Sunday, September 30, 2007

Nice Bio of Fred

The Boston Globe has written a very good biography of Fred. Take a look!

The Fred Revolution

According to a blog over at the Washington Post, Fred will be returning to Iowa this week and focusing on his participation in the 1994 Republican Revolution:
When Fred Thompson hits the campaign trail in Iowa next week, he'll be offering a new theme for his candidacy: a return to the revolution. The newest GOP hopeful will emphasize his roots in the so-called Republican Revolution in 1994, when the party swept to power and took control of both houses of Congress for the first time in decades.
I interpret this as something that he has had in his back pocket, but has been waiting for Newt to decide what to do. Obviously if Newt were in the race he would have benefited most from the 1994 election. But with Newt in the background, Fred has the best connection with that election and he will use it to his benefit. Note that he has been emphasizing the Republican Revolution themes already but had not tried to capitalize on it.

Note that there will be dangers. Why should we assume that a FDT President will take the Republican Revolution themes to their logical conclusion rather than getting power and then deciding to spend his way to re-election. I personally think this is WAY outside of his character, but he has to be able to answer the question when it comes up.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Newt Out

Breitbart has an article saying that a spokesman for Newt has announced that he will not be running for President in 2008:
"Newt is not running," spokesman Rick Tyler said. "It is legally impermissible for him to continue on as chairman of American Solutions (for Winning the Future) and to explore a campaign for president."

Gingrich decided "to continue on raising the challenges America faces and finding solutions to those challenges" as the group's chairman, Tyler said, "rather than pursuing the presidency."
There, of course, could have been other reasons, but this is adequate. I personally like Newt, but I think he will do more good for the United States by running the American Solutions organization. He is doing a lot of good work from there.

In addition, a Newt candidacy would dilute the conservative vote and would make a Giuliani victory for the nomination more likely. This is very good news for FDT. Hopefully he will cast his support behind Fred.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Case For Ron Paul

Ron Paul! Ron Paul! Ron Paul!

Sorry. Just trying to drive traffic here. Actually there was a post over at Red State making the case for Ron Paul. The core of his argument is:
I would say that his [Paul's] candidacy is about fundamental principles with regard to the Constitution and the proper role of government in peoples' everyday lives. Other candidates are by and large talking about saving government programs and tweaking errors. Paul is the only one focusing on the constitutional limitations imposed on the federal government and the proper role of government, i.e. securing our liberties, not paying for them.

This is a debate that our country needs to have. When Republicans came to power in 1994, they pledged to fundamentally change the role of government. Since then, they have expanded the federal government, including by passing the largest federal entitlement program since the Johnson administration. Suffice it to say, the Gingrich Revolution has been a miserable failure.
What I have seen of Ron Paul supporters is that they believe that their guy is the lone voice in the wilderness. The problem is that is just isn't so. Ron Paul discusses spending on his website. In short, he spends the entire article talking about excess spending and then in the last paragraph he writes:
We cannot continue to allow private banks, wasteful agencies, lobbyists, corporations on welfare, and governments collecting foreign aid to dictate the size of our ballooning budget. We need a new method to prioritize our spending. It’s called the Constitution of the United States.
So in the last sentence he does bring the Constitution into the discussion. But the core of his argument is regarding the excessive spending of the government (a valid argument). Fred, on the other hand, has made his fundamental issue Federalism which is an extended discussion of the overreaching of Federal government programs. So I don't think he is the only candidate talking about spending and the Constitution as a part of that discussion.

But let's face it. The primary appeal of Paul is that he is the anti-War conservative. He has voted and published articles against the Iraq war. Basically, Ron Paul is an isolationist. He may have some valid points, but his general position is one that would return us to pre-World War 2 policies which did not serve us well then and they will not serve us well now. There is something about learning from history that Paul is forgetting.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More Principles

Fred has updated the Principles section of his website. Before the only principle detailed was Federalism. Now he has added: Individual Liberty, Personal Responsibility, Free Markets, Limited Government, Protecting our Country, Traditional American Values, The Rule of Law, Conserving Our Nation's Resources. Generally this is a set of traditional conservative principles.

A couple of notes: in the Traditional American Values, FDT includes the traditional definition of marriage and then mentions tolerance. This has not usually been listed as a "traditional" value, but I like its inclusion. In the section on Conserving Our Nation's Resources, Fred is setting himself up to be a conservationist as compared to an environmentalist.

One of the keys to winning the general election will be narrowing the gap with the Democrats on some issues. One of them will be the environment. While I am a global warming skeptic (and I believe that Fred is as well), I believe it to be a wise political choice to emphasize that we (Republicans generally and Fred specifically) are not for destroying the planets resources.

These principles are intended to solidify his conservative credentials and put them in a way the moderates can feel comfortable.

Fred, Government and Taxation

As I was driving today I happened to be listening to the Sean Hannity when he took a call from a Fair Tax supporter. Now I do not have anything against the Fair Tax. I have some questions about it, but it may be a very good solution for our convoluted tax system. My issue is actually with some of the Fair Tax disciples. For them it has become the litmus test issue. Sooner or later most all issues turn into a discussion of the Fair Tax.

This particular caller was concerned about Fred’s lack of commitment to push the Fair Tax given his statements for reducing the size of government. To him, the easiest way to reduce the size of government is to implement the Fair Tax.

Similar logic has landed here in Indiana. We have been hit with very significant increases in property taxes and the solution, to the disciples, is to implement the Fair Tax.

The problem with the logic is that the simply changing the taxing methodology does not make the spending change. A “spending cap” is part of the proposal will, by itself, doom the taxing plan to failure.

To be perfectly clear: taxing and spending are two separate problems.

On taxes, Fred has been outspoken in his support of lower taxes and a reformed tax system. He is willing to accept most any reform so long as it achieves his larger goals. I like that. If proponents cannot muster support for the Fair Tax, but others can get support for the Flat Tax, then that will work toward his goals.

