Fred! speaks to the CNP

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Fred Thompson, former Tennessee senator and potential Republican candidate for president, was invited to speak over the weekend to the Council on National Policy, a group made up of conservative leaders in various spheres of influence. Here's the text of his speech.

An anonymous tipster told Hotline that Thompson's speech was underwhelming, but the Washington Times reported that Christian conservative leaders are lining up to support Thomspon. (Although the Times story doesn't mention the CNP meeting, the story came out Monday and the anonymous comments almost certainly came from CNP members.)

Thompson didn't try to cover every possible issue and said at the outset he would not be delivering a rousing oration. Instead, he took two examples of his recent government-related activity and used them to set out his basic philosophy of government and the principles that guide him.

The two examples Thompson used were assisting Chief Justice John Roberts through the confirmation process and helping Scooter Libby through his recent trial over the Valerie Plame case. In the course of talking about Roberts he makes clear his support for judicial restraint, his opposition to Roe v. Wade, and his opposition to judicial overreaching on church-state issues.

In the part of the speech about Libby, Thompson rehearsed the facts of the case. He believes the Justice Department caved to political pressure and that Libby deserves a presidential pardon. He marvels that Libby is facing time in jail, while pants-stuffer Sandy Berger has suffered no penalties for stealing what were likely classified documents from the National Archive.

Here's how Thompson tied these two stories together:

The Roberts nomination shows us that we can win against those who would use the Constitution for their own ends, even though it is always a fight.

Libby’s prosecution demonstrates how injustices can occur when public officials lack the courage to go against the public clamor and to do the right thing, thereby perverting the rule of law.

Thompson does a very clever thing here in a very subtle way. Without mentioning President George W. Bush by name, and without criticizing him by name or title, Thompson set out what Bush did well and what Bush did wrong and how a Thompson presidency would differ from the Bush administration.

Bush's biggest policy failures stemmed from a desire to preempt criticism from the left-leaning mainstream media -- No Child Left Behind, signing McCain-Feingold, the Medicare prescription drug benefit; going into Iraq with not enough troops, too quickly turning Iraq and Afghanistan over to new civilian governments, adopting too-strict rules of engagement.

By contrast, Thompson has demonstrated that he will stand by someone who was done an injustice, even when voices from his own party are clamoring that Libby is a pariah. Thompson's willingness to stand for justice when it could do him political harm but no political good whatsoever -- that's a character quality I want in a president.

UPDATE: A brilliant 30 second video response by Thompson to Michael Moore's challenge to debate him about healthcare.

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3 Comments

W. Author Profile Page said:

Convicting Libby was not an injustice. A jury found him guilty of lying during an investigation. It was Libby that tried to subvert the rule of law. The rule of law is working -- Libby broke the law, and he will be punished.

It sounds like Fred is guilty of situational ethics.

And to try to pin Bush's myriad failures on "he listened to the left too much" is laughable. When a president has both Houses of Congress for six years and the full support of the American people after 9/11, the failures are his and nobody else's.

Taylor Burke said:

I'm not sure I understand how either comment (Libby and Roberts) exhibits a governmental philosophy. Neither example had much to do with pushing an agenda, enacting a law, or spending a dime. Libby is an example of damage control, something that recent Presidential administrations have dealt with too much. Roberts is a court appointment -- perhaps an example of personal ideology and a view of how a seperate branch of government, the judiciary, ought to act -- but not an example of what Thompson would do with his own agenda in office. We need someone who wields the power of government responsibly, not someone who just stays the course.

You might like the comments, but I see neither as being a clear reason to vote for Thompson.

slaw said:

I am puzzled at the hype about Thompson. He graduated from Memphis State in 1964 and has NEVER SERVED A DAY IN THE MILITARY. How did this happen?? Especially during this timeframe. Who was his "buddy" to make this happen? We need a President that has served. Our country is in a world of hurt.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 14, 2007 10:43 PM.

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