Conservatism Wins. Fred Thompson for President
He’s the Man with the Conservative Plans
By Mark I Posted in 2008 | conservatism | Fred Thompson | Presidential Primary | Principles | Republicans — Comments (70) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
For most of this primary election season, I have found myself very sympathetic to the arguments expressed here. National security is certainly a prevailing concern in this presidential election, more so probably even than in 2004. But just as central to this election from a Republican Party perspective is the nature of the Party in the post-Bush era. If Republicans want the party to remain a majority party, as I believe it still is, they must remain true to the conservative principles upon which five of the last seven presidential elections have been won.
There is only one candidate running that has demonstrated a consistent dedication to conservative principles of federalism, smaller government, family values, the rule of law, and the proper exercise of the role of the three branches of government. That candidate is Sen. Fred Thompson, and I am proud to offer my endorsement of his campaign.
In fairness, I should point out that I believe Thompson’s campaign has made some fundamental errors in strategy; and I do generally agree with the proposition that the operation of a candidate’s campaign is a good indicator of how his administration would run. However, this campaign should not be about electing the smoothest political operator, nor should it be a test of personal ambition. Campaigns are about ideas and a willingness to engage issues based on sound principles. Candidates owe the voters a look at their ideas and a defense of them, not necessarily a whirlwind swing through 6 states in 5 days.
Sen. Thompson has been the most specific candidate on the issues of anyone running for president, Republican or Democrat. While most of the others speak in generalities, vague commitments, and platitudes, Thompson issues plans. His willingness to address issues like entitlement reform with specific proposals, rooted in conservative principles, finds no equal among the Republicans. On taxes, too, Thompson goes beyond simply embracing popular brand name fixes and populist rhetoric. He puts forth a detailed solution that demonstrates a serious study of the Federal tax code and incorporates both a bold new approach and a faithfulness to past actions that have worked.
On social issues, Sen. Thompson holds unashamedly conservative views as well. He has received the endorsement of the National Right to Life Committee and various state life groups. He supports adult stem cell research and opposes human cloning, and embryo destroying stem cell research. Thompson had a 100% pro-life voting record in the Senate and believes that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overturned. Thompson supports a federalist approach to abortion, in which each state would regulate the practice as its citizens see fit. On same-sex marriage, Thompson believes that marriage is between a man and a woman and, most importantly, that judges should not set about changing that by judicial fiat. He supports a Constitutional amendment to prevent judges from misinterpreting the Constitution to allow for the practice. Sen. Thompson is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and has received an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association. He has been the most consistent Republican candidate in talking about the need to appoint judges that recognize their proper role in government.
Lastly, on what I believe will be the two major issues of the presidential campaign, national security and illegal immigration, Thompson has issued positions that are both comprehensive and specific. On defense, Thompson supports increasing the military budget to 4.5% of GDP. He wants to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps to a combined one-million men as well as increase the size of the Navy’s fleet to at least 325 ships. He believes in the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and recognizes that remaining on offense in the War on Terror is the best way to defeat the enemy as well as secure the homeland against attack. On illegal immigration, Thompson goes beyond all of the major candidates by supporting the completion of the 854 mile long border fence authorized in the Secure Fence Act and supporting efforts at reducing the number of illegal immigrants already in the country. Thompson believes in attrition through enforcement and removal of the jobs incentive. He labels as a “false choice” the belief that there must be either a guest worker program or massive deportations. Thompson supports increased interior enforcement, including committing the resources necessary to the task, employer verification, increased use of a federally authorized expedited removal process, sharing of information between the Social Security Administration and federal law enforcement, and cutting off discretionary funding to cities with sanctuary policies. On both issues, Thompson is confident in his principles and unapologetic in his plans.
Equally important to the issues is the candidate’s willingness to stand firm for the principles that support his positions. Part and parcel of this is having the courage to call the opposition what it is, and not bend to criticism from the elite. Too often, Republicans have sought compromise with Democrats in the name of bi-partisanship. The problem with this approach is that, for Democrats, compromise means that Republicans abandon their principles. Thompson has shown that he has the courage to call Democrats out for what they have become, and has called upon Democrats who feel that their party has abandoned them to join with him. I believe that this strategy will be as effective in the general election this year as it was in 1980 and 1984, when disaffected Democrats helped give President Ronald Reagan two terms. Marginally Democratic states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Wisconsin could be put in play with a consistent appeal to moderate Democrats based on sound conservative principles.
