2008 presidential roundup: Where are the wonks? Why not Fred?

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Some stories on the 2008 Presidential sweepstakes:

Jim Geraghty wants to know: Where are the policy wonks? We see candidacy trial balloons going up all over the country, but who is floating an issue trial balloon?

So far, there’s been nothing strikingly compelling or repelling about these candidates’ vision of where they want to take the country, and so we argue about their past stands, decisions, and positions, instead of what they want to do with the office they seek.

How many candidates on either side are running for president because they want to do something? How many candidates on either side are running for president because they want to be somebody?

My guess is that the policy wonks are waiting until the field thins out a bit. If a wonk picks the right candidate to help, he can look forward to, at the very least, White House invites, maybe even a cabinet post or a role as a White House advisor. Pick the wrong guy, and you've lost your chance at being in the next president's inner circle.

Now a wonk might team up with someone for reasons other than personal vision. If a candidate offers a compelling agenda that aligns with a wonk's ideals, the wonk might sign up to help whether the candidate as a chance or not, just to have the opportunity to get some attention focused on his key issues.

But the candidates don't seem to have the boldness to talk about new ideas at the moment. Everyone seems afraid of putting a foot wrong. So expect the policy wonks to stay on the sidelines for a while longer.

Meanwhile, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson is being talked up by more and more conservative activists, who until now felt their choice was between conservative candidates who can't win and RINOs who might be able to win. Thompson is filling in this week for Paul Harvey and has been wowing listeners with his plain-spoken commentary. He has the ability to say something principled and pointed without being apologetic, but also without being shrill or obnoxious.

For example, read Thompson's commentary on Gandhi, Iraq, and pacifism. Pointing to the anti-war protesters who have made Gandhi an icon of their movement, he reminds listeners of the extremes to which Gandhi took his pacifism. Gandhi said that Jews under Nazi rule should have willingly abandoned themselves to the slaughter rather than resist. "Collective suicide would have been heroism," Gandhi said.

Thompson's concluding thoughts:

The so-called peace movement certainly has the right to make Gandhi’s way their way, but their efforts to make collective suicide American foreign policy just won’t cut it in this country. When Americans think of heroism, we think of the young American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, risking their lives to prevent another Adolf Hitler or Saddam Hussein.

Gandhi probably wouldn't approve, but I can live with that.

Thompson conveys substance (and he actually has substance), he has a way with words, and American voters are not going to cringe when they hear him speak.

He is a conservative of conviction, not of convenience. He is a social conservative, a fiscal conservative, and is pro-victory in the Global War on Terror.

This is the first candidate that I've felt any enthusiasm about supporting -- Fred Thompson is, as Doug Patton writes, a conservative who can win. Can anyone give me a good reason why I shouldn't jump on the Fred Thompson bandwagon?

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Tyson Wynn said:

I am glad I am not the only one who is feeling this way. More and more, I like the idea. I asked today if he is my Mr. X.

Paul Tay said:

Yes. One reason why you shouldn't jump the Thompson wagon: Oba-Mania!

Janice said:

Every conservative I know is talking about him. He's consice, confident, thoughtful and appears to have convictions - not just political comments. I hope he is what he appears to be; I would put my money and time behind him if he is.

W. Author Profile Page said:

Maybe Fred Thompson ought to actually *run* before people get excited.

Even if he does, he's got a lot of big hills to climb. He lacks name recognition -- especially when another Thompson (Tommy) is in the race. And I doubt he can make a serious challenge against Giuliani or McCain.


I am throwing my hat in for Thompson too. If I knew where to write him and urge him to please run, I would.

Kevin Calvey said:

Greetings from Baghdad! I don't yet know whom I will support in the GOP primary yet.

But I will give credit to one candidate for taking on an unpopular issue in a statesmanlike manner: John McCain's comments about the need for the surge here in Iraq, and the absolute importance of us winning here and the helping a relatively stable Iraq get on its feet.

I don't hear the other candidates addressing this issue in any depth yet.

Whatever other faults he has, McCain is all over this one.

-Kevin Calvey

Rob O. said:

I'm with you - Fred Dalton Thompson comes across as a very credible fellow. His words have more heft than polish. Well worth considering!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 16, 2007 12:44 AM.

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