On spending, he has published two significant volumes on waste in government and how to fix it. He is a strong supporters of Federalism and returning many areas of responsibility to the states.

Two problems. Two sets of solutions. And on the taxing issue, there are several acceptable ways to fix the problem.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Government at the Brink

I came across an article from 2001 promoting FDT for a presidential run. The primary reason that the author was pushing for Fred was his record for pushing for government reform. He authored the two volume "Government at the Brink" (Volume 1, Volume 2) in which he identified $44 Billion of government waste. It is clear that FDT's focus on government waste is a priority. From Fred's website:
I am committed to:

* Attracting and rewarding the best Americans to serve in government and ensuring they have the authority and resources needed to get the job done.
* Fixing government accounting so tax dollars are properly spent and the American people know exactly what they are being spent on.
* Improving government performance by making agencies accountable for accomplishing their missions on time and within budget.
* Ensuring information technology systems are secure and that they give our government the capacity and effectiveness to get the job done.

A Ron Paul Supporter Reaction to FDT

There is a post at Lew Rockwell that includes a video which is primarily a mix of a couple of news reports and video of Ron Paul protesters at Fred's reception in Austin. The video is a call to action for Paul advocates.

There are two messages. One from the video which is that Fred wants to finish the job in Iraq and Paul wants to bring 'em home quick. From my point of view, this is siding with the enemy, whether you consider that to be militant Islamic terrorists or the Democrats.

The second message is in the text of the post which critiques Fred for his role in campaign finance reform. Specifically the critique is:
Fred Thompson was instrumental in the passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, which abridges free speech by setting strict limits on how much an individual can spend in support of a candidate.
Now I think there are valid things to bring up regarding FDT's support of McCain Feingold, but the limit on individual contributions is not it. Before McCain Feingold there was already a limit on what an individual could contribute to a candidate and it was $1,000! The piece that Fred takes credit for was doubling that and providing for indexing it so that it would increase (this year it is $2,300 for the primary and $2,300 for the general election). In that area, they should be happy that FDT has increased their freedom.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fred on Morning in America

Fred was on Bill Bennett's Morning in America this morning (audio link).

An aside: I have memories of attending a graduation ceremony for Virginia Military Institute in 1986 and listening to Bennett give a graduation speech and thinking he was wonderful. I still remember one line of his: "Keep an open mind, but not one so open that your brains fall out".

The majority of this interview regarded the Ahmadinejad visit. There are a couple of items that I took out of the interview: 1. President Thompson will play hardball with the UN and do some politically bold things. 2. Candidate Fred considers this phase of the campaign as a time to introduce himself to the electorate and not yet the time to "differentiate" himself from the competition.

I have felt like FDT is running this campaign like a horse race where you hold the horse behind the leaders until just the right moment when you let the horse go to win the race. While everyone else is running themselves ragged (i.e. getting people tired of listening to them), he will be fresh when it matters.

By the way, the campaign also had a press release regarding the Ahmadinejad visit.

Third Rail Blog

As I have been looking around at news stories, I have been seeing a lot of references to a "new attack piece" at Third Rail Radio "including a few things the media never talks about." After seeing it for about the third time, I decided to take a look. The article is poor, but let's deal with it.
All of this fervor on the right concerning Thompson’s late to the game campaign feels a little like déjà vu. Remember about this time four years ago, during another campaign and within another party? Yes I’m speaking of former General Wesley Clark’s late entry into the 2004 Democratic primary.
So we start with a lame comparison of FDT to Wesley Clark. The problem with this comparison is a) FDT is not THAT late and b) FDT already has far more support than Clark ever had and is actually leading in some polls.
Yet, when it came time to file papers with the Federal Election Commission to officially enter the race, he held off on until after the September 5th New Hampshire Fox News Debate. One might surmise from this maneuver that Thompson’s camp realized he would not live up to expectations in the debate. Rather than disappoint Republicans, he could continue to garner free exposure from the syndicated airings of Law and Order, since the episodes in which he appears would be pulled as soon as he filed with the FEC.
A more rational interpretation is that he got better coverage by being on Leno and the debates add nothing to the discourse. I doubt that any additional reruns of Law and Order are particularly helpful at this point in the game.
By the end of the fundraising quarter, Thompson had only reported 3.5 million in campaign contributions, which is roughly the same amount his opponent, fellow Republican Congressman Ron Paul, raised in the same period of time.
This is the first demonstration of a lack of homework performed, so let's get it right. First, Fred began taking contributions at the beginning of June. In less than one month, FDT raised $3.4M. In the second quarter, Paul raised about $2.4M in primary funds according to the Washington Post. SO, there are two problems with the Third Rail "attack piece". Fred raised significantly more than Ron Paul in the second quarter and the "same period" is three months for Paul compared to less than one month for Fred.

