Fred Thompson: too sane to be President?
Paul Marks (Northamptonshire) North American affairs
This morning Fox and Friends concentrated on three candidates in relation the Iowa caucuses on Thursday night: the two lead candidates in the polls, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney - and John McCain... this was in spite of the fact that Senator McCain is not in Iowa (he is in New Hampshire) and that Fred Thompson is ahead of John McCain is most of Iowa polls.
This is a part of pattern: last night Fred Thompson was on Fox News Sunday, but in the panel discussion, later in the show, the panellists ignored Fred Thompson. He is attacked by people, including me, for not going on enough television shows - but when he does go on what he says is ignored, so perhaps I see why he does not clamour to go on. Yesterday morning Fox and Friends, like the rest of the media, was busy laughing at Fred Thompson's comments about not being obsessed with politics: "If one is not passionate about campaigning one should not run for office," was the message of the media.
But what sort of person is passionate about the political process? Not getting things done - but the process of gaining votes. Of going around pretending to be close personal friends with lots and lots of people one has never met before?
Fred Thompson is in the middle of a 40 town Iowa tour - so he is hardly lazy. And he does go on television shows - thus dealing with critics, such as myself, who attacked him for not going on enough shows. But what sort of person would enjoy all this?
A lunatic. Someone who was interested in office for its own sake - not as a means to reduce the size and scope of government.
What the media, including Fox News (the only non-leftist news station and, therefore, of vital importance in the Republican nomination process), are saying is that Fred Thompson is too sane to be President. It is not enough to produce detailed policies for dealing with the entitlement program Welfare State (a cancer that is destroying the United States and the rest of the Western World), or producing a new optional flat tax (individuals could continue to use the existing system if they wished to) to deal with the nightmare of complexity that the income tax has become.
It is not even enough to have a long record of service, going back to Watergate and taking down a corrupt Governor of Tennessee in the 1970's. And having one of the most Conservative voting records in the United States Senate - before leaving it in disgust at how the system did not allow real reform.
No - someone has to enjoy the prospect for office for its own sake, not to reduce the size and scope of government and restore a Federal Republic. One must enjoy the whole process of politics - i.e. be crazy. Or one must pretend to enjoy it - i.e. be a liar.
And then people complain that politicians are either crazy or corrupt. When they shoo away anyone who comes along who is neither crazy or corrupt.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
The Catch-22 of Presidential Politics
From the Samizdata blog this AM: