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December 17, 2007
All I Want for
Christmas Is Fred Thompson
Mitt Romney said it
best in last week’s debate: “We're not going to get the White House nor
strengthen America unless we can pull together the coalition of
conservatives and conservative thought that has made us successful as a
party. And that's social conservatives. It's also economic
conservatives. And foreign policy and defense conservatives.”
Indeed, since Ronald
Reagan won the battle for the spirit of the Grand Old Party nearly three
decades ago, the goal of Republicans has been to select the candidate
who best embodies all three prongs of conservatism, and at the same time
maintains a real chance of winning the general election. Unfortunately,
by now, it goes without saying that this year’s Republican field has
offered too few choices that meet the standard.
For starters, a
Reagan conservative must by definition eliminate Rudy Giuliani and Mike
Huckabee right off the bat. Giuliani’s indisputable social liberalism is
not even compensated for with a counterweight of fiscal conservatism.
Huckabee has the social conservatism locked up, but that is all he has
locked up. His ignorance of foreign policy issues competes with his
progressive embrace of big government over the title of Huckilles’ Heel.
This is not to
mention that both would face certain threats in the general election
from third parties, such as the socially conservative Constitution
Party, which would have a field day with Giuliani (it even ran against
George W. Bush), and the strong Libertarian Party which would take more
than enough votes from Huckabee in the purple states of Florida, Ohio,
and Pennsylvania to hand the Democrats a victory.
John McCain and Mitt
Romney do reach at least the outer rings of social, fiscal, and defense
conservatism. And McCain does deserve major props for speaking out
against agricultural subsidies right smack in the middle of Iowa, while
Giuliani and Romney did the opposite only a few weeks ago.
But a look at
McCain’s fiscal record, highlighted by his ardent opposition to the same
Bush tax cuts that have given us both cash and a growing economy over
the last few years, is quite disconcerting. We also cannot forget
McCain’s leadership role in promoting the disastrous amnesty bill that
would have gravely harmed the country had it become law.
Romney today claims
many of the positions that would be widely considered to be
“conservative.” But he did start claiming them only a couple of years
ago. Even if you wholeheartedly trust that Romney’s conversions are
sincere and not resultant of political convenience, you must inevitably
worry that once he sits in the Oval Office, he is just as capable of
having legitimate conversions on any issue and in any direction. It
takes too much faith to jump these hurdles, and for many, the four-year
leadership of the free world is not worth the risk.
This leaves us with
Fred Thompson, who, ironically, is the candidate best described by
Romney’s words about the Republican tripod. In short, Thompson holds the
same conservative positions of all the other candidates combined, and
has none of their flaws. In fact, any close observer of the campaign
season would tell you that Thompson has been on the receiving end of
barely any substantive attacks on policy issues. This is no coincidence.
And it is the reason he has had to bear the brunt of shallow attacks
about his demeanor, campaigning style, and laziness (whatever that
Thompson is a
demonstrably viable candidate with solid conservative positions across
the board, and unlike Mitt Romney, whose continued defense of his
sometimes liberal record puts a dent in his newfound conservatism,
Thompson has not budged on the issues since running for office in 1994.
Thompson is an undisputed social conservative, with the National Right
to Life endorsement to prove it. And unlike Huckabee and McCain, he is
an economic conservative who was given high marks by organizations such
as the Club for Growth, and whose flat tax and Social Security plans
were praised by editorial boards across the country. Thompson’s
courageous and spot-on designation of the National Education Association
as the primary obstacle to education in this country also shows a
remarkable divergence with Huckabee, who was recently endorsed by the
NEA’s New Hampshire affiliate.
And your top concern
is that he is “lazy” enough to drive around in a golf cart?
emphasizing border security and opposition to amnesty also stands in
stark contrast to McCain and Huckabee’s weaknesses on illegal
immigration. And unlike the other candidates, most notably Huckabee,
Thompson reassuringly has extensive foreign policy experience, and
identifies national security as his top priority in light of the greater
war against expansionist Islamic radicalism.
And you complain
that you don’t adore his speaking style?
You know a candidate
is solid when his biggest problem is his unwillingness to follow the
pack on campaigning styles. You know you can trust a candidate when,
unlike his opponents, he is regularly unmentioned by accuracy watchdogs
like FactCheck.org following debates. And you know what you’re getting
in a candidate whose campaign rhetoric so closely matches his
This Christmas, I
want a Republican nominee who is both consistently conservative and
viable in the general election. Fred Dalton Thompson is that nominee.
© 2007 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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