's approach to campaigning was straight forward and to the point on all issues. He did not read his audience to determine what they wanted to hear, he told them what he believed. As a result he never contradicted himself because he never had to remember his white lies.

Alas, the body (or is that bawdy) politic has constructed another set of rules to attract those who have no interest in understanding or solving the issues. Thus the uninformed called Fred lazy and not in tune with the nutso populist rhetoric spewing from the mouths of Huckabee, Edwards, Obama and to some extent Hillary.

I think that perhaps Giulliani is the strongest leader of those still standing, but as you pointed out, he is banking (perhaps too heavily) on Super Tuesday. if Rudy had worked his campaign coffers harder, Huckabee would probably already be gone.

A J Bogle
Wed, 01/23/2008 - 8:22pm

I just don't see what you guys are seeing in Thompson. He is the most uninspiring candidate ever. He sure didn't live up to the second coming of Reagan billing thats for sure.

Its not the populists that are the nutsos there gadfly - its the bozos like Romney Thompson Guliani and McCain that think that we need more of the same failed economic and trade polices and foreign interventionism that got us into this mess

tim zank
Wed, 01/23/2008 - 9:27pm

The reason AJ & most of the media didn't like Thompson is simply because of what Gadfly pointed out. HE TOLD THE TRUTH. Simple, straightforward common sense plans without all the handstands and grandstanding. I don't need to be "inspired" by my President. I need to be able to trust my President.

He didn't pander and that's what killed him. The masses & the media want their rebates, their free health care, their welfare, their free college, and their government to wipe their ass from cradle to grave. Poor bastards haven't figured it out yet, they'll pay for it in spades eventually.