Friday, November 30, 2007

Fred on Larry King - Link to Video

Blogs For Fred Thompson has linked to the video of Fred and Jeri on Larry King Live from Friday night. This was a fairly good interview. I guess the best question of the interview was what Fred's first three priorities would be. The answers were: #1 National Security; #2 Economy (entitlement reform); #3 Unity of the American people. The United aspect is largely a credibility issue--that you can trust what is said.

Larry King brought up his policy proposals and how some think that he needs a team of people out pushing them. His response was to list the magazines, newspapers and websites that have given extensive coverage--papers like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily have all covered these proposals--and sung their praises.

Summary of Huck's Non-Conservative Credentials

A new website has been started as a collection of videos and quotes to demonstrate Huck's either shifting positions or simply non-Conservative positions. Others have called it a "great" site--it isn't. It has good content, but it is put together very poorly, but it will work--you can use it as a starting point for education or for directing your friends who believe that Huck is a great candidate because he is the perfect social conservative.

Romney's Shifting Immigration Position

Bill Lacy, Fred's campaign manager, released a statement this evening laying out some of Mitt's previous immigration positions including this video. The essence is that as recently as 2006 he supported a "path to citizenship" for illegal residents.
"Less than two years ago, Mitt Romney stated he would be 'delighted' to provide support to llegal immigrants who came to the U.S. 'contrary to the law.' Legal versus illegal doesn't seem to matter to Romney, as long as his current position is politically expedient. That's not leadership, that's pandering."

Audio From Rush re Fred

Here is Rush praising and coming just short of endorsing Fred:

Click to play

Giuliani Stepping In It

The story just keeps getting worse for Rudy regarding his (mis)use of the NYC police and/or city finances. ABC's investigative blog, "The Blotter" reports:
Well before it was publicly known he was seeing her, then-married New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani provided a police driver and city car for his mistress Judith Nathan, former senior city officials tell the Blotter on

"She used the PD as her personal taxi service," said one former city official who worked for Giuliani.
The former city officials said Giuliani expanded the budget for his security detail at the time. reported yesterday that many of the security expenses were initially billed to obscure city agencies, effectively hiding them from oversight.

The former officials told the extra costs involved overtime and per diem costs for officers traveling with Giuliani to secret weekend rendezvous with Nathan in the fashionable Hamptons resort area on Long Island.
I pointed the same thing out regarding Huckabee a few days ago. There are two primary reasons that the Republicans had such a horrible election in 2006: their spending proclivities and their ethics violations. With Huck, he is weak in both areas. It is hard to determine if Rudy would be weak on finances. But this story at least demonstrates the sensitivity that he will have on this issue, if not now at least in the general election.

Huck Admits He Is Soft on Immigration

Aaron Sadler at the Arkansas News Bureau is reporting that Huck admits that he is weak on immigration:
Huckabee for weeks now been criticized for his 2005 support of state-sponsored scholarships for illegal immigrants. Legislation to provide the tuition aid failed in the Arkansas Senate.

Huckabee admitted his stance is unpopular among a GOP voter base that has made immigration the No. 1 issue of the campaign.

"If it costs me the election, it costs me the election," he told reporters at a luncheon on Capitol Hill.

But Huckabee said voters should direct their anger toward a government that has neglected the immigration problem.
So it is the government's fault, but he would implement, more or less, the same policies.
And former state Sen. Jim Holt, R-Springdale, said Thursday Huckabee "has his head in the sand" when it comes to immigration policies.

Huckabee said he supported construction of a border fence, opposed amnesty for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country and backed penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

He said the federal government had thus far failed to solve the problem.

Holt said Huckabee is to blame, too.

"In 2005, he told me personally in his office there was no illegal immigration problem," said Holt, who introduced legislation two years ago that would have denied all government benefits to illegals.

Since then Huckabee has flip-flopped on the issue, Holt added.

"Huckabee would not lose the presidency because of his stand on immigration, he's losing it because he's making such a blatant 180-degree turn on the issue," Holt said. "That's what's going to cost him, he's changing his tune."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Factcheck on YouTube Debate

Factcheck has once again written about the facts, or non-facts, in the YouTube debate. Once again, Mitt, Rudy and Huck got a lot of mentions of issues, but Fred checks out. Factcheck has not pointed out any inaccuracy in Fred's ads or statements! So not only is Fred the consistent conservative, but also the consistently correct candidate.

Fred More Specifics on Abortion

Fred issued a press release today regarding abortion and the YouTube debate:
"In tonight's debate we saw once again that on abortion, Rudy Giuliani is pro-choice and Mitt Romney is multiple choice. I believe abortion should only be allowed in the instances of rape, incest and the life of the mother and penalties should be assessed against the abortion doctor and not the woman."
I believe that this is the most specific that Fred has been regarding what states should declare to be illegal regarding abortion. Personally I would go farther: the life of a child conceived in rape is still a life--taking it does not correct anything. Nevertheless, it is a very socially conservative position to take.

Rush Endorses?

Rush didn't come right out and say it, but he all but endorsed Fred today on his program. He did this based on his conservative credentials:
There was one candidate who did not display any moderateness or liberalism or have any of his past forays into those areas displayed, and that candidate was Fred Thompson. Now, this is not an endorsement. You know, I don't endorse during primaries. I just point out
I am thrilled to death that Rush has gone this far. He has really taken a backseat through this primary season. I don't blame him. He doesn't want to have to defend someone that he did not endorse if they win the primary. But Fred sure could have benefited from positive comments from Rush earlier in the season. Hopefully this will provide a little boost.

Some more quotes from Rush:
They may be saying they are, but in their past they have done some things that are not conservative in any way, shape, manner, or form -- and I think a lot of those things are being overlooked even by friends of mine in the conservative media because the obsession is Hillary. "Well, we gotta have somebody who can beat Hillary, and we can't have the perfect candidate," and so we gotta make the choice here based on who's best equipped to win and beat Hillary. I understand that, and whoever the nominee is, I'm going to support them. So don't misunderstand here. But I don't like seeing "conservatism" being watered down as the way it's defined. I don't want people who are not conservative being said to be representatives of the "new conservatism." There is no "new" conservatism. There is conservatism, and you either are or you aren't.
And Fred, as we all know, is a real conservative.

What an Awful Debate

Thanks to Blogs for Fred Thompson I found the entire substance of the debate (minus the ad section, I guess). It was terrible. Most of the questions were not that great. The moderator, Anderson Cooper, was completely out of control of the entire debate. The time was not divided well among the candidates. They allowed a Clinton operative to not only ask one of the questions, but then provide about a minute's worth of commentary after getting an answer (that he didn't think was an answer, but was clearly just an answer that he did not agree with).


Fred did OK, but he did not get enough time. I heard some that thought that McCain did well. I thought he did poorly, particularly because he started with immigration and completely muffed it. Rudy and Mitt were constantly on the defensive. Huck did well, but he was never called onto the carpet for his positions. Paul came across as a nut, as usual. The others, including Paul, should not have been there.

Could Someone Please Broker This Deal?

Fred told Fox News after the debate last night that:
he next wants to challenge select opponents in a low-key, small-group setting.

"I would like for each of us in small groups ... to sit in small groups and have a discussion, a round-table discussion," Thompson said. "Anybody who's a serious contender for the nomination — I would get to decide as to who I'd get to sit down with, and it'd be several. And I'd do it one-on-one, one-on-three or whatever."
Clearly Fred is frustrated with this nutty debate format where nothing is determined. Of course, Fred has the most to gain by this format. Rudy, probably, has the most to lose. So I doubt that it will happen unless the "conservative" contingent (i.e. all but Rudy) decide to do it themselves. But someone, please step up to the plate to make this happen! (Fox News Sunday?)

CNN Slant

Warner Todd Huston at Mens News Daily has a review of the coverage that CNN has given to Fred (in particular). He deals with the spin that they put on Fred's answer to the Confederate flag question yesterday in the You Tube debate. He makes some good observations regarding even the pictures that they use to make their point.

What Happens When the Fallout Occurs

These musing are inspired by some pictures of McCain and Fred before the YouTube debate.

A bit of hopeful thinking here. But as the primary season moves on, there will be some unexpected dynamics. For instance, there are a couple of candidates who MUST do well in the first couple of primaries/caucuses in order to have a chance. Let's throw out some ideas:

McCain. He does not have to do well in Iowa, which he is writing off. But in order to be viable he probably has to win in New Hampshire. Let's say his current position holds which is 3rd. Due to his financial issues and the inevitability, I think he will actually pull out of the election. Based on his relationship with Fred, I predict that he will pull out and endorse Fred. Based on the way that they have run their respective campaigns, I believe that much of McCain's support would probably move over to Fred.

