Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Super-president

Jerry Stratton, December 30, 2007

Super President

The Type-A President

Fred Thompson summarized why I prefer his campaign style in response to a question in Iowa. One of the questioners said “My only problem with you and why I haven’t thrown all my support behind you is that I don’t know if you have the desire to be President. If I caucus for you next week, are you still going to be there two months from now?”

Thompson responded that “I want the people to have the best president that they can have.”

If people really want in their president a super type-a personality, someone who has gotten up every morning and gone to bed every night and been thinking about for years how they could achieve the Presidency of the United States, someone who can look you straight in the eye and say they enjoy every minute of campaigning, I ain’t that guy. So I hope I’ve discussed that and hope I haven’t talked you out of anything. I honestly want—I can’t imagine a worse set of circumstances than achieving the presidency under false pretenses.

I go out of my way to be myself because I don’t want anybody to think they are getting something they are not getting. I’m not consumed by this process. I’m not consumed with the notion of being President. I’m simply saying I’m willing to do what’s necessary to achieve it if I’m in sync with the people and if the people want me or somebody like me. I’ll do what I’ve always done in the rest of my life and I will take it on and do a good job and you’ll have the disadvantage of having someone who probably can’t jump up and click their heels three times but will tell you the truth and you’ll know where the President stands at all times.

In a posting on Red State, commenter daveinboca echoes my own preference for a Thompson-Obama match:

Fred is low-key in an age of hyperventilating hysterics and johnny-one-note eccentrics. He’s not consumed by Potomac fever, not driven by overwhelming ambition, not determined to “rescue” the country from evil-doers of one stripe or another.

Fred is comfortable in his own skin, as the French say, and he drives hyperactive meddlesome busybody MSM types to new heights of nuttiness by disdaining the process of getting nominated—a process which obviously needs reform of one kind or another.

I’d like to see a final two of Fred Thompson and Barack Obama—both seem less driven by power-mad constituencies of hysterics and are not prisoners of the press/electronic lords of Mordor.

Sadly, Gresham’s Law may be driving out the best candidates—leaving the field to chronic campaigners who simply love the adulation of the masses filling the cavities of their own personal emptiness.

Concern about the creation of a political class is nothing new, but we may be entering a phase of specialization, where if you want to be president, wanting to be president will be your job, and your campaign starts the day after the polls solidify for the previous election.

In response to Fred Thompson vs. Barack Obama: What would a good election campaign be like? Is it possible to have an election season focussed on issues and principles? I think it is, and I think it will depend on which candidates we support during the primaries.

January 2, 2008: What voters want

A round-up of commentary on our desire for a totally insane type-A president.

Paul Marks started it off at Samizdata.net:

Fred Thompson is in the middle of a 40 town Iowa tour—so he is hardly lazy. And he does go on television shows—thus dealing with critics, such as myself, who attacked him for not going on enough shows. But what sort of person would enjoy all this? A lunatic. Someone who was interested in office for its own sake—not as a means to reduce the size and scope of government.

What the media are saying is that Fred Thompson is too sane to be President. It is not enough to produce detailed policies for dealing with the entitlement program Welfare State, or producing a new optional flat tax to deal with the nightmare of complexity that the income tax has become. It is not even enough to have a long record of service.

No—someone has to enjoy the prospect for office for its own sake, not to reduce the size and scope of government and restore a Federal Republic. One must enjoy the whole process of politics—i.e. be crazy. Or one must pretend to enjoy it—i.e. be a liar. And then people complain that politicians are either crazy or corrupt.

Glenn Reynolds continued at Instapundit.com:

I think he’s right. Thompson is running the kind of campaign—substantive, policy-laden, not based on gimmicks or sound-bites—that pundits and journalists say they want, but he’s getting no credit for it from the people who claim that’s what they want. It’s like in Tootsie when Dustin Hoffman tries doing the things he’s heard women say they want from men, only to discover that they don’t really want those things at all.

Jonathan Adler at the corner:

In short, some say Thompson doesn’t want to be President badly enough. At a time when Presidential wannabes plot their moves years (if not decades) in advance, that should be a feature, not a bug.

Jimmie talks about rewarding good campaign behavior at the Sundries Shack: