Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Catch-22 of Presidential Politics

From the Samizdata blog this AM:
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.


Anonymous said...

Remember the kind of president Jack Ryan became in Clancy's last books on that character.
The kind of man most of us admired and didn't really want the job - Fred Thompson.

God, I hope he wins.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but men like FDR and Churchill were driven by ambition and a belief that THEY could govern better than anyone else. They actively sought power to make a difference.

Fred expected a coronation. Fred thought people would line up to vote for him because, well, because he was Fred.

IF the media are ignoring him it's because he hasn't done anything to make the media stand up and take notice. The best he can do in Ia is come in third. His campaign is broke. He probably will be forced to withdraw before SC.

If Fred wasn't going to actively campaign for the job he should never have entered the race.

Anonymous said...

Those who will do anything to get elected - Guliani and Romney - will sacrifice the truth if telling you what you want to hear makes you more likely to vote for them. Guliani in guns has been particularly dishonest as seen by his visit and comments to the NRA. He pretended as much as possible that his opinions during his time in NY were not his current positions and it was OK to support him.

However, Romney takes the cake when it come to being dishonest. He bashed Reagan/Bush and pretend now to be the voice of conservatives claiming McCain failed Reagan 101. He's been hard core Pro Choice and found out he was Pro Life just in time to run in the GOP primary. On guns he has pretended to have the support of the NRA, he signed bills banning black gun, he raised what he calls a "fee" and we call a "tax" on gun owners. No other candidate has reinvented himself like Romney with the sole purpose of getting elected President. How can anybody trust a guy like that.

At least Fred Thompson has been consistent and won't kowtow to the fickle public and media in a blatant pandering to get votes. He leaves that to Romney and Guliani.

Anonymous said...

Here is an example of Fred's attitude towards guns:

Anonymous said...

Ok enough of the coulda shoulda crap. What is plan B gentlemen? If you don't want to face reality and the fact that stuff happens, send us a post card from the north woods. Otherwise mount up and be a man. Your momma must have told you that you ain't gonna get everything in life that you want.

Anonymous said...

To nj_larry: There is no plan B. If Thompson is not the next president, we are f*k*d.

Anonymous said...

Until we find a candidate who can overwhelm the nattering nabobs of punditry who rule the village inside the beltway, we'll be stuck with folks from east of the Mississippi. We'll be better off selectively targeting Senators for defeat in elections and keeping the coffers of the NRA-ILA and the Second Amendment Foundation filled while we mount grass roots support for candidates who have restoration of the Constitution as their primary mission.