Romney. What if he does lose Iowa? What if he goes into third place there? What if Rudy comes up and beats Mitt in New Hampshire? I don't think that Mitt will drop out, but if he does poorly in one or both of these states, some supporters will jump ship. I think Fred gains some by this scenario, but not quickly and not as much as if someone completely drops out.

Huckabee. What if the electorate finally figures out that while Huck is a social conservative, he is completely unacceptable in every other way. This realization destroys his support in Iowa. Much of Huck's support loss should gravitate to Fred due to the socially conservative aspects.

Certainly not all of these will occur. And Fred needs to get some positive momentum in the next month for it to make any difference. But I am hopeful that Fred will generate momentum. And I believe at least one, if not two of these scenarios will happen. I have presented the scenarios in the order that I believe to be most likely (McCain, Mitt, Huck) even though the reverse order is the order that it SHOULD happen.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What Were You Doing In 1994?

Here is the Fred "attack ad". It is pretty potent or at least funny in showing what some of Fred's competition was proposing in the mid 90s to the present.

I Call "Dumb"

I don't get CNN at home. I will have to watch You Tube clips of tonight's debate late tonight or tomorrow sometime. But in preparation I browsed over to the You Tube Debate site and have reviewed several of the questions. So far I have not found one question worth asking. One begs for "inexpensive" health insurance. One argues that the Iraq citizens will never stop fighting against us (assuming that they are fighting against us). One argues that our entire national debt has been caused by the war in Iraq. You get the point.

Hopefully out of the nearly 5,000 submissions that they got there will be 20 or so decent questions that don't show the absolute ignorance of the general population. But I'm not going to hold my breath.

Wall Street Journal Weighs In

The Wall Street Journal has put forward a review of Fred's tax plan--and they like it. They certainly don't find it perfect, but generally the really are positive:
Fred Thompson's Presidential campaign has been struggling, in part because of a sense that he lacks passion and an agenda. But late last week he unveiled a tax reform that is more ambitious than anything we've seen so far from the rest of the GOP field.
That's why the idea of a voluntary flat tax--introduced on these pages a dozen years ago--makes political sense. The Thompson plan would allow taxpayers to keep their mortgage and charitable deductions if they prefer, by adhering to the current tax code and rates. But it would also allow the option to abandon those credits and deductions except for a single allowance based on family size ($39,000 for a family of four). Most taxpayers would pay a 10% rate on income above that allowance, with a 25% rate kicking in at $100,000 for a couple. There would only be five lines on the tax form and most taxpayers could fill it out in minutes.

Liberals are already objecting that the plan is not "paid for," by which they mean it doesn't raise taxes the way they hope the next President will. But Mr. Thompson is right in refusing to play by the "static revenue" scoring game that demands that one dollar in estimated tax cuts be offset by one dollar in estimated tax increases somewhere else. "The experts always overrate the revenue losses from tax cuts," Mr. Thompson says, and history supports him going back to the Mellon reductions of the 1920s, the Kennedy tax cuts of the 1960s, the Gipper's in the 1980s, and this decade's success with President Bush's reductions.
What the WSJ would prefer to see, however, is only one flat tax rate instead of two, because
Once the concession is made that richer people should pay a higher tax rate, the political temptation is always to raise the rate on the wealthy. The virtue of the single-rate flat tax isn't merely its efficiency but also its moral component: It treats all taxpayers equally. If a person makes five times more money than his neighbor, he should pay five times more taxes, not 10 or 20 times more.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bill Clinton on Romney - Ouch

Bill hits the nail on the head:
"I've gotten a kick out of his campaign, now that he's campaigning to all these social conservatives, he's basically asking for forgiveness for most of what he did as governor. He basically says, 'Well, if you were governor of Hades, you'd act like a devil, too. I did a good job of representing my constituents, but now that I have a chance to ascend to heaven, I'll say it's whatever.' So that would be an interesting election."
H/T Fred Thompson News

New Ads For Fred

Here are two new ads that Fred has released.

Fred Barnes Strikes Back?

According to Blogs for Fred Thompson, Fred Barnes responded to Fred (Thompson):
Fred Barnes was asked during the All-Stars roundtable about Fred Thompson's comments from Fox News Sunday regarding all the negative punditry emanating from Fox News concerning his candidacy.

Barnes' thought-provoking response - "He hasn't run a good campaign."

And that was that. Oh, and he opined that Fred "tripped over" the question about how well he has run his campaign. Barnes then folded his arms, just like any smug smarter-than-thou-pundit would.
But there was a more subtle strike that came from the Daily Standard which is edited by Fred Barnes. Basically the argument argues that Fred tried to "'You Tube' his way to the nomination." Now this is news. Apparently, Fred was going to sit in his Virginia home and run the entire campaign from there making You Tube videos from his living room.

Yet there is not one word on the Weekly Standard site discussing Fred's tax proposal, which was the most significant development in the campaign over the weekend. The inescapable conclusion is that Fred Barnes does not like Fred Thompson. And it apparently has nothing to do with the substance of his campaign. I don't think it has a thing to do with Fred running a bad campaign either. If so, they would point to something substantial, or at least factual. But instead of that, we get made-up stuff like this.

Fred on Mark Levin

Fred was on Mark Levin's show yesterday. Blogs For Fred Thompson has a link to an audio recording of the interview.

They covered taxes, his campaign, poor media coverage, and the various Right to Life endorsements.

One quote that struck me was when talking about why he was running for President, Fred said, "I'm doing this for policy reasons, more than anything else." When people talk about the "fire in his belly" (which they continually mistake) this is what they need to understand. I think most candidates, if they were honest, are doing it to leave a mark on the world, or for the power. Fred is doing this because he is seeing the country go a direction that he believes is wrong and he feels that he can do something about it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

IBJ For Fred

The Investor's Business Daily has written an editorial that, in the end, supports Fred. But it is the reason for supporting Fred that I like the most. They talk about how Reagan saved the party and attribute three fundamental positions to saving the party:
  • Lowering high taxes and stemming the growth of government in order to revive the private economy, lower inflation and interest rates, and generate jobs.
  • Rebuilding U.S. defenses and unashamedly confronting Soviet expansionism with the goal of winning the Cold War rather than learning to live with communism.
  • Reasserting traditional values in the aftermath of the 1960s social revolution, including opposing abortion and smut, especially through the appointment of federal judges holding strict-constructionist views.
Huckabee could fill the role, except that he keeps attacking the Club for Growth and calling capitalists "Scrooges". Fred on the other hand, fills all three positions very nicely.

Fred Ain't a Half Bad Fellow

Al Barger at Blog Critics posted an article giving his analysis of Fred, particularly in light of this weekend's Fox News Sunday confrontation. His take was that it was not comparable to Bill Clinton's meltdown in the same context, but rather:
Instead, he had some specific grievances that he explained politely and personally on air. "For you to highlight nothing but the negatives in terms of the polls and then put on your own guys who have been predicting for four months, really, that I couldn't do it, kind of skew things a little bit. There's a lot of other opinion out there." That strikes me as a good, clean honest way to deal with people.
I thought that it was a heated discussion, but I didn't think it was acrimonious. Al also deals with the "fire in the belly" thought process (that I am getting sick of) and has the appropriate spin on it:
But the best personality-type reason to root for Thompson is that he's the major candidate who is distinctly the least hungry for the job. This often seems to be listed as a big argument against Thompson, for some reason. But he hasn't been itching to be the president and the big boss all his life. I find that very healthy and reassuring.
It's not like Thompson doesn't really want the job. He's ambitious, and he thinks he could do a better job as POTUS than the others. Some folk have described him as "lazy" because of his laconic Jed Clampett style, but he's had several big careers. He's got a hell of a resume for a lazy man. It's just that his psyche won't be crushed and his soul hurt if he doesn't get the job.
Quite frankly, I understand why Fred wants to be President. I'm not too sure why the others do. Unfortunately, to quote a local politician here in Indianapolis, many want it so that they can have the "Juice".

There is one more item that Al covers that really strikes home with me and that is his principled policy approach. He quotes Jacob Sullum of Reason magazine,
"Fred Thompson's federalism is inconsistent, but at least he has principles to betray."
We might not always agree with his exact definition of federalism, though I usually do, but he does have principles. On the Republican side of things I cannot point to one (other than Ron Paul, but that is a different discussion) that is a principled leader.

H/T Blogs for Fred Thompson

More Love From Kudlow

Larry Kudlow started singing Fred's praises when they talked a few weeks ago. He has posted on The Corner at National Review today continuing to sing Fred's praises. He is not going as far as endorsing, but he is very happy with Fred's policy proposals:
Good for Fred. Good for his excellent, broad based, tax-cut plan — including a flat-tax option and a corporate tax cut.