Sen. Thompson’s closing appeal to Iowa voters demonstrates his ability to effectively communicate conservative principles and reach out to broaden the Republican Party’s base.
Of particular interest to me, and that which clinched my support of his candidacy, is the following passage, in which Sen. Thompson discusses the nature of the modern day Democratic Party.
I believe I am the only candidate in this race who can bring our party to victory in the Fall. First, because of the firmness of my principles and the trust that that engenders. Secondly, because of the detailed program I’ve put before the people. Third, because I've been tried and tested – and I’m a known quantity in public life.
But, most of all, I think I know how to talk to the American people about the opposition and the danger their victory would pose to the principles we hold dear.
You know in the last debate – when I was asked the biggest problem with American education-- I had a ready answer: "The NEA."
By which I meant the National Education Association -- that highly politicized, Washington-based union that is a hindrance to students as well as to the teachers it claims to represent.
But you know the NEA is not the only problem. Just like its education policy, the Democratic party's foreign policy is heavily influenced by another left-of-center pressure group—Move On.org which implied that our leading general in Iraq betrayed us, that tells our men and women in uniform that the war they are fighting is lost, and then tries to cut off funds for our troops in the field.
And its social policy is heavily determined by the radically secularist ACLU -- which tries to take God out of the public square and leaps to the legal defense of our Nation's enemies.
You know, when I'm asked which of the current group of Democratic candidates I prefer to run against, I always say it really doesn't matter. Because these days all those candidates, all the Democratic leaders, are one and the same. They’re all NEA, Move On.org, ACLU, Michael Moore Democrats. They’ve allowed these radicals to take control of their party and dictate their course. […]
In this campaign I will be seeking the support of millions of Democrats who no longer believe that they can trust their own party’s leadership on the issue of national security.
I will be seeking the support of millions of Democrats with young families who are beginning to see the economic burdens they may face because of their party leadership's taste for high taxes and politically motivated refusal to fix social security and remove the threat of a shortfall in federal benefit plans that could be a catastrophe for younger taxpayers.
And, finally, I’ll be seeking the support of Democrats who are weary of spin politics and the permanent campaign and endless attempts to control the media dynamic who think policy stances ought to be judged on a higher criteria than what works better in a sound bite or fits this week's campaign-message guidance.
So I’ll be asking good Democrats as well as Independents to give us another chance – to see if a Republican president and Congress that’s dedicated to conservative principles can move forward with an agenda that goes beyond narrow partisanship and political expediency and actually deals with the long-term foreign and domestic crises we face.
I know we can do better than a 14% approval rating the current Congress had. And I know we’ve learned our lessons from last year's election. We’re the party of smaller, smarter government, lower taxes, and less Washington spending. And the only way we win is if we understand that, remain true to it, and refuse to yield to those who would have us abandon it.
The other candidates all have appealing qualities, and any of them would be preferable to a Democratic administration. But, Sen. Thompson is the most ideologically pure Republican running. I believe that will translate well into electability in the general election. It will also serve the Republican Party well in the aftermath of a presidency of qualified “compassionate” conservatism, and place the party back on a path of advancing winning conservative principles.
Elections are about ideas. Sen. Fred Thompson has stood far and away ahead of the other candidates in this primary season in terms of putting forth his ideas rooted in conservatism and showing the courage and willingness to defend them. He knows who he is and what he believes. Just as importantly, he knows who the opposition is and what it believes, and is willing to challenge Democrats on the strength of their ideas. Sen. Thompson realizes that conservative values are mainstream American values, and he believes he can increase the appeal of the Republican Party with a platform based on those principles. He cares little for the opinions of the coastal elite or the inside-the-beltway crowd, focusing instead on achieving results through tested conservative initiatives. It is for all these reasons that I am supporting Sen. Fred Thompson in the Republican primaries. I hope you will consider joining me.