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September 7, 2007

Fred Thompson on Federalism

by Stephen Littau

More here on Thompson’s essay on federalism

I don’t know a whole lot about Fred Thompson’s record at this point, but I do like most of what he has to say about federalism. He’s at least speaking my language:

Before anything else, folks in Washington ought to be asking first and foremost, “Should government be doing this? And if so, then at what level of government?”

Among the candidates who actually have a chance of winning the nomination, who else is even asking this question? Giuliani? McCain? Romney? Huckabee? I think not. As I have said before, the perfect candidate is not in this race. Fred Thompson is by no means a libertarian either (but neither was Ronald Reagan). Brad has raised some legitimate questions about Thompson which also need to be fleshed out.

I’m by no means endorsing Fred Thompson at this point but as far as I can tell at this moment, he may be the least worst choice. We should at least hear him out and take a look at his record before writing him off.

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14 Comments

  1. He’s planning on continuing Bush’s policies on interventionist wars, including the war in Iraq ( http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_5828034 ) therefore he is not the least worst candidate and I will not be voting for him. Eight years of Bush’s foreign policy idiocy will have been quite enough, thanks.

    Comment by UCrawford — September 7, 2007 @ 2:40 pm
  2. And Reagan at least studied Hayek and Von Mises and understood the actual value of the free market in his political decisions, as well as the need to keep America out of unnecessary conflicts that don’t serve our national security. So while Reagan wasn’t a libertarian, he was far from the shallow hack that is Fred Thompson. Thompson’s a big government conservative, same as Bush, and a consummate Beltway insider. Any comments about freedom from him are merely lip service designed to pander.

    Not to sound like one of the lunatic fringe, but they’ve got a point. Ron Paul is literally the only candidate in the race whose view are compatible with a pro-liberty agenda. None of others are remotely acceptable…there’s no significant difference between voting for Hillary and voting for Thompson, Guiliani, Romney or McCain. At least under Hillary the rot will become apparent sooner.

    Comment by UCrawford — September 7, 2007 @ 2:53 pm
  3. Ron Paul is literally the only candidate in the race whose view are compatible with a pro-liberty agenda. None of others are remotely acceptable…there’s no significant difference between voting for Hillary and voting for Thompson, Guiliani, Romney or McCain. At least under Hillary the rot will become apparent sooner.

    That became fully apparent after Wednesday debate and the derisive manner in which the treated someone who was expressing ideas that, up until a few years ago, were pretty close to the Republican mainstream.

    Does nobody except me remember George Bush essentially arguing for non-interventionism when he was running for President. At the time, the Democrats were the one who wanted to go crusading into places like Bosnia, Kosovo, and Somalia.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — September 7, 2007 @ 3:20 pm
  4. Doug,

    That’s the reason I voted for Bush in 2000. I’d had enough of pointless, poorly thought out interventionism under Clinton. So had a large chunk of the military. You won’t find nearly as many pro-Bush or pro-Republican folks in the military now.

    I also remember Colin Powell’s autobiography, where he blasted Madeleine Albright’s mentality of seeing soldiers as disposable pawns to be moved around at the leaders’ convenience. I suspect it didn’t sit well with him working for a president who shared that philosophy.

    Comment by UCrawford — September 7, 2007 @ 3:24 pm
  5. I wonder what Powell thinks of Bush now that he claims the biggest problem with Vietnam was the fact that we left. That was the most ignorant, offensive lie Bush trotted out (and the bar for that is pretty high). Way to absolve a shit president (LBJ) from taking us into a pointless war that killed 50,000+ Americans and didn’t change the outcome of the Cold War one iota.

    Of course, it’s hardly surprising that he thinks the Vietnam War was great…he spent the 60′s ducking it thanks to an assist from his old man, so he didn’t have to bear any of the actual cost of it. Just like with this war.

    Comment by UCrawford — September 7, 2007 @ 3:41 pm
  6. Does nobody except me remember George Bush essentially arguing for non-interventionism when he was running for President. At the time, the Democrats were the one who wanted to go crusading into places like Bosnia, Kosovo, and Somalia.

    Yeah, I remember Doug and I was on board with that position. That was BEFORE Islamic radicals hijacked 4 planes and killed nearly 3,000 American civilians. I seriously doubt we would have gone into Iraq if not for 9/11 because as you pointed out, Bush was opposed to nation building prior to 9/11.

    I would also point out that there was no national security reason for intervention in Bosnia, Kosovo, or Somalia. These were humanitarian efforts (supposedly). With Iraq and Afghanistan there is arguably a national security interest (though I know you disagree but it can at least be argued).

    Comment by Stephen Littau — September 7, 2007 @ 4:33 pm
  7. Stephen,

    There was no national security interest with Iraq. It had nothing to do with 9/11, al-Qaeda had no operational presence in Iraq, Iraq did not attack us, they were militarily contained, and they were never a threat to attack us. It was an invasion undertaken with the idea of setting up a democratic government as envisioned by George W. Bush, purely a vanity project of hostile conquest, and Bush intentionally exaggerated the threat and blatantly lied about it being connected to 9/11 or al-Qaeda to play off peoples’ fears and ignorance. There was nothing noble or honorable about it, and because of it several thousand U.S. citizens and untold numbers of Iraqis have died for absolutely no good reason. Ron Paul nailed it…it was never a defensive war, the only thing our leaders are trying to do in Iraq now is save face and they don’t care how many more soldiers have to die to accomplish it.