Good for him for snapping back at Fox’s Chris Wallace when he tried to pull a fast one by citing Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer as proof-pudding that Fred can’t win. Good for Fred for mentioning National Review and Investor’s Business Daily for speaking positively about his candidacy. (So, is it true that Fox is dedicating itself to Rudy?)

Good for Fred for showing fire, energy, and animation throughout the interview. It’s the same fire in the belly that I witnessed in our CNBC interview earlier this month.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Clouds on the Horizon for Romney Care

Costs are apparently an issue in Massachusetts. An article in the Bakersfield Californian observes:
In Massachusetts, which passed a mandatory insurance law last year, high costs are forcing the state to let more than 10 percent of the uninsured off the hook because they won't be able to afford the premiums.

Experts say the affordability problem is not going away. Medical inflation means the gap between what most people can pay and what health care truly costs gets wider every year.
Interestingly, those who want health insurance to be treated like auto insurance don't have a great track record either:
With 10 times as many uninsured people, California may have an even tougher time. Its track record with auto insurance is not encouraging. An estimated 14 percent of drivers still have no insurance, despite a decades-long mandate.

That's not much lower than the 19 percent who have no medical insurance, which costs far more.
Maybe a Fred administration can hire Newt as a healthcare Tzar. He has a lot of experience in working on market-based solutions, which would be nice to see.

Video From Fox News Sunday

Here is the video from the interview today. Once again, highly recommended. I am watching to see what gets more play, Fred's critique of Fox News, his tax reform material, or his issues with Huck and Rudy. (Early returns are taxes for MSM and Fox News by non-MSM)

Click to play

By the way, Fred was on for about 15 minutes and gave an interview with a LOT of storylines--stuff that could (should) be quoted and generally reported. Of course the biggest item was the announcement of the tax plan. His comments on Huck's former abortion position is a second--not to mention Huck's other positions. His response to Rudy's lame accusation of Fred having "no experience" (this was not even qualified as no executive experience). The line, by the way, was "I think Rudy was squealing before he got stuck"--good line. Then there was the defense of his campaign against the bias of Fox News. Unfortunately I am guessing that only one or maybe two of this storylines will get reported out of the interview.

Fred Gives Fox A Spanking

Once again Fred had a great appearance on a Sunday morning news show. He was on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace (whom I like and whom I think did a good job on this interview).

Chris started by giving Fred the opportunity to give an overview of his tax plan (covered in a previous post). It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Chris argues that their folk analyzed this and decided that this will remove $2.5 trillion from the tax rolls over the next 10 years and so he asks Fred how he would cut spending. Fred's initial answer is right but not strongly worded enough--the "losses" will not be that much because it will invigorate the economy that will generate more tax revenue. On the other hand, I think Fred would LIKE to see the tax revenues reduced (as would I).

On spending, Fred's example was Social Security, which he says will save $4.7 trillion (don't know over what period of time). The weakness of this is that these are two separate pots of money, though I think it clearly shows that he understands that there are ways to save money. "The spending is going to have to be addressed on the basis of the entitlement difficulties."

They moved onto abortion. Fred focused on the fact that his position is achievable, but the HLA is not achievable. He also points out that his opponent on this, Huckabee wanted this as recently as last year. Chris argued that his position was pro-choice because it gave the States the ability to choose (?). Weird argument, Chris. In talking about the concern of the States not choosing to limit abortion Fred responded, "If we can't carry the argument ... nationwide now, we can never pass the constitutional amendment anyway." In other words, if the states won't limit abortion, what makes anyone think that we could pass an amendment?

Things turn to Fred in the polls, particularly talking about Huck. Chris invited Fred to help us understand Huck's record. Fred somewhat reluctantly pointed out the abortion shift mentioned above; taxes--Cato Institute gave him a D- on taxes; illegal immigration--resisted the legislature from restricting illegal immigration, for taxpayer funded scholarships for illegals, and objected when illegals were arrested.

Chris brought up Rudy's contention that Fred has no record. Fred brought up Rudy's record on gun control and then talked about his Federal experience as compared to Rudy's city level experience. "Rudy has not 5 minutes of experience with regard to things of those nature....when you say experience, the question is 'experience doing what'?"

Finally Chris accuses the campaign of being disappointing to which be brings up Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer criticizing Fred's campaign. "This has been a constant mantra of Fox," Fred responds. He then points out how Fox and these two in particular have really been against him since the beginning. Fred brought out the positives in the polls that contradict the "disappointing" aspect of the campaign. He also brought up National Review and Investors Business Daily positive comments on his policy statements, particularly indicating that he has done a better job than the other candidates.

Generally the tone of this last exchange was combative where Fred took Fox (and implicitly the remainder of the MSM) to task for operating in the tear down mode on his campaign without taking to account the positives going on. Fred was very strong and powerful on this exchange.

Fox News has NOT been very receptive to Fred's campaign--Fred Barnes, in particular. I think Barnes is solidly in Romney's camp and is not being very objective. I like Barnes, but he is more related to the "country club" Republican or at least an "inside the beltway" Republican which would make him lean toward Romney anyway. I like the fact that Fred took them to task for it. Chris Wallace, after being spanked, replied, "I'm glad I asked the question because I got a heck of an answer."

Fred's Tax Plan

Fred revealed highlights of his tax plan on Fox News Sunday today (more of a review on the appearance in the next post). Here is the complete plan. The high level items are:
  • Permanently Extend the 2001 and 2003 Tax Cuts
  • Permanently Repeal the Death Tax
  • Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (index until repealed)
  • Reduce the Corporate Tax Rate to no more than 27%
  • Permanently Extend Small Business Expensing (rather than depreciating)
  • Update and Simplify Depreciation Schedules
  • Expand Taxpayer Choice
This last item is very interesting in that it offers taxpayers a choice between the traditional tax plan and an alternative flatter tax plan that does not have exemptions beyond the personal exemptions. Also note that Fred has reduced the level for corporate tax rates from what he had been talking about--he had been saying 28% and now the number is 27%.

Statistics: Fred Not Lazy

I have hated the "lazy" tag being put onto Fred from the beginning--I don't think it makes sense at all. Well apparently Gannet News Service has analyzed the candidates' schedules between November 4-17 and has found that McCain had 35 campaign events, Fred had 28, Mitt had 22, and Rudy had 20.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Funny "Inspirational" Poster

I was reminded of the phony inspirational posters by Josh Gillespie. This caused me to browse around a bit looking for other "inspirational" posters and I found one that I actually thought was relevant to the subject of this blog:

With the talk about how Fred doesn't have "fire in his belly", I thought this was relevant to others who DO have the "fire".

Fred Responds to Rudy

Fox News was following Fred in New Hampshire yesterday and posted a couple of videos that are worth watching--I particularly like the second one to show how he interacts with the folk there. (I'm not sure that I picture any of the other candidates pulling out their wallet and paying for something or doing their Christmas shopping at a gun shop.)

Rudy's campaign issued a statement saying that he supports 2nd amendment rights, but Fred's campaign responded:
“Rudy supported a Clinton administration proposal for a national gun licensing program because he felt the proposal would help start developing interests in national and international regulation of guns. As mayor, he joined in a lawsuit against the gun industry that tried to lay the blame on gun manufacturers and not criminals for the use of the weapons after they are legally purchased and he is the same man who called the NRA ‘extremists.’”

Can Huck help Fred?

Jason at has put forth the theory that Huck can actually help Fred by winning in Iowa and taking out Mitt. Here is his scenario:
My friends, if Huckabee wins Iowa, Mitt Romney’s campaign is over. His numbers will slightly fade in New Hampshire, though not much since the time difference will only be a week between the two elections, but Romney’s South Carolina support will fade after a perception of unelectability, and he will quickly become the candidate that has too much to overcome (Mormon, Massachusetts, flip flopper).

Enter Fred Thompson. Under this scenario, Huckabee’s Iowa upset will be short lived as he will undoubtedly fade after finishing 3rd in New Hampshire’s election. Fred will win South Carolina handily, and from the boost of winning the first in the south and finishing a strong 3rd in Iowa (I’m predicting above 20%), along with Mitt considered out of the race, he will compete to win over conservatives from Rudy in Florida and beyond on Super Tuesday. He’ll continue his southern strategy and maybe, just maybe, could compete against Rudy’s big delegate counts from sweeping the Northeast and California.