Next up are the polls:
Thompson does not poll highly in early primary states where former Governor Mitt Romney has a sizeable lead, nor does he do well against top tier Democrats nationally and in the South, which could hamper further fundraising. These money concerns, coupled with his disregard of prepared speeches, his wife’s meddling with his campaign staff, and the lack of a real platform should hurt his campaign. It has not, yet. This is due to the immense amount of red meat he throws to the base of the Republican right on issues like same-sex marriage, immigration, gun rights, right to life, and intelligent design. These are issues, which as the basis of a campaign like Representative Tom Tancredo’s, can turn an outspoken candidate into a lightning rod - marginalized and therefore ineligible to be on the ticket in 2008.
Where to start. Polls: Fred is behind Romney in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan (where Romney is putting all of his effort). But not in South Carolina, Florida, California and New Jersey. I have not seen any data regarding the south, but I doubt that FDT actually has any problems there. His deficit behind the Democrats nationally is 9 points or less according to Real Clear Politics, which is not particularly too large (we are, after all, 14 months from the election). It is also interesting the mention of throwing "immense amount of red meat", when one of his criticisms is that he does not throw enough. Let's let the voters decide, shall we? Does Fred have a "real platform"? I think he does. Visit his Principles section for a his positions. Is it as detailed as it will be? No. Does it let you know where he stands? Yes.
He has a long and sordid past, dating back to his position as co-chief counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee in its investigation of President Nixon. He admits he leaked information to the Nixon White House during the height of the investigation, tipping off Nixon's attorney that the committee was aware of the president's secret tapping device, and would be making the information public.
"Sordid". Wow--that is a loaded term. I don't know every detail of the Watergate hearings, but I don't think that giving the President's group a heads-up on what to expect to hear does not seem that "sordid" to me. It is not like Nixon's folk were going to be able to do anything about it. And that is the only example of a "long and sordid past". So onto his Senate career.
[Thompson] spent eight years in the senate, failing to author or sponsor a single piece of legislation.
Doesn't bother me any. How about you?
And he served this odd eight-year term as a U.S. senator because two years into his second term, he resigned to pursue his career as a supporting actor.
This is probably the line that made me want to address this article. Fred, as almost everyone knows, served 8 years because his first term was a two year replacement term for Al Gore. He served a complete 6 year re-elected term and then retired. Fundamental facts that reading a bio on someone's web site would solve. If you will not do fundamental fact checking, why do you think we will believe anything else that you write?

There are several other misstatements, but I will go to probably the only item that is worth talking about--Fred's Iraq commercial for Citizens United Foundation.
In the ad, Thompson performed a 30-second sales job on the Iraq war for the Bush administration, speaking of a Saddam with nuclear weapons and making an analogy between Hussein and Al-Qaeda, subtly insinuating a connection between the two. This ad is largely responsible for the public misconception that still prevails today: Saddam Hussein had something to do with the attacks on September 11, 2001. In the ad, Thompson says

“. . . And when people ask What has Saddam done to us? I ask

What had the 9/11 hijackers done to us – before 9/11? ”

The answer to Fred’s question is simple: the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the simultaneous bombs in 1998 at the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the Cole bombing in 2000.
You can see the ad on the Third Rail Blog site, if you want. First, it does not insinuate any connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda. I guess that is an opinion, but I certainly don't see it. Second, the commentary that "This ad is largely responsible for the public misconception that ... Saddam Hussein had something to do with the attacks on September 11, 2001" is blatantly wrong. The reason for that has far more to do with media coverage and its insinuation that the Bush administration believed that. I don't even think I ever saw this commercial before this morning. Third, the answer to Fred's question is incorrect. While Al Qaeda was behind the 9/11 attacks, Fred was specifically talking about the 9/11 hijackers and not their leaders.

OK. I've vented enough.

Gary Bauer: Don't Burn Bridges

According to Ethan Cole at the Christian Post reports that Gary Bauer, while not offering a glowing endorsement, is encouraging Evangelicals to at least consider supporting Fred. His reason is largely practical--there are no others in the top tier that are as close to the "conservative Christian" position as FDT. Bauer says:
“He (Thompson)’s obviously against same-sex marriage. He doesn’t support quite the same constitutional amendment that some of the others of us do, but he’s been talking with us about it, and has been moving closer and closer on the amendment,” said Bauer, who is president of American Values, according to OneNewsNow.

“So I hope that we can, as a movement, be very wise about this, and not savage candidates that we may very well have to support in 2008 if they’re running against Hillary Clinton.”

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Clinton Name Calling Humor

You have probably heard HRC call Cheney Darth Vader. Her point is that...well who cares what her point was. Anyway, a response has been posted (in humor), but a lot of truth (other than Cheney being Hillary's father).

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Week In Review

Sean at the Fred File has posted a summary of what Fred has done this week. The activities were a little more difficult to track this week since they were largely fundraising meetings rather than "stump" speeches.

"Deny this character a visa"

Fred was answering questions in Dallas and gave his position on the controversy surrounding Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to New York next week. Video available at the main Thompson web site.

The money quote is:
I would deny this character a visa. What's he going to do, visit there to get pointers for his own activities? I wouldn't let him in the country.

What to Make of Dobson

James Dobson has sent an email that outlines that he is not going to support Fred for President. Specifically his complaints are:

1. Fred is opposed to a marriage amendment
2. Support for McCain Feingold
3. Won't talk about what he believes in
4. Can't talk his way out of a paper bag
5. Fred's lack of passion

Let me start with the observation that I respect and like Dobson--particularly when it comes to actual Christian issues and parenting--less so with his political point of view. In this case, however, I believe that Dobson is completely wrong on all counts.

1. I can appreciate why it is that Dobson wants the federal government to come down and define marriage for all of the States. His definition of marriage is certainly what I would like to see. But Dobson is making a litmus test out of one position of the marriage amendment issue. Contrary to what Dobson says, the proposal that FDT supports would not result in "50 different definitions of marriage". The reality is that there would be 2, with the addition of Civil Unions thrown into the mix. On the other hand, fighting this at the state level has been a far more effective method for "social conservatives" than on the Federal level, which is where FDT's proposal would push the issue.

2. Fred has backed off on his support of McCain Feingold as the details of its results have become apparent. To me this is Fred's weakest area because he has not admitted the first amendment issues here, but he has said that he would like for it to be reworked allowing for much greater personal contribution limits.

