Mimsy Were the Borogoves

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

Fred Thompson vs. Barack Obama

Jerry Stratton, December 28, 2007

As an independent, the choices from the two major parties are all somewhat disappointing this year, but that’s no different from any Presidential election in recent memory.

On the Republican side of the aisle, I’m inclined to support Fred Thompson, despite his reactionary stand on abortion and gay rights. He squarely hits one of my two hard-line issues (effective self-defense) and he’s leading a straightforward campaign the way I’d like campaigns to run. Candidates other than Thompson switched to election mode far too early this season, and if he doesn’t place despite the original hype around him, you can bet money that the election season will continue expanding.

I’m especially impressed with his stand on tax reform: don’t just simplify taxes, abolish the IRS and simplify our arcane tax rules. Tax law stands with prohibition law and traffic law as laws everybody breaks; in the case of tax law, you don’t know which laws you’re breaking, but it is very likely that you’re breaking them. Just as with any law everybody breaks, tax laws are used to stifle free speech and other civil rights.

On the Democratic side of the aisle, there’s no one among the major candidates I’d be willing to vote for, but I’d love to see an election headed by Thompson and Barack Obama. It would, I think, be an election of issues.

So I gave Thompson money this week, and I’ll be giving Obama my vote in the California primaries.

And that, by the way, is a note to Republicans: I’m not a Republican. I voted George Bush twice, solely because he was a strong supporter of effective self-defense. I may disagree with everything else your candidate says, but if they are consistently a strong supporter of effective self-defense, I’ll vote for them. (Unless, that is, the Democrats actually run someone supporting an end to prohibition.)

If you don’t run somebody I can vote for, I’ll vote for someone else. That’s it. You can scream “but Hillary!” all you want; I don’t care. I don’t vote against people, I vote for issues. Stand with me on the issues, and I’ll vote for you. Don’t, and I’ll vote for someone else.

I will vote third party before I vote against someone out of fear. Voting out of fear makes fears come true.

"If I knew the way, I would take you home."

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:

December 30, 2007: Super-president
Super President: Super President on 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.

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