Allowing this strategy to unfold would mean a needed double attack on Mitt Romney via Thompson and Huckabee. Whether this could play out is unknown, as Huckabee has concentrated his strategy against Thompson in hopes of becoming the VP to either Romney or Rudy. None-the-less, Romney’s exit from the race is what’s needed for Fred to win, so he has no choice but to stop the Huckabee-bashing, and start on Romney. It’s the only way he’ll chip away at Mitt’s support, force an unelectable Huckabee to win the first election day, finish a strong 3rd in Iowa, and propel himself as the only electable conservative standing post-New Hampshire as an alternative to Rudy (which we want).
Now I think he has several things right, but not necessarily all of them. While a second place finish in Iowa would be extremely damaging to Mitt, I don't know that it is a knockout punch. Now if Huck finished first and Fred in second in Iowa, that would represent a quick end to Mitt--and I do think that is a possibility. (Of course, I still see a Fred win a as a possibility.) Based on his spending and constant critiques of Rudy, I think Mitt has determined that a strong finish in New Hampshire is the absolute critical vote for him. But a loss in Iowa could easily undermine any strength Mitt has in New Hampshire. A close win for Mitt in New Hampshire is a loss for him! If Mitt wins by only 4 points after having lost Iowa will probably destroy all of his remaining strength going forward.

But I disagree with Jason that Huck will be done with a third place finish in New Hampshire. His influence may go on for a while unless the electorate understands his liberal positions on financial issues, which he has done a good job of hiding to this point.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fred on Gun Control

Fred is in Bristol, New Hampshire today talking with gun owners at Skip's Gun Shop. He is talking about his strong support of the 2nd amendment/gun rights. He even talked up the fact that he used to have a skeet shoot. His main target today was Rudy, who Fred says, "simply supported just about every gun control legislation that came down the pipe. I just disagree with him on that." He continued about his own record: "Some of my opponents, you know, have a bad record or no records. I have a solid record. ... I'm not embarrassed to remind anybody of it."

Rudy is not taking this sitting down. A spokesman said,
"Coming from a man who lives in the Beltway, who is a Washington insider and lobbyist and who played the role Rudy Giuliani actually lived on a television series, I am not sure what to make of the senator's comments, except to say results are results," Katie Levinson said.

"Time and again as U.S. attorney, the third-ranking official in the Reagan Justice Department and as mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani delivered, and no amount of political posturing will change that," she said.
"Results are results" is a good line. Fred's point is valid. Rudy's results were a loss of gun rights to citizens of New York City.

What's Up With Mitt?

According to Associated Content Mitt is running new ads in New Hampshire criticizing Rudy on family values. What I find interesting about this is that according to Real Clear Politics, he has a 14.6 point lead there--and it is increasing rather than getting tighter.

I think there are a couple of things going on here: First, Mitt cannot afford to lose New Hampshire--he probably cannot afford for it to be close. Second, I think it shows that he is worried and the solution is to stay on the offensive.

OK by me. The more he spends in New Hampshire takes resources from other states were Fred is competitive or leading.

Numbers USA on Fred's Immigration Policy

Roy Beck of Numbers USA (a group that is strongly in favor of reducing illegal immigration and (it appears to me, reducing legal immigration) has reviewed Fred's Immigration policy very favorably.

When Fred Thompson came out with a detailed immigration policy this fall, I knew it was very good but was too busy leading the fight against amnesties in the Senate to give thorough attention.

Reading Thompson's full proposed immigration policy this afternoon, I am blown away by its depth, its breadth and at how it would so fundamentally change Americans' future for the better.
The key aspects, particularly that Beck points to are:
  • Ending Chain Migration (where all your distant relatives get to come with you
  • Eliminate the visa lottery, presumably to use national needs as the determining factor to issue visas
  • No amnisty
  • Attrition through enforcement (enforce the rules and people will go back home)
  • Mandatory use of E-Verify by businesses
  • Finish the fence
  • End Sanctuary Cities
There are several others. They see a negative the fact that Fred has not set explicit goals for numerical reduction in immigration, though they acknowledge that his plans would greatly reduce those numbers. I am not sure that a reduction is really what would be good for the country.

Fred on Fox News Sunday

Fred will be on Fox News Sunday this week. He will be rolling out a tax proposal that will have "sharp distinctions with his rivals."

Club for Growth Update

About a week ago, the Club for Growth issued an update on their assessment of Huck's fiscal policy analysis. They are continuing to pile onto Huck (deservedly so). Pat Toomey, the Club's President offered this summary:
“Over the pas ten months, Governor Huckabee’s embrace of his liberal economic record as governor and his populist, protectionist rhetoric on the campaign trail has only confirmed the Club for Growth’s original assessment,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “Huckabee himself admits that he is a ‘different kind of Republican,’ a code word for more government involvement, less personal freedom, and greater dependence on government bureaucrats.”

“Huckabee is proud of his tax hikes, his spending increases, and his regulatory expansions as governor, and he has not indicated that he would govern any differently as president. Nominating Mike Huckabee for president or vice-president would constitute an abject rejection of the free-market, limited-government, economic conservatism that has been the unifying theme of the Republican Party for decades.”
H/T Blogs for Fred Thompson

Energy Solutions

The following is a clip of Fred in Ames, IA on Wednesday, I believe. The question asked of him has to do with the use of coal as an American source of energy. Fred's response is "yes". But he goes on to explain that the solutions for America's energy issues must include multiple solutions: coal, nuclear, as well as oil (he mentions ANWR specifically).

My question for you is, after listening to Fred's answer to this question, does Fred have a grasp on the issues associated with energy?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Huck In Second--How Long?

Fred commented on the recent polling numbers reporting Huck in second in Iowa. Fred downplayed the polls at this point of the game saying: “I wonder who will lead it next week and the week after that and the week after that.” Basically don't put your finger to the wind to figure out how things are going today, let's wait for the end. But he also indicated that there may be winds that may blow against Huck in the near future:
“Well he is, he’s kind of new to the first tier I guess you might say, and so they probably don’t know him as well as they know some of the rest of us,” Thompson said. “But that’s a situation that will be cured shortly. That’s the reward you get for doing well in a poll. You start getting attention, and I’m sure that’ll happen with regard to him as it’s happened to all of us.”
And also today is an article in The Politico detailing ethics questions that came up in his time as Governor of Arkansas (14 in all, though several are either wrong or frivolous).
An ordained Southern Baptist minister known for his charm, Huckabee rose swiftly through Arkansas politics, culminating with his decade-long stint as governor.

But his career has also been colored by 14 ethics complaints and a volley of questions about his integrity, ranging from his management of campaign cash to his use of a nonprofit organization to subsidize his income to his destruction of state computer files on his way out of the governor’s office.

Some of the ethics complaints deal with fairly penny ante stuff, and most were dismissed.

They did, however, yield five admonitions and $1,000 in fines from Arkansas' Ethics Commission and, perhaps more significantly, a pattern that strategists for two competing GOP campaigns privately predict could become fodder for attacks playing on the culture-of-corruption theme Democrats used to pound Republicans in the 2006 midterm elections.
I have detailed a lot of why I am not fond of Huck, but one of the main reasons that the Republicans lost the mid-term elections was because of ethics issues. Bringing someone along that is already starting with these liabilities would be a bad choice for the Republicans. It also would mute the ability to hit Hillary with her ethics (fund raising) issues.

The Club For Growth Still Likes Fred

The Club for Growth has released another statement praising Fred's economic positions. In this case it is for his call for reducing tax rates on corporations:
The Club for Growth applauds Fred Thompson’s proposal to cut the top corporate tax rate from the current rate of 35% to 28%. Thompson deserves special kudos for ruling out a Charlie Rangel-like plan that would cut the corporate tax rate while raising other taxes.

“The United States has one of the most burdensome corporate tax structures in the world and the second highest rate in the industrialized world,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “We congratulate Fred Thompson for being the first Republican presidential candidate to propose a specific corporate tax cut and for recognizing the importance of lower taxes in promoting economic growth in this country. We look forward to hearing the details of his plan and encourage all the other candidates—Democrat and Republican—to join him in keeping American businesses competitive in the global marketplace.”

Other Details on Mitt and Immigration

One of the critiques about Mitt regarding his stances on immigration is that he deputized his state troopers to detail illegal immigrants, but that he did so right as he was leaving office knowing that his successor would reverse that position. Marc Ambinder writes about this today.
The point isn't that Romney didn't do what he says he did -- he did indeed provide for the deputization of some state police troopers to detain undocumented workers -- the point is that there is, to every gesture a back story, and one that involves the tangle of personal, political and policy motivations.
But I've spoken to Romney advisers and aides who served the governor during this period. Some are still with the governor's team, and others have moved on. (None is Mike Murphy, incidentally). They acknowledge that, by the middle of 2005, Romney was thinking pretty seriously about the possibility of a political life after the state house, that he was expanding his outreach to conservatives, that conservatives were listing illegal immigration as an issue of paramount concern, that Romney was encouraged by some of his advisers to summon some public intestinal fortitude on immigration, and that he was moved to take forward-leaning action toward the tail end of his term.
So basically immigration became an issue for Mitt when he was thinking about running for President. I think we all knew this. My issue here is not that he is good on immigration or bad on immigration. It is that Mitt uses the finger to the wind method to decide what he is going to address.