3. Fred has talked extensively about what he believes. This is just wrong.

4. This is ridiculous.

5. Fred's passion is not a screaming, jumping up and down passion. Nevertheless he is passionate about what he is doing.

With Dobson's high standard, I do not think he will be supporting any of the candidates for President (certainly not Giuliani or Romney), which is unfortunate.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A View of Fred

Ken Hughes at the American Chronicle has written a nice article reviewing the campaign of Fred. I don't know that there is one thing in the article that I disagree with. I particularly like his assessment of the "lack of substance" accusation:
Much of what we’ve heard Fred Thompson say is ”Here are my thoughts on the subject but we’ll have to wait and see when we get there.” To me that makes a lot more sense than making a bunch of promises that can’t be kept.

One More Poll

I am trying not to do too much posting on polls. It can certainly be overdone. Rasmussen has a Presidential poll every day!

But there is another poll out by Harris. Like Rasmussen, they are polling likely primary voters. Unlike Rasmussen, this was done online rather than by phone. I don't know how they worked the mechanics.

Anyway, the result was FDT at 32%, Giuliani 28%, McCain 11%, Romney 9%.

Over at Red State there is a discussion about the GOP becoming a two horse race. I think that is right. But of McCain and Romney I still think that Romney has the best chance of making it, even though he is woefully behind. The reason is that he still has the chance to actually win a couple of states (specifically Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan). In fact, that is his strategy--focus solely on key early primaries to get things rolling for later.

The problem with the Romney strategy is that once things start getting serious it seems that his support will fall away. Even in New Hampshire, he had a 12 point lead at one point and now it is less than 5 points--and the trend line is very steep toward him losing that lead in the next few weeks.

If Romney cannot win BOTH Iowa and New Hampshire, I think he is done. At this point, I think it is entirely possible that he wins neither of them. In this scenario, Fred would win Iowa and Giuliani would win New Hampshire.

The problem for McCain is that while his overall support is higher than Romney's, there are no key early states that he does well in. I don't even think anyone can come up with a scenario that would lead him to the nomination.

New Polls

There have been some recent polls collected by Real Clear Politics. Some interesting polls are:

Rassmussen, New Hampshire: Romney 25, Giuliani 22, FDT 19

Zogby, GOP National: Giuliani 26, FDT 24
Strategic Vision, Wisconsin: Giuliani 28, FDT 24
Amer Research Group, Colorado: FDT 25, Giuliani 20

Fred has not been to any of these states except New Hampshire. I don't think he has much of a chance in New Hampshire, but he is now in third and Romney is losing his early large leads. The big thing is that the gaps are closing or Fred is getting into the lead.

I'm not ready to go as far as Billl Hobbs and declare this a two horse race, but it is getting closer.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fred on HillaryCare 2.0

There are a couple of really good lines:
What is it that makes liberals think that the best way to help somebody is to hurt them?
He was talking about the vision that Hillary talked about of requiring someone to have proof of insurance to get a job (which you need in order to get health insurance). She then said that any penalties generated from these requirements would be "worked out by Congress", to which Fred responds:
That's a thought scary enough to make you sick.
I was talking with someone about Hillary's plan. They did not understand how Hillary thinks it can work. My response is that it is not intended to work--it is intended to destroy the insurance companies so that the government HAS to take over the industry. Hillary tried to "go for broke" back in the early 90s and it failed. She is trying an incremental version this time.

The person I was talking to thought that if that was her ultimate goal (which it clearly is), that it wouldn't happen until years after she was out of office. Completely wrong. Many of the provisions are intended to quickly bring about the end of private insurance. 1. Having insurance to have a job--you would have to start by getting it from the government. Why would a company offer health insurance? They won't. Even if they were penalized with a tax for not providing it, the companies would see this as cheaper than providing it themselves. 2. Insurance companies have to accept people regardless of preexisting conditions. So then, I buy bare bones insurance until I get cancer and then I move to the better insurance? The next thing would be premium price controls (probably in the original legislation). The result would be insurance companies ceasing operation in droves.

The speed of nationalization would be blinding. Hillary is certainly eying an eight year term. I dare say that the ultimate vision is that health care would be socialized by the end of that term.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rasmussen's Polling Approach

I think I have talked about this before, but now there is an interview with Scott Rasmussen by Jim Geraghty at National Review's blog "The Corner" that confirms what I suggested back in June.

The difference is that Rasmussen is not only looking at "Likely Voters" but "Likely Primary Voters". Theory says that his should be the most accurate, given that everything else is equal.

H/T Elephant Biz

By the way: Most of this week, Rasmussen has had FDT ahead of Giuliani by 9 points.

This Is the Energy Policy I Want to See

Apparently Fred was in Tallahassee today and announced that he would not rule out drilling in the Everglades for oil. He didn't know there were reserves there, but he would be willing to talk about it. About time a Presidential candidate put drilling oil as a part of the energy policy. It unfortunately is not part of Fred's written policy on his Issues section. Fred has a very balanced approach:
“No one prefers to drill at all anywhere,” Thompson said. “Nobody wants to see $100 oil either. We need to do what makes sense.”

The Role of the Red Truck

The Politico has an article about Fred's first run for the Senate back in 1994. Basically James Brosnan argues that the truck's effect is a myth. My favorite quote, however, is talking about Fred's anti-establishment/Federalist tendencies:
When asked what Congress should do about a crime bill, Thompson responded, “Adjourn.”
After talking about some perceived evils of Bush, Brosnan concludes with an interesting, and probably good, directive for the media:
No candidate running has been more of a witness to the abuses of executive power than Thompson, from Watergate to a governor who sold liquor licenses and pardons to a White House that traded access for campaign cash.

It would be far more useful for the media to explore Thompson’s views on presidential powers than his transportation tastes and his acting career.

Update on the State of FDT's Campaign

Bill Hobbs over at Elephant Biz has written an article that pretty well summarizes my current feel of the Fred's campaign. In short, the media feel that Fred has had a lackluster start, but he is rising in the polls, and is ahead in some. The reality is that Fred is probably even now the front runner, but not recognized by the beltway media. That is OK. Keep him as the underdog and outsider.