    Fuck Bush and every one of his goddamned neo-con flunkies. If there was any real justice in the world they’d be rounded up and dumped in the middle of Fallujah so they can answer to some of the people they’ve inflicted so much death and suffering on.

    Comment by UCrawford — September 7, 2007 @ 5:07 pm
  8. UC, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. We’ve debated this before and I doubt either of us will change our minds on this issue…

    But do you mean to tell me that if it came down to Clinton and Thompson you wouldn’t hold your nose to vote against her? There are real differences between the two. At least with Thompson we wouldn’t get socialized medicine; the greatest threat to our liberty in my view.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — September 7, 2007 @ 5:30 pm
  9. I think that Thompson would vote for socialized medicine if he found it politically convenient and it gave him an election advantage…same as Bush has. Or he’d come up with a dozen other different programs to expand the government and spend our tax dollars if he thought he could sell them to the voting public. He’s the same as Hillary, they’re both big-government advocates and they don’t have any ideology that they won’t whore out if it gives them a personal advantage. They just differ slightly on where they want to government to intervene. And since Thompson’s pro-military intervention, pro-torture, and anti-free speech, he’s got nothing to sell that I’m interested in.

    Plus, although I hate both their ideologies, I’d much rather have Hillary in office…mainly because I think she’s such a divisive, miserable excuse for a human being, that she’ll clearly illustrate the dangers of statism to and alienate the electorate far better than Thompson will. And I’m willing to take a small step backwards (Hillary) in order to take a giant step forwards (the next pro-freedom candidate, who will have an easier time selling his policy than Ron Paul has). If Paul doesn’t pull the nomination, I’ll either vote for whatever the Libertarian Party tosses out there or I’ll write in Ron Paul on the ballot…it’s no less-wasted of a vote than one cast for any of the rest of the Republican slate.

    That said, I’m still not giving up on Paul’s chances. We’re just starting to hit the real primary season, he’s getting noticed and pulling airtime, so this primary is far from decided.

    Comment by UCrawford — September 7, 2007 @ 6:26 pm
  10. I like what Fred says sometimes, but he always comes across as the laziest, least interested candidate. I’m afraid if he just lumbered into the presidency, he’d be a lobbyist hack again, supporting whatever the latest expert told him without bothering to open a book or discuss alternatives. I doubt he’d expand presidential power, because I doubt he really wants any or would know what to do with it, but he’d probably go along with whatever his subordinates wanted. There is no passion, no concern, no energy in that man from what I can tell. If he’s serious about pursuing the kind of agenda he purports, he needs to sell it to me with some energy, so zest. For now, he just looks like a pestered man that really has no interest in the position being thrust upon him and possibly not really qualified. The only qualified candidates I see out there are Ron Paul, McCain, Guliani and Romney. While I don’t like the latter 3 three, they atleast seem to be their own men. Right now, Thompson can’t even pull that off.

    Comment by Greg — September 7, 2007 @ 7:26 pm
  11. Greg,

    I think you’re right. I’m less bothered by the mellow way in which he says things (because there are all kinds of leadership styles), but he does come off as someone who doesn’t really have a policy position he believes in except that which makes him look good. And, like I said, he’s generally for Bush’s foreign policy which is all I really need not to vote for him. That speech on federalism was nice, but if he can’t recognize when our actions do not serve our security interests there’s no way I can support the guy.

    The other three guys you mentioned are flip-floppers too. McCain especially. He gave a very eloquent, moving speech about why it’s wrong to torture detainees and how it undermines us and acts against our principles. Then he sponsored the MCA, which allowed our government to torture detainees and he cozied up to Bush, who authorized the torture. Guy’s a snake.

    Guiliani’s an executive power advocate with a penchant for micromanagement and petty squabbles. Romney supported universal health care in Massachusetts and changes his positions when the wind blows. Neither are acceptable candidates.

    Comment by UCrawford — September 7, 2007 @ 10:10 pm
  12. Yeah, I remember Doug and I was on board with that position. That was BEFORE Islamic radicals hijacked 4 planes and killed nearly 3,000 American civilians.

    So, in response, we hijack a country, have 5000 soldiers killed and however many more Iraqi civilians. Like Ron Paul said, our enemies yell “Boo!”, we jump, then punish ourselves. As he wrote most recently, with politicians like that, who needs terrorists?

    I seriously doubt we would have gone into Iraq if not for 9/11 because as you pointed out, Bush was opposed to nation building prior to 9/11.

    I posted the link earlier for UC, but I’ll post it again. Saddam by taking Euros for Iraqi oil was a threat to the US dollar, hence to the Fed’s ability to print the world’s reserve currency. That’s what the war in Iraq is about: p4rotecting the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. That’s a lot easier to believe than some bullshit about “democracy” and “freedom” and other such nonsense.

    Plus, I thought it is well known that the administration had Iraqi plans well before 9/11 happened.

    Comment by js290 — September 7, 2007 @ 10:27 pm
  13. Even if that’s true js290, I doubt the administration would have recieved the support of the American people or the congress. Iraq would probably be dealt with in the same manner as the administration is dealing with Iran and North Korea. At most it would have been the occasional criuse missle attack.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — September 8, 2007 @ 12:38 pm
  14. Even if that’s true js290, I doubt the administration would have recieved the support of the American people or the congress.

    Why do you think they came up with WMD story? Why do you think they have such a hard on for Iran? Same WMD story… The boogeyman’s comin’ to get ya!!! is a much easier sell than, “Will you go die and get maimed to protect the rich man’s funny money, please??”

    Comment by js290 — September 8, 2007 @ 1:54 pm

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