New ABC Iowa Poll - And Details

ABC has released a new poll (pdf) that has Fred in third place in Iowa behind Mitt and Huck (28, Mitt; 24, Huck; 15, Fred). That, of course, is what is making news--and for Fred, it is a good sign that he is now falling off into obscurity. Actually he has come up 2 points since the last ABC poll.

But the real story in this poll is what is behind those numbers. Here are a couple of encouraging items:

First, Mitt's support with First Caucus goers is 37%. These folk are usually difficult to actually get to the first caucus, so that support may not be as strong as believed.

Second, of Mitt's supporters, 42% say they have a good chance of switching candidates. Even 26% of Huck's say they have a good chance of switching.

These numbers tell me that there is a lot that can happen in the next 5 weeks. There are people who can be convinced. There are people who need to be convinced to go to their caucus.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Interview with Bloomberg

Fred had a recent interview with Peter Cook of Bloomberg TV (video attached) covering a wide range of topics such as the economy, taxes, social security, energy policy and immigration. Most of what Fred covered was what we have seen before. But Cook got Fred on the topic of Medicare reform. To a degree, this is a diversion. Steph on ABC last Sunday tried this same diversion from Social Security, but Fred handled it right:
MR. THOMPSON: So we hop right off into that? Medicare is a bigger problem. There's no question about it. I think that we would probably do ourselves a lot of good in addressing the Medicare problem if we could prove that we could deal with the lesser problem of Social Security. Social Security is going to go bankrupt. I mean, you consider it a lesser problem because it's somewhat easier to fix, although nobody else has stepped up to apply a fix other than myself.

But once we do that, then we need to do things like the hard choices. I think that we're going to have to ask the more affluent to pay a bigger share of the cost in the future for one thing. There's some other features of our Medicare program that -

MR. COOK: But you're not talking about a tax increase there or you are?

MR. THOMPSON: No, I'm talking about means testing some of our benefits. The deductibility, you know, at what point the person has to start kicking into his own retirement solutions - those are the issues I think that we're going to have to look at first. Tax increases, of course, always the first thing the Democrats look at. They want to means test everything. And 5 percent of our people now are paying about 60 percent of our taxes, so I don't know how progressive they want it to be, but they're in danger of hurting the economy; they're in danger of hurting small businesses and individual entrepreneurs if they keep going the tax increase route.

So we have to look at the spending side of the ledger and doing some common sense things now before we have to really hurt anybody, instead of waiting until later when we'll have to hurt everybody when we'll have drastic benefit cuts or astronomical tax increases or astronomical deficits and borrowing from abroad.

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Well, I thought I was done for the day, but this is too good to pass up.

Mitt and Rudy are bashing each other over immigration.

In a memo from Mitt's campaign:
Rudy Giuliani’s ardent defense of his sanctuary city policies in New York City that provided college tuition breaks for illegal immigrants demonstrates he has exactly the wrong approach on the enforcement of immigration laws and enhanced border security.
Mayor Giuliani’s Sanctuary Policy Allowed The City University Of New York (CUNY) To Offer Tuition Breaks To Illegal Immigrants.
In 2000, At Least 2,788 Illegal Immigrants Were Enrolled At CUNY. (City University of New York)
Rudy's campaign was happy to respond:
Campaign Trail Mitt Romney’s newfound interest in illegal immigration stands in stark contrast to his record as Governor. On Governor Romney’s watch, the number of illegal immigrants in Massachusetts skyrocketed, aid to Massachusetts sanctuary cities went through the roof and Governor Romney even went so far as to hire illegals to work on his lawn.
Between 2002 And 2004, Massachusetts Became A “New Large State” For Unauthorized Migrant Population, With A Total Of 200,000-250,000 Illegal Immigrants
Romney’s Last Minute Agreement With Federal Government To Allow State Troopers To Enforce Immigration Laws Was Rescinded Before It Was Ever Implemented.
“A Globe analysis of nine recent public works projects … revealed that of 242 workers on weekly payroll lists, more than a third appeared to lack legitimate Social Security numbers."
“The [illegal immigrant lawn] worker in Copado [Guatemala] said a state trooper stationed in Romney’s driveway once inquired about his immigration status, about six months ago. Saenz, the company owner, who was at the property at the time, told the trooper that the worker was in the country legally, but had forgotten his papers, the worker told the Globe."
The kicker is that both of them are right. Neither Mitt or Rudy have a very good record on Immigration.

How Can I Help?


There are two wonderful opportunities coming up for you to volunteer to help Fred. The first is tomorrow with the Fred's Giving Day. You can go to to donate or just use the widget on this page, which will take you to the appropriate place at Fred's website.

The second is the Phones for Fred program. This is a really good idea. They are providing a way for any of us to be the phone bank for the early primary states. Basically you download the contact information, use the provided script and then enter the feedback on Fred's website.

Please take advantage of both of these opportunities! If you do the phone bank, PLEASE stop calls at 9pm, because this could get the campaign in trouble and, more importantly, turns people off.

Fred's Iowa Mailer

Here is part of the mailer that Fred is sending out in Iowa. Very nice--shows his core ideas. This starts with the assumption of a dissatisfied GOP electorate. I guess with the undecideds as high as they are probably corroborates this idea. While not directly addressing any of his competitors, he is saying "I am all of the above and none of the others are."

(Click for larger version)

Barnes Gushes Over Mitt--And Why He Is Wrong

Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard has written a Love Letter for Mitt and propping up his candidacy. Now I usually like Barnes, but sometimes he is too "inside the beltway" for me, and this election has proved to be one of those times.

Barnes starts with Mitt's education background (Harvard--and apparently he 'got it' better than Bush) and then his very successful business career.
His presidential style, as a result, would be far different from President Bush's--or any other president's. Romney would be coolly analytical and less political.
This is bunk. I do not know of any CEO who does not have to deal with the political aspect of problems. Any time you compromise, it is a matter of dealing with the political aspect of the problem rather than the analytical part of the problem. So what will this "analytical" approach look like?
Unlike everyone else running for president, though, Romney has a new method for solving problems and taking on difficult issues.
While Romney is conservative, his approach to governing is not ideological. "He's super-pragmatic," says an adviser. "He's an eclectic conservative." And this has alarmed several conservatives who have met with Romney. "He kept saying he's a problem solver," says an economic adviser who believes this would put Romney at a disadvantage in Washington. "He may not be ideological, but Nancy Pelosi certainly will be."

The Romney way is very simple. It consists of attacking a problem or considering an issue or policy through vigorous debate, with dissenting opinions encouraged and outside advice eagerly sought, and relying on as much hard data as possible. At the end of the process, the leader makes a decision that may or may not coincide with the "vision" or "concept" or "framework"--Romney's words--that initiated the discussion in the first place.

Here's how Romney describes the process:

You diagnose the problem. You put the right team together to solve the problem. You listen to alternative viewpoints. You insist on gathering data before you make decisions and analyze the data looking for trends. The result of this process is, you hope, that you make better decisions. You typically also have processes in place to see if it's working or not working, and you make adjustments from time to time.
So the "new" approach is to get the different sides together as well as experts; you diagnose the problem; you build a team to solve the problem; look at the alternatives; decide on the solution.

This is new because???? Isn't this the original Star Trek methodology?

I'm not saying it is not good, but it is certainly not innovative. It is also what all kinds of governmental groups have done for years and years. It is essentially the same approach as the dozens of "blue ribbon panels". The only difference between Mitt and SOME others (not sure which) is that he likes to hear the debate rather than just 'yes' men. This is good, but I don't think it is unusual or distinctive.

The part of this quote from Barnes that disturbs me greatly is the part where he talks about Mitt not being ideological, but rather "super-pragmatic". While some declare Reagan to be pragmatic, he was really primarily an ideological President who then governed pragmatically. Bush I and II as well as Clinton were all "pragmatic" Presidents.

Ideology determines the priorities of what is important. Pragmatism is how ideas are put into practice. A pragmatist chooses to deal with squeaky wheels or well-known problems. An ideologue chooses to address problems central to his ideology.

As a pragmatist, Romney choose to address health care with a government-heavy solution. Why? Because it was determined to be a problem and then he engaged his process and came up with this solution. A conservative ideologue says: let the market fix this problem or let's make the environment easier for the market to fix the problem, but ultimately keep the government out of the solution. A true conservative would not create a government mandated health care solution.

An ideological Congress will determine what problems Romney would address.

Would that be Social Security? Probably not. Would it be reducing the size of government? No way. Would it be strengthening the military? Absolutely not.

What we need to see is pragmatism driven by ideology. Fred is the only candidate that is running on an ideology.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Those who have done a lot of reading about Fred remember that one of the early influential events in Fred's career was when he successfully sued the Tennessee state government eventually getting the governor sent to jail for selling pardons. The lady at the center of this controversy was Marie Ragghianti.