Monday, September 17, 2007

On The Issues

Fred has added a more detailed Issues section to his website. He had added relatively specific bullet points on what he supports in the areas of National Security, the Federal Budget, Tax Reform, Healthcare, Government Effectiveness, Building Strong Families, Immigration, Education, Justices, Energy and the 2nd Amendment.

I am sure that many will say that it is not specific enough--there are no proposals for $100+ billion programs to fight all the nation's health care problems--but it certainly lays out what his priorities are.

FYI, in an earlier post, there was a review of Fred's website that talked about him not having an issues section and they showed a graph with the issues that various candidate's web sites post. I think FDT has covered most of the items on the list.

New Economic Advisor

Red State announced that FDT has added Larry Lindsey as Economic Advisor which is indicative of his commitment to lower taxes. No real surprise.

Ask Fred

Fred has begun to answer the questions that are being presented to him through various blog sites.

The first of these deals with the tax code. Specifically FDT responds to a question regarding "Fair Tax" and "Flat Tax". He accepts those as valid starting points (among others) toward the end goal of completely rebuilding the tax code. It is clear from his response that fixing the tax code for businesses is high on his priority list. This explains a bit of his reaction to the Fair Tax folk when asked if he would sign the fair tax if passed by Congress, to which he answered "Yes." The Fair Tax is not particularly what he is interested in, but rather to fix the tax system, which can be done in more than one way.

The second question is regarding Medicare Part D. He says that he would not have voted for it, but he then explains that he thinks that the Medicare system is broken and in need of repair, which this did not do. I don't particularly understand this answer myself. But I think he is the only candidate who is talking about actual reform of Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid rather than bloating it.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fred's Weight

Now we see that Jeri has been the reason for Fred's weight loss!

A nice light moment with FDT:

Federalism's Implications

Here is an article posted on Fred's website that was written by Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute. I don't think that FDT has mentioned specifics of addressing spending in the way that Reagan did, but I hope this inclusion on the web site is indicative of what he is thinking. Here is a section of the article that reminds me of what a President should be doing:
Here is Mr. Reagan kicking off his run for the presidency on Nov. 13, 1979:

"The federal government should do only those things specifically called for in the Constitution. All others shall remain with the states or the people.... The federal government has taken on functions it was never intended to perform and which it does not perform well. There should be a planned, orderly transfer of such functions to states and communities."

When in office, Mr. Reagan worked to effect that "orderly transfer." He took aim at the massive system of "grants-in-aid" for the states built up in the 1960s. He cut these subsidy programs from 434 in 1980 to 335 by 1985, and to shrink aid spending by 24 percent relative to the economy's size. He also killed "revenue sharing," a no-strings-attached spigot of federal cash for the states.
Not surprisingly, since Reagan left office, that number has gone up to 814 programs. As a local example, the Indiana State Government reports that 33.4% (!!!!) or $15.7 BILLION will come from the Federal Government.

We badly need Fred!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Cleaning up the CIA

There is an interesting article at Renew America discussing the relative merits of Romney and FDT regarding cleaning up of the CIA. The bottom line is:
Clearly, Thompson sees the need to fire a lot of the CIA's entrenched malcontents and obstructionists.

Plus, Thompson has had a lot of experience with the CIA having been a member of the Senate's intelligence oversight committee, so he knows about the internal troubles in which the agency is mired. As president, he would not be walking into the Oval office without first hand knowledge of the CIA's dysfunctions.

"Lack of Substance"

There have been several criticisms of FDT that he does not express any substance in his speeches or on his web site. There are no policy proposals on his website, but rather just generalities with the exception of a long discourse on Federalism. The latest that I read is a CBN article by David Brody. But this is only one: I had a discussion with my mother on this subject just a couple of days ago regarding Fred's position on the "Fair Tax"--which has been elusive.

My response to her--and to Brody and whoever brings this topic up--is that we have gotten to a point where we expect our Presidential candidate to have a proposal to deal with any issue that may come up. Most of the other candidates have dozens of proposals for more legislation or policies or spending programs. Fred has none. Rather he just has a concept of Federalism. You can either interpret that as him being an empty suit, or you figure that something else is going on!

With his focus on Federalism and his occasional mention of Barry Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative, I suspect that the following quote from that book probably represents where Fred is coming from:
Who will proclaim in a campaign speech, "I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ 'interests,' I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can."
Maybe Fred will be that person.

George Will

George Will, the popular media conservative voice, has written an article blasting Thompson over his lack of conservative ideals specifically regarding campaign finance reform. My feel is that this is a disingenuous attack from someone who has generally been off the conservative reservation for some time.

Mark Levin has responded admirably pointing out the amazing corner that Will has painted himself into:
However, if you support a candidate who has taken the wrong positions on the First, Second, Fifth, and Tenth Amendments, and whose view of the Constitution led him to endorse government-funded abortion on demand, then you have to wonder about that candidate's conservative principles, do you not? That candidate is Rudy Giuliani, and among his first supporters was George Will.
For those of us in Indiana, we can clearly see Will's inconsistent endorsement of politicians by his support, of all people, Dick Lugar. Will wrote a glowing endorsement of Lugar for his efforts to "reform" the farm bill system. Conservatives here in Indiana have realized for years that Lugar is, at best, a moderate Republican and comes closer to being a RINO. Yet Will sings his praises.

I think we are past the time that we should be taking Will seriously regarding who is and who is not a conservative.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Which Republican for President?

You know my answer for that question, but...

There is a thread over at Red State that asks the question:
One thing I keep asking various friends of mine, who consider themselves Fred supporters, is what does Fred bring to the table, from an electoral perspective?

The one answer that I've gotten, that I believe, is "nothing".
The following was my response to the post:
In 1964, which would you have preferred: losing the Presidency running Goldwater or winning with Rockefeller?