Margaret Talev of McClatchy Newspapers has written about the relationship between Fred and Marie. It speaks to Fred's character as a lawyer that 30 years later, they are still friends even though she is a life-long Democrat who even worked in the Clinton administration.

Marie, of course, is supporting Fred for President.

Rudy vs Mitt

The New York Daily News has an article talking about Rudy and Mitt barbs toward each other. Basically they are casting each other as liberals:
Romney calls Giuliani a big spender who presided over a "sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants, and says the former mayor can't rally Republicans because he has favored legal abortion and gay rights.

Giuliani says Romney is a flip-flopper who only became pro-life and against gay marriage because it was politically expedient, and failed to get government's hand out of people's pockets in "Taxachusetts."
I don't know if I would go so far as to call the two "liberal" though they have some less than conservative positions. But these allocations are largely true, which should give Republicans pause to think about who they are supporting.

Interestingly, we have Mitt v Rudy and Huck v Fred. Seemingly two separate campaigns going on here. I want to see Fred get into the Mitt and Fred campaign.

The Push Poll in New Hampshire

Since last Thursday, there has been a flap going on about a push poll that has been going on in New Hampshire pushing people on Mitt's Mormon background. There are a lot of theories about this, but Mark Hemingway at National Review Online presents evidence (circumstantial, to be sure, but relatively convincing) that friends of Mitt are responsible for the polls. Basically he traces who did the calling and the relationships between that company and Mitt or the Mitt campaign.

Why? Basically to inoculate the campaign against these issues in the future:
However, there’s a growing chorus of voices speculating Romney push polled himself. “I smell a dirty trick. I suspect a pro-Romney motive to inoculate against future use of the religious issue and to breed sympathy for Romney … a 20-minute call is the work of an amateur. The long call is designed to get ALL the negatives out, to put them off limits for future attacks,” Roger Stone — a master of Republican dirty tricks — told The Politico’s Jonathan Martin. Stone pointed out that Robert F. Kennedy was behind anti-Catholic campaign tricks — calls and literature — to help get the first Catholic president elected. An anonymous website attacking Fred Thompson with ties to the Romney consultants in South Carolina earlier this cycle suggests such earnestness may not be below Romney campaigners.

Asked if it’s reasonable to think a campaign would do such a thing — push poll itself — one political consultant familiar with phone banking and dirty tricks who asked not to be identified told NRO, “I’ve done it,” he said. “But it’s usually the kind of thing that you do in a close state-senate race, not a stunt you pull under the scrutiny a presidential campaign is subjected to.”

New Interview on Pajamas Media

Fred did an interview with Pajamas Media when he was at the Citadel. The subject was the War on Terrorism. Pajamas Media is planning on interviewing many of the top candidates on this topic.

Fred was good. He really demonstrates his grasp on not just the broad brush strokes of foreign policy, but on the details as well. He distanced himself from the Bush administration primarily in the area of communicating "honestly" with the country about the true situation on the ground.

This area would be refreshing about a Fred administration--he understands the need for communication which has been lacking in the Bush administration and generally disingenuous in the Clinton administration.

Kudlow on Fred's Kudlow Appearance

Larry Kudlow has written a review of Fred's appearance on his show over at National Review Online. He basically summarized Fred's appearance, but at the end he gave his impression of Fred:
Some people say Thompson doesn’t have the fire in his belly to go the distance. I don’t think that’s true. And I’m not picking or endorsing any candidates here. But Thompson has an honest, clear, straightforward message of economic freedom and problem solving.
This is one of the recent performances that I have seen where Fred is coming across well (including Fred's appearance on This Week yesterday).

Too Much Huck

I am a bit frustrated that so much attention is being paid to Huck. The only reason that he is even in the discussion is his perceived strength on the abortion issue. I, of course, think Fred is equally strong on the issue. But I think others are just as good: McCain is probably as good on abortion and Romney is adequate, though not great.

Worse, Huck is horrible on just about any other issue! But here we are discussing Huck rather than other, more serious candidates. But those are the stories that are being published right now.

I will do my best through this week to focus on Fred, Mitt and Rudy.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Factcheck on Huck

Fred (actually Karen Hanretty of the campaign) released a Fact check on Huck's Fox News Sunday appearance. I had read a couple of things that he said today (like Fred did not have a 100% pro-life rating) that I knew were wrong, but there were a lot of others as well. Here are a couple that I find telling:
Huckabee Claim: "We didn't raise [taxes] on nursing home patients. That was a quality assurance fee."

Fact: Huckabee implemented a $5.25 per day bed-tax on private nursing home patients. (Associated Press, 8/13/01)

Huckabee Claim: "You first deal with the spending issue which I did in my state."

Fact: State spending more than doubled under Huckabee. "During Huckabee's 10 years as governor, state spending more than doubled, from $6.6 billion to $16.1 billion in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006." ( Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/4/07)

Huckabee Claim: Repeatedly dodged questions about his ethical problems while Governor

Fact: Huckabee was investigated by the ethics commission fourteen times and officially reprimanded five times. (Quin Hillyer, "A Tale Of Two Candidates," American Spectator, 10/24/07)

Huckabee Claim: "Fred's never had 100% record on right to life in his senate career. The records reflect that."

Fact: Fred Thompson can "play up his 100% pro-life voting record and his 0% Planned Parenthood score. Sometimes it's just plain hard to argue with the numbers." (David Brody, "Fred Thompson's Pro-Life Strategy," Christian Broadcasting Network, 6/15/07)

Fact: Wanda Franz, president of National Right to Life, said the group's endorsement is "a testament to Senator Thompson's long-standing pro-life record, his commitment to unborn children." (National Right to Life, Press Release, 11/13/07)

States Rights or Not?

Huck is working both sides of the street regarding abortion. He is happy to argue against a Federalist approach to the issue in order to attack Fred, but at least once upon a recent time he has argued the other way. Max Brantly in the Arkansas Blog points to an interview with Right Wing News where Huck argues for the Federalist approach:
John Hawkins: Switching gears again, do you think we should overturn Roe v. Wade?

Mike Huckabee: It would please me because I think Roe v. Wade is based on a real stretch of Constitutional application -- that somehow there is a greater privacy issue in the abortion concern -- than there is a human life issue -- and that the federal government should be making that decision as opposed to states making that decision.

So, I've never felt that it was a legitimate manner in which to address this and, first of all, it should be left to the states, the 10th Amendment, but secondly, to somehow believe that the taking of an innocent, unborn human life is about privacy and not about that unborn life is ludicrous.
The more I learn about Huck, the less I like him--even as a second choice.

Fred on This Week

Fred was on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. The main story is here and you should be able to get to the video of the interview on the right side.

In many ways, this was a better interview than the earlier interview on Meet the Press. Steph covered more relevant topics--particularly regarding understanding Fred's views of various issues. Step still messes things up saying that Fred had "a single term in the Senate" which is incorrect. Steph was feisty, basically taking opposite positions on Fred's issues, but giving Fred adequate space to respond. The topics included the War on Terror, Social Security, Social issues (e.g. abortion and end of life issues) and the mechanics of the campaign.

Fred was animated and gave a strong defense of his positions. Once again, this is the kind of performance people need to see from Fred.

UPDATE: As part of the interview, Steph said that during Terri Schiavo's autopsy she was found to be brain dead. This is strongly disputed by her brother, as reported in Christian News Wire. I had not remembered hearing this though it wouldn't have surprised me either way.

Huck and Tax Increases

Excuses are an interesting thing. I see this with both Mitt and Huck. Huck was on Fox News Sunday today. Mark Kilmer at Red State reported that Huck was asked about the You Tube video of him begging for a tax increase to which he responded that "It was a special session, the Democrats had blocked all budgets and the State was about to be forced to shut down. All he did, he said, was put everything on the table to do the emergency work of keeping Arkansas in operation at an emergency session." (I am quoting Kilmer, not Huck).

Here is my problem with this answer. What he is basically saying is that he was fighting a Democrat controlled legislature and if they did not get the budget dealt with, the government would shut down. SO, a tax increase was an acceptable expedient.

Chances are, the next President will be dealing with a Democrat controlled legislature. I do not want a President that will accept a tax increase to keep the government running. I want a President that will show some backbone and stand up for what he believes in and will keep the economy strong.

UPDATE: I am watching the Fred interview from ABC this morning and there was something that Fred said in context of abortion that made me think of this issue. Fred said that any bill funding or promotion of abortion would not become law "without his veto." Basically he was saying that he would not compromise on abortion. What Huck is saying in this interview is that he does not see tax increases in the same way as Fred sees abortion.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Comments After Fred's Interview on CNBC

After Fred finished his interview on CNBC, the panel had this discussion.
Michael Metz: I was very impressed. I came skeptical, I think he did a good job. I think it is a problem that has to be addressed and I think he's showing courage in proposing this.
Don Luskin: Well, you know, call it courage, call it conviction, call it suicidal tendencies. I don't know. But you've got to admire the guy for grasping the third rail firmly with both hands and saying what needs to b e said. Yeah, we are looking at a bankrupt system and we have to do something about it. Raising taxes, that's talking about a tired cliché. That's not going to help, that's just going to make it more bankrupt. That's just going to throw more money down the hole. ...
Kudlow: ... Take Thompson, what you heard is he bullish or bearish for stocks?

Metz: I'd say bullish.

Kudlow: Don Luskin, bullish or bearish for stocks for Mr. Thompson?

Luskin: Oh bullish, bullish, bullish. I only wish a guy like that could be president.
Kudlow: ... We saw Michael Metz and Don Luskin, our two ace investments all star commentators. One is a Democrat, the other's Republican. One is a supply sider and the other is not. They both agree that Fred Thompson had a lot of courage and they both felt that he would be a big plus for the stock market if he were elected next year. I find that fascinating, kudos to Mr. Thompson.
Great performance on CNBC and a very positive response from financial folk.

Fred Right on the Internet

Fred has a blog entry at his site regarding the proposal to turn over management of the Internet to the UN. Fred is right when it comes to the fact that it is a bad idea to turn the internet management over to the UN. But what impressed me more is his understanding of the technical details or history of the Internet:
Despite what Al Gore may think, the Internet was an invention of the U.S. government and a number of universities and other entities a couple decades ago. As the Internet became what it is today, the government created a nonprofit organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to manage what was then a growing network of networks. Today ICANN does things like manage the assignment of Web sites domain names – the .coms, .orgs, .edus – for example.
This isn't a reason to vote for a guy. But it does indicate that he either understands what is going on or he talks to people that do. Important stuff.


A couple of Massachusetts authors have written an article published over at Townhall describing Mitt's record as governor of Massachusetts. It is quite a hit piece. It takes Mitt to task for:

His abortion stands
His gay agenda
His gun control record
His health care plan
His management of the "Big Dig"
The effect of his health care plan on taxes
His record of judicial nominations
Being a "pragmatist"

I don't think that all of these areas are completely his fault. But his unwillingness to fight them makes me question his conservative credentials.

Fred on CNBC

Fred was on CNBC yesterday (Kudlow & Company). It was a very good interview where he answer questions on Warren Buffet, Clinton and Rudy. He talks about taxes and several financial issues. Another strong performance. You can see the interview at Blogs for Fred Thompson.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Has Romney Shot Himself In the Foot?

The December 4th GOP debate in Iowa has been canceled. Why? According to the Iowa political director in a memo to the county chairs and state central committee members:
From: Craig Robinson
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2007 2:29 PM
To: 'Craig Robinson'
Subject: FOX News — RPI Debate Cancelled

Dear Friends, Because of Mitt Romney’s unwillingness to participate, the upcoming Republican Party of Iowa/FOX News Channel Presidential Debate on December 4th has been cancelled.

We are very disappointed that Iowa Republicans will not have the same opportunity as Republicans in New Hampshire, Florida and South Carolina had earlier this year with their FOX News Debates.
Again, we are disappointed that this debate has been cancelled. We know that hundreds of you have requested tickets and made plans to attend. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience
They backed off a bit later saying,
"Fox decided that without Romney, there was no debate," said Iowa GOP spokeswoman Mary Tiffany.

The network cancelled the debate today, Tiffany said, after Romney contacted the Iowa GOP Chairman yesterday and told him he would not attend.
Is this as bad as Fred skipping the New Hampshire debate when he announced his candidacy? Time will tell, but this has obviously aggravated the locals who are a picky people.

Review of Fred's Social Security Proposal

Ramesh Ponnuru over at The Corner on National Review (who is no Fred apologist) has posted a defense of Fred's Social Security plan. The basic complaint that Fred's proposal to change how the benefits are indexed is "a departure from the promises that were made to workers when the Social Security system was created." Ramesh counters:
Wage indexing, the status quo policy, started only in 1977. So getting rid of it would not break any promise made when the system was created. And usually it's the Left that insists that Social Security isn't a retirement program but a "social insurance" program, which is to say a safety-net program. If Social Security is a retirement program, then adding a personal-account feature to it, as Thompson would, makes sense. If it's a safety-net program, then Thompson's price indexing makes sense. If it's a little of both, then taking both halves of Thompson's plan makes sense. So I'd say Fred Thompson ends up looking pretty good here.

Did Huck Increase or Decrease Taxes?

Marc Ambinder has written about Huck's appearance on Fox News defending the clip where he begs the Arkansas legislature for a tax hike--any tax hike. Marc's analysis is that Huck had a swing and a miss.

In the comments, however, some were defending Huck--particularly saying that he "cut taxes 94 times". So which is it, did he raise or lower taxes?

The Arkansas Times writes about Huck's low tax qualifications:
A bigger lie, this one a serial prevarication, was this: “I was the first governor in the history of my state to ever lower taxes, the first one in 160 years. We lowered a total of 94 different taxes and fees.”

That kind of claim is easily proven false. To name a few tax cuts before him: Clinton in 1991 eliminated income taxes on tens of thousands of low-income families; Dale Bumpers did the same in 1973. Clinton cut capital-gains taxes. Gov. Ben T. Laney eliminated all state ad-valorem taxes, reduced inheritance taxes and gave a homestead exemption for local property taxes.

By claiming to have cut taxes 94 times, Huckabee fixed a standard for what is a tax cut: every little exemption, credit, deduction or tax break of any kind. By that standard every governor the past 60 years cut taxes numerous times. No session of the legislature passes without a dozen or more such cuts.

But tax increases have far outweighed tax cuts in magnitude, and they did under Huckabee, too.

The major tax cut that he claimed, the omnibus income tax cuts for working families in 1997, was the program of Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, who resigned before the legislative session where it was enacted. The legislature rejected Huckabee’s plan but he signed the bill patterned on Tucker plan and thus can claim some credit for it.

Challenged on tax increases, Huckabee told Russert that the Arkansas Supreme Court forced some and that the voters had voted to raise highway taxes. Actually no, voters approved a bond issue in 1999. Half the road taxes, those on diesel, were to be levied even if the bond issue failed.
And regarding the tax burden in Arkansas, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette wrote:
Meanwhile, the average Arkansan’s tax burden grew from $ 1, 969 in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 1997, to $ 2, 902 in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2005, including local taxes.
I stand by my position that Huck's position on anything except abortion and gay marriage is less than inspiring.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why Not Mitt - Part 2

Once again, in answer to the question of why Romney did not get the NRLC endorsement. It is one thing to have Romney Care include abortions, but this picture seems to be quite significant in pegging down his position on abortion--at least 5 years ago.

H/T Elephant Biz

Fred on NASCAR

Here is a clip of Fred in SC talking about NASCAR. If Fred used this energy level far more often, then this race would be over now.

Fred Campaign on Mitt's Whining

Mitt has accused the Fred campaign of "bribing" NRLC to get their endorsement. Today the campaign has issued a statement to refute that. I like the blunt language and look forward to that language making it into future debates and ads. The following is stated by Communications Director Todd Harris:
"Gov. Romney is new to the pro-life movement and his campaign clearly has a few things to learn about it. First, they should understand that despite their campaign's every effort, groups like the National Right to Life Committee's PAC (NRLC-PAC) cannot be bought. NRLC-PAC is supporting Fred Thompson because of Fred's 100% pro-life voting record. They know he stood with them yesterday, he stands with them today, and he will stand with them tomorrow. It is unseemly for the Romney campaign and its supporters to suggest that NRLC-PAC's coveted endorsement is based on a bribe. Second, this unfounded accusation is as outrageous as it is ironic, given the Romney campaign's long history of spreading money around to anyone who will take it.

"If the Romney campaign is looking for the reason they did not receive the NRLC-PAC endorsement, they can start with the fact that Gov. Romney was pro-choice just two years ago. They should also consider the fact that Gov. Romney's own health care plan in Massachusetts offers taxpayer funded abortions for a mere $50 co-pay and requires by law that a representative from Planned Parenthood sit on the MassHealth advisory board. Tellingly, Gov. Romney made no such requirement for a representative from the pro-life movement."

Council of Conservative Citizens on Huck

Via a comment at Red State I found this link to the Council of Conservative Citizens which points out Huck's weaknesses regarding education, taxes and immigration.