My point is this: It is foolhardy to make your choice for a candidate based on his "electability". If your choice for a candidate takes the party farther from where it should be (e.g. spending on any social program that comes by or supporting socially questionable positions), then you will do long-term damage to the party for the sake of short-term gain.

I personally do not think that Fred is NOT electable. I will have to take some time to look at maps, etc. to answer your basic question. BUT, many, many pundits are panning Fred right now, while he continues to rise in the polls. I don't think the "conventional wisdom" of who he will appeal to is quite given yet.

Pull for who is the right candidate on the positions! I don't think Rudy is that person.
While it took a while, the failed Presidential campaign of Goldwater brought about wonderful change in the Republican party that shaped it for at least 30 years. We have lost our path a bit, but it is time to get back to those roots. FDT is the candidate that brings us back toward that ideal.

I think it would have been wonderful had Goldwater been elected President--we would be living in a different world today. The same thing goes for the 2008 election. Putting forward the right candidate (FDT) will produce good results for the Republican party--win or lose. It will just be better if he wins.

FDT Has an Accent!

I have noticed--particularly since Fred announced--that in national reports it seem obligatory to tell the people that Fred has a "deep drawl" or some other expression for his southern accent. I guess the reason that I find it interesting is that no one talks about Giuliani's New York accent.

I don't think there is anything nefarious here--just interesting.

Strategy for Winning

The following is an analysis of how FDT can select his targets to win the Republican nomination. First, I am an amateur. Second, the primary schedule is fluid, but I think some of the principles will follow. Third, I am using old information regarding how the delegates are assigned, but I think that should not have changed. Fourth, I am assuming that early success (i.e. through the Feb 5th super primary will produce increased results later).

Total Delegates: 2,488, 1,245 needed for nomination.

The January Primaries are: DC (16), Iowa (41), Nevada(34), New Hampshire(24), Wyoming (12) and Florida (114).

FDT is currently tied for 2nd in Iowa, 12 points down. I think it is possible for him to win Iowa, but it will be difficult. An acceptable result in Iowa would be a close second. But effort in Iowa would be well spent as a win would make him look almost inevitable.

New Hampshire is a proportional primary. FDT should not ignore this state because he can pick up some delegates, but he currently tracks in fourth place here and I do not believe he can do better than third. I do not think the benefit here is worth spending the money. Furthermore, I think that Romney will win here and it does not appear that he has a real chance to win the nomination.

Florida is big. It is the first large delegate primary (114) and while it is not a true winner take all primary, it is close. Whoever wins this primary by percentage will get a significant majority of the delegates (38 delegates to the statewide winner). The most recent poll by Insider Advantage, which is the only one taken completely after FDT entered the race, has FDT up by 6 points. And Fred is just getting into Florida today. This is the state that Fred needs to win and I think he will.

So at the end of January, with the most optimistic results, FDT will have won at least Iowa and Florida and probably Nevada and/or Wyoming. This should produce about 130 delegates of 244 available.

The next up is South Carolina (47). FDT is polling in front of Giuliani and we can expect him to win here. In fact, I am going to assume that FDT will win ALL of the Southern State primaries, which leads to...

Super Tuesday. As best as I can tell, Super Tuesday will involve Alabama (48), Arizona (53), Arkansas (34), California (173), Colorado (46), Connecticut (30), Delaware (18), Georgia (72), Illinois (70), Kansas (39), Michigan (61), Missouri (58), Montana (24), New Jersey (52), New Mexico (32), New York (101), North Carolina (69), Oklahoma (42), Pennsylvania (74), Rhode Island (19), Tennessee (55), Texas (138) and Utah (36). 1,344 delegates to be chosen.

I think FDT get at least all of the southern states (AL, AK, GE, MO, NC, TN, TX) which should produce about 340 delegates. He will NOT win CT, DE, NJ, NY, PA and RI (assume 0 delegates, but he may come out with some). The most significant of the rest is California, which is a winner take all primary. The most recent survey from California by SurveyUSA (the only one done after FDT's announcement) has Fred down by 2 points. I expect this set of 173 delegates to be the critical factor in the nomination process.

Assuming FDT gets California (up to 513 on Super Tuesday) and then 180 of the remaining 367 deligates on Super Tuesday, FDT would end February 5th with 870 deligates of the 1245 needed and 850 delegates left to be chosen. Just as important, if it plays out this way, it will almost guarantee that neither Mitt or Rudy would be able to get the 1245 as they will certainly split some of the early states (e.g. New Hampshire).

SO, the critical factors for FDT are to win Florida, California and the South. The South should not be difficult. He appears to be in good shape in Florida and in striking distance in California.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Fun Graphic

If you look over at Real Clear Politics the graph for the tracking polls for the Republican Nomination is very encouraging as it shows the bounce that Fred is getting since his announcement. The fun part is that they have not recorded in the newest Rasmussen poll that has FDT up by 7 points on Giuliani, which would draw them closer together by about .6% on their statistical graph.

Another note is that CNN has released their poll that has Fred down by only 1 point. I have noted before that the main difference between Rasmussen and most of the other polls is that Rasmussen uses "likely Republican Primary Voters" where the others (like the CNN poll) are only using registered voters.

Review of the Early Appearances

Tom Bevan over at Real Clear Politics has a very nice review of the early Fred appearances (particularly in Iowa). He talks about how the expectations are impossibly high for FDT and he does not meet the "flash" expectations, but the informal style has been very successful.
In public, the most conspicuous thing about him is his size (6'5"), and for a legitimate "movie star" he generates significantly less wattage at events than even Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

For others, however, Thompson's lack of pretense is a draw in itself. Despite his fame, Thompson's easy going demeanor makes him seem "approachable" and "down to earth" to voters - a very valuable perception for candidates to project in states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
I have a feeling that the style will be appreciated in many more states than Iowa and New Hampshire.