Of particular interest to me is Huck's record on immigration:
Fact #1. As Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee denounced an immigration bill (Arkansas Senate Bill 206) that “would have required proof of citizenship to register to vote and would have required state agencies to report suspected cases of people living in the country illegally.”
(Doug Thompson, “Immigration Bill un-Christian..governor says”Arkansas News Bureau 1/28/05)

Fact #2. As Governor, Mike Huckabee offered a proposal to give state funded scholarships and state benefits to illegal aliens. (Laura Kellams, “Huckabee Plan would give aid to illegal aliens” Arkansas Democrat Gazette 1/12/2005)

Fact #3. Governor Huckabee supported the McCain-Kennedy Senate Amnesty bill for illegal aliens. Huckabee claims to know God’s position on the Amnesty Bill, and that God supports it. Huckabee has repeated called opponents of illegal immigration “racists” and/or “bigots.”

Fact #4. Governor Huckabee refuses to sign the “No Amnesty Pledge”.

How About the Undercard?

When Fred first started making noise about running for President several months ago, I immediately was drawn to him for several reasons. One of those reasons had to do with the other races in the 2008 election--Congress.

I think back to 1994 and note that the success of the "Republican Revolution" was that there was a strong message that many candidates could stand on so that when the voters cast their votes, they knew what they were voting for. This was personified in Newt Gingrich.

Can you visualize your congressional candidate running as a "Mitt Republican", or a "Huckabee Republican" or whichever candidate you wish to put in there? With the exception of Ron Paul (and a "Paul Republican" is another name for a "Libertarian"), I cannot visualize any candidate except Fred holding the umbrella for congressional candidates to stand under.

A "Thompson Republican" is a Republican strongly supporting Federalism (or Frederalism). This is the control spending; strong defense; return governmental functions to the states; get the government out of our lives movement. That is a platform that Republicans can run on and win.

Fred can have coattails. I don't see any of the other Republican candidates having coattails.

Fred's Amnesty Ad

Fred has a new Ad on the subject of illegal immigration and amnesty. Nice commercial, though I think he needs to point out how this position is different from Huck, Rudy and Mitt.

Click to play

Chris Matthews on Fred's RTLC Endorsement

What a jerk (Matthews, that is).

Romney, Immigration and Fred

The AP is reporting that Romney is bashing Rudy and Huck on Immigration for tacitly or overtly supporting sanctuary cities (which is interesting since there were sanctuary cities in Massachusetts when he was governor). He only criticized Thompson indirectly and basically was saying that he did not have executive experience rather than critique him on immigration.

Here is what I find interesting: Mitt cannot critique Fred on being wrong on immigration. Huck tries (but does so incredibly) to critique Fred on bring wrong on the core "social conservative" issues of abortion and gay marriage. But then Fred gets the NRLC endorsement, because they know where he really stands on these issues. Meanwhile no one is surprised that Rudy did not get this endorsement. It is even easy to understand why Mitt and John didn't get the endorsement. No one criticizes him on his size of government issues or fiscal positions--though they do Huck, Rudy and to a degree Mitt.

The long and short is that while each of the top candidates are conservative in one area or another, Fred is the only candidate that is conservative in ALL of the areas.

Energy Issues

The Wall Street Journal has an article today on the issue of energy in the Presidential campaign. The subtitle of the article is, "Candidates' Solutions Are Few as Costs Soar".
While most of the candidates have developed "energy independence" strategies that take shape over the next two decades, few offer fixes for what could be a painful short-term crisis as gasoline and home heating oil rise above $3 a gallon.
Some Democrats are asking that Bush release oil from the strategic reserve to try to mitigate prices. The short-term answer is actually very simple: drill offshore and in ANWR. The Journal get Fred wrong, though.
Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee offers only a vague idea for a fix. "America must rise to the challenge and take the steps necessary to become more energy independent before this becomes a crisis," Mr. Thompson says on his Web site.
This is true, but Fred lays out four specifics:
  • A balanced approach to energy security that increases domestic supplies, reduces demand for oil and gas, and promotes alternative fuels and other diverse energy sources
  • Investing in renewable and alternative fuels to promote greater energy independence and a cleaner environment.
  • An energy policy that invests in the advanced technologies of tomorrow and places more emphasis on conservation and energy efficiency.
  • Conducting research and development into technologies that improve the environment, especially the reduction of CO2 emissions.
You may also remember the "gaff" in Florida where Fred said that he would not rule out drilling in the Everglades. The right answer is to pursue things that will adjust the demand side of the equation in the long-term and find things to fix the supply in the short-term. And that means drill wherever you can find the supply.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why Not Mitt?

Some have asked the question about the National Right to Life Committee and why they did not endorse Mitt. Erick over at RedState has linked to Mitt Care's menu of services (pdf) where Abortions are covered for either $50 or $100 (see page 2, 5th item down on left). According to Erick:
As several folks noted, Romney vetoed various parts of the Healthcare plan including parts dealing with the dental plan for people on medicaid, but he did not veto the $50.00 abortions for the general populace.
That doesn't sound like something the NRLC folk would care for.

Fred on Defense and Military

Fred was at the Citadel today and announced his "Four Pillars of a Revitalized National Defense". These four pillars are:

  1. Defense spending of 4.5% of GDP plus continuing operations (Iraq and Afghanistan)
  2. Increase size of military: 775,000 in 64 army brigades, 225,000 marines
  3. Modernize the armed forces (read, technology investment)
  4. Take better care of soldiers (specifically the VA system)

This is a very bold defense plan for our current environment. No one can accuse Fred of pandering for a Dove-ish crowd.

It's Official (NRTL)

The National Right to Life Committee has officially (pdf) endorsed Fred. Part of their rationale was electibility.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Huck Likes ANY Taxes

Here is a video from the Arkansas Journal that is just incredible. It shows Huckabee in front of his legislature basically saying "Any tax is fine by me!"

The Social Conservatives need to be very careful about using Gay Marriage and Abortion policy as their only measure of a candidate.

By the way, one of the defenses of stuff like this is: "he was working with a Democratically controlled legislature" (said of Huckabee and Romney and to a much lesser extend Giuliani). Here is the problem: it is entirely likely that the next President will be working with at least the Senate or House as a Democratically controlled body. We should be looking for someone who will be able to work with the Democrats without just giving into their positions on finances.

Nat'l Right to Life for Fred!

I'm not that big into endorsements, but there have been a lot recently that have fallen to Rudy, Mitt and Huck that I would have liked to see go for Fred. Of course, I would like for every American go for Fred. But Jonathan Martin at the Politico is reporting that the National Right to Life Committee will endorse Fred tomorrow. That is a refreshing bit of news.

This reflects what we all have seen in the news over the last several months--there is no clear-cut "winner" of the Social Conservative part of the Republican party--they really are split between the candidates that are out there.

Bill Lacy on the FDT Campaign

Bill Lacy (Fred's campaign manager) was interviewed by Jennifer Rubin at Human Events about different aspects of the campaign. There are a couple of items that I wanted to bring up:

First is what the campaign thinks about where it is in the election:
Lacy contends that Thompson is “exactly where he wants to be” He says that Thompson still registers in second place in some national polls. However, Lacy places great emphasis on Thompson’s ability to use paid TV ads to his advantage. He notes that Thompson has just gone on the air in Iowa and next week will be up in South Carolina. Lacy argues that “a dollar worth of Fred on the air is worth 2 or 3 dollars of any of the others.”
What I find interesting is that they don't really think that they have really started the actual push. By the way, this is why the National Day of Fred Giving is important! We need to help the campaign get maximum airtime throughout December and January in preparation for these early primaries.

Second, is the nomination strategy:
Lacy explained that GOP strongholds in the South, non-industrial Midwest( e.g. Iowa) and interior West (e.g. Idaho, Colorado) are reflected in the GOP delegate apportionment and represent as many as 328 delegates, or a quarter of the total. Lacy says that is “where we do best.” He acknowledges that South Carolina is “really critical” and Thompson’s task before that is to do well enough in places like Iowa, Wyoming, and New Hampshire so that voters still believe “Fred is competitive’ by the time South Carolina rolls around. (He acknowledges that Thompson has “pretty much struggled in New Hampshire but thinks Thompson has “strength” in Iowa.) He terms this “building a strategic bridge to South Carolina.” If Thompson “survives the winnowing” process before South Carolina, Lacy likes his chances there and in Florida leading to Super Tuesday where a batch of Red states can be claimed.
Not only is Fred's strategy the South, but it includes a full primary season approach of getting the "non-industrial Midwest and interior West".

One last item from the interview that though was interesting was that Lacy said that they now have over 150,000 donors. Though the third quarter, Fred raised $11.5 million based on 70,000 donors ($164 per donor). Given the same rate, Fred should have a total raised of $24.5 million, $13 million so far in 5 weeks of the fourth quarter!

If we can do a good job of raising funds for Fred at the end of the month, I think we can help him get serious advertising time in the critical days before the early primaries.