Please forgive the comparison, but I have been reminded of Hee Haw. Hee Haw was universally panned by the critics, yet it survived being canceled by CBS after 2 or 3 seasons and then went into syndication for 21 years. This shows us that the "experts" do not always understand what the people like. In particular they do not understand the appeal of a "down home" and genuine approach. That is Fred. And like Hee Haw, the "experts" have been against him from the beginning, yet his poll numbers have been healthy and increasing as he makes himself known.

I'm willing to accept the press and the pundits criticizing him, but am more interested in what the voters think.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Smoking in Iraq

I read something in a NY Daily News story that I didn't understand. The article quoted Fred as attributing an Al Qaeda smoking ban as helping turn Iraqis to the U.S. I still haven't seen an actual quote of what he said, but it sounded somewhat out of context to me. Now Bill Hobbs over at Elephant Biz has a nice article explaining what Fred was talking about--and why it is correct! Of course a couple of details are important. The nature of the ban is
…the Muftis would order the severance of the two fingers used to hold a cigarette for any Iraqis caught smoking. Other reports, from here in Diyala and also in Anbar, allege that smokers are murdered by AQI.
OK, I think I understand why some would not like this policy.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

An Answer to the "Red Meat" Question

Rich Galen, a "Senior Advisor" to FDT was at the first New Hampshire appearance was wandering around after Fred's stump speech and overheard the following conversation:
One reporter, rather than asking “what did you think of the speech?” asked: “Don’t you think he is missing his opportunities by not having more red meat in his speech?”

The man the reporter was talking to, an actual voter from New Hampshire, said that he thought the speech was just fine and, further, while he hadn’t made up his mind, he was now leaning toward Fred.

Unable to stop myself, I dove into the conversation.

“First,” I said to the reporter, “you are requiring Thomson to reach a standard which (a) you, not this man, set and (b) doesn’t make any sense in the first place.”

“Look at all the people who waited through the storm to see him,” I said waiting until he actually turned around to look. “And they’re STILL here,” I said noting how many were swarming around Fred.

“You guys complain (I didn’t actually say “complain” but this is a family blog) about candidates who speak in sound bites and bumper strips. Then when a candidate comes and gives you 20 minutes of substance you tell me you’re looking for someone wearing a red nose and clown hair.”

“You can’t have it both ways.”
I agree with his statement that asking for Red Meant "doesn't make any sense in the first place." But I wish he would do a bit of explaining of WHY it doesn't make any sense. I don't think it makes any sense because the pundits are looking for specific proposals today when the entire situation will probably be different in 17 months when the new President takes his oath. It is more important to know on what basis the candidate will make his decisions and proposals.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

And Fred Hits It Out of the Park

While Giuliani was making his insane statements on illegal immigration not being a crime (in previous post), Fred was getting it right in a stump speech in Iowa:
"If we catch illegal immigrants who are here, they need to be deported," Thompson said. "If they want to get back in the right way, get in line with everybody else."

Friday, September 7, 2007

This SHOULD Sink Giuliani

Glann Beck (no, I don't know who he is either--but he is apparently a call-in talk radio show pundit) interviewed Giuliani today. Here is a partial transcript of the exchange on Illegal Immigration:
GLENN: Right. But isn't illegal immigration a crime in and of itself?


GLENN: Aren't you saying --

GIULIANI: Glenn --

GLENN: You're protecting criminals by saying that being treated as a criminal is unfair.

GIULIANI: Glenn, it's not a crime. I know that's very hard for people to understand, but it's not a federal crime.

GLENN: It's a misdemeanor but if you've been nailed, it is a crime. If you've been nailed, ship back and come back, it is a crime.

GIULIANI: Glenn, being an illegal immigrant, the 400,000 were not prosecuted for crimes by the federal government, nor could they be. I was U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York. So believe me, I know this. In fact, when you throw an immigrant out of the country, it's not a criminal proceeding. It's a civil proceeding.

GLENN: Is it --

GIULIANI: One of the things that congress wanted to do a year ago is to make it a crime, which indicates that it isn't.

GLENN: Should it be?

GIULIANI: Should it be? No, it shouldn't be because the government wouldn't be able to prosecute it. We couldn't prosecute 12 million people. We have only 2 million people in jail right now for all the crimes that are committed in the country, 2.5 million. If you were to make it a crime, you would have to take the resources of the criminal justice system and increase it by about 6. In other words, you'd have to take all the 800,000 police, and who knows how many police we would have to have.
This is weird logic. As a prosecutor he could not prosecute, so they have not committed a crime. So they are here "illegally" but it is not a crime!?! Incredible. This is a core subject of the election that should give FDT a solid leg to compete against Giuliani.

Elephant Biz quotes the actual federal code.

Cato Institute on Fred

The Cato Institute has published a note in it's "daily dispatch" that congratulates FDT for his Federalism stance:
"Kudos to Thompson for injecting federalism back into public discussion. Thompson is right that federalism 'is a tool to promote freedom.' All the Republican candidates should do less griping about 'pork' spending, and put their efforts into plans for abolishing major agencies and reviving the federalist structure of American government."

Summary of Fred on Issues

The Advocate has compiled a short list of positions that FDT has espoused either during the current campaign or while he was a Senator. Very concise, clear and fair even though the Advocate is a gay/lesbian magazine. However, they don't deal with his primary issue of Federalism.


Fred was on Good Morning America this morning. I'm looking for the video of this, but have not found it yet.

Fred Stump Speech

Fred was in Des Moines, IA yesterday where he gave the first of his stump speeches. It is worth watching. I have people ask, "I wonder why Thompson is running" to which I have been telling them that I don't know the full story, but whatever it is relates to Federalism. Every time that I hear Fred, I am more convinced that Federalism is THE reason that Thompson is running.

I know that the comparisons to Reagan are way overdone. But this is the comparison that I have been waiting for since Reagan left office. I am tired of "pragmatic" politicians. Politicians who make policy decisions based on what will get them reelected, or that sound good, or that they can negotiate with Congress for. I am looking for a ideological politician that stands for some values. As FDT says, "principles". That is a running theme of Fred.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fred's Leno Appearance

The Tonight Show appearance has been You Tubed:

Here is Segment 1
and Segment 2

Club for Growth Analysis

The Club for Growth has already posted its white paper on FDT. Here is the conclusion:
Senator Thompson's eight-year record in the U.S. Senate demonstrates an admirable commitment to limited government and free-market principles. His record on entitlement reform and school choice is excellent, while his support for lower taxes and free trade is very good. On Social Security reform in particular, Thompson courageously supported personal accounts at a time when few politicians were willing to risk their necks taking on the third rail of American politics.

His record on spending (save the occasional pork project) is generally impressive, as demonstrated by his votes to restrict the growth and reach of the federal government. On regulation, too, Thompson voted generally against government intrusion in the private sector. Many Republican politicians talk about limited government and the principle of federalism but Thompson exemplified those ideas, often voting against bills that would have made it easy for a political opponent to paint him in a negative light.

While this strong federalist philosophy casts a redemptive light on his opposition to tort reform, it does not fully excuse or explain a number of his votes. His persistent federalism also makes his role in the passage of McCain-Feingold all the more disappointing. It is difficult to reconcile Thompson's fervent belief in a limited government with his enthusiasm for increasing government regulation on political speech. Thompson has never adequately addressed this contradiction and will have to do so. His recent doubts over the legislation's efficacy are encouraging, least of all because all politicians make mistakes, and rare are those willing to admit their own.
I am not sure that they really understand his tort reform votes. But the review is very positive and with the speed of the white paper coming out, it is obvious that they had this written and were waiting (anxious?) for him to declare his candidacy.

FDT on Leno

Fred has made his announcement on the Tonight Show. He started off being very entertaining. Jay then actually did a very good interview of Fred. Probably better than most anyone else that I have seen. Jay asked him some pointed questions about Iraq, Iran and American perception overseas. Fred gave answers that are strong, clear and potentially controversial. It shows that he has convictions, he is informed and is not afraid to lay out his positions.

The one negative that I took from the session was early in the interview, FDT kept dropping his hands into his lap which made a slap sound that kept coming across. But he stopped doing that and the interview went well.

Don't forget to go over to and watch the announcement video.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A New Kind of Campaign

Fred has announced that he will be producing daily responses to questions posed on one of the conservative blogs: GraniteGrok, Weekend Pundit, Instapundit, Right Wing News, Captain's Quarters, or Redstate. Just one more way that Fred will be doing things differently than his competitors.

And It Starts...

The first ad has been posted on You Tube. The big news here is that the official campaign site will be More later as everything rolls out!

Of course, at least at this point it is just a mirror of the site.

ImwithFred Review

The site has previously reviewed the announced candidates' web sites, and yesterday released their review of Fred's website. Generally he rates well--particularly with the "encouraging users", though they are not sure of the successes. They note that his online campaign financing is in line with other candidates.

Their primary critique is:
On the Thompson site, issues are non-existent. The only stance Thompson articulates at all is his take on the notion of federalism. And it is referred to not as an issue but rather as a “principle.”
Their basis for this statement is that there is not an "Issues" category on the site a litany of items stating their "positions". The issues listed by the article are: Iraq, Security, Health Care, Environment & Energy, Economy, Ethics, Abortion, Education, Immigration, and Fred's issue Federalism. As I have said before, I think FDT has expressed many of these items on his site. They are just in the "Commentaries" section. Specifically he has talked extensively about: Security, some on Health Care, the Economy, Earmarks (read Ethics) and many other items. There are no articles, but the speeches show his position on Iraq fairly clearly.

On the other hand, he has not given specific policy proposals for anything. Personally I find these proposals irrelevant being that we are 16 months before those proposals can even be introduced. How different may Iraq be in 16 months? Any proposal created today will have to be updated significantly before the candidate would take office. Fred has been up front that on issues like Iraq, that he does not currently have access to the details necessary to second guess the President or the generals in the field. The principals of how he would operate are far more important.

That being said, tonight at 12:00 Fred will announce. I will be surprised if we do not see a new website at the same time that will expand greatly on the issues.

The countdown to the fireworks is well under way.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fred Keeping In Control of the Message

Here is another great move. Not only is FDT skipping the New Hampshire debate (just how many debates are we going to have in this election cycle?), but he will be running an ad during the debate. He will have recorded his Leno appearance before the GOP debate, but the debate will air before his Leno appearance. The Leno appearance will precede the release of his 15 minute announcement from his website. Then on Thursday FDT will hit the campaign trail. Jim Kuhnhenn of the AP sums it up:
What stands out for Thompson is his blend of paid advertising, talk-show appearance, Internet and stump speech - all in less than 24 hours.

Why Debate?

Thompson is going to make his announcement on Leno rather than attending a Republican debate in New Hampshire. FDT's people admit that they will make mistakes as they have made mistakes in the past. Even though the Examiner is casting this decision as a mistake, Thompson's folk are not considering this one of those mistakes. Thompson's communication director, Todd Harris (no relation), said:
“it makes a lot of sense” for Thompson to appear on the Leno show instead of the GOP debate because the candidate will reach “everyday normal Americans who don’t live in the 202 area code.”

Fred Second in Texas Straw Poll

The AP, et al are reporting that Fred placed second in the Texas straw poll behind Duncan Hunter. This is somewhat remarkable since FDT had no particular push there. He couldn't really, since he is still not officially a candidate. This, of course, will change this Wednesday night/Thursday morning.