The Joy of Common Purpose

I planned to get new brakes on my car and to rearrange the storage room in the basement with my week off between Christmas and New Year's. Solitary tasks. Yesterday, though, like many of you, I read about the Blog Burst for Fred Thompson. I linked to Captain's Quarter's (where I first read the story), then to Rick Moran and John Hawkins, who seem to have launched the effort. For the rest of the day, I found myself e-mailing friends and posting updates about the effort to raise enough money for Fred to run a commercial in Iowa lead up to the caucuses.

My solitary plans fell asunder, as I took part in something larger than myself and my little goals.

With three and a half hours to go, it looks like Fred will get the quarter of a million dollars he needs. The money is only one part of his ambition; the other part is to close the 15-point gap between him and the Huckster. By comparison, the money raising has been a walk in the park. {continued below}

Helping, in a very tiny way, the noble aims of a larger group gives a satisfaction nothing else matches. Being a team sport athlete (hockey, baseball, basketball, football) and an actor, I am familiar with the feeling. Still, everytime it returns, whether it's during the opening night performance of a musical or on the internet advancing a cause, I'm surprised. Surprised by joy, to steal a line from C. S. Lewis.

This is all a very long approach to thanking Sean, Rick, Fred, Captain Ed, and the others who've put this effort together. It cost me some time and a few dollars, but I've already earned interest in satisfaction. I'm sure others have, too. With all the complaining we do about politics, it offers an opportunity for ordinary folks to work on an extraordinary experiment in self-governance--the same experiment Lincoln spoke of "testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."

Well, 140 years later, that nation breathes on. A little worse for wear in places. Few of us remember why Jefferson, Washington, Jay, Hamilton, Adams, and others launched this experiment. The notion of small government, educated self-interest, and federalism have become concepts that some can define but few can feel.

Fred Thompson feels these tenets of freedom as vigorously as Hamilton and Madison ever did. The concepts that founded our experiment and to which we are so conceived and so dedicated endure in his heart and mind. They permeate his words.

By taking a few hours and a few dollars to fuel such a noble campaign is tiny sacrifice. With the world ready shovel into America's grave, Fred--and, if I may be so bold, you and I--stand between the grave diggers and our beloved experiment, yelling "Stop!"

Thank you all.

***UPDATE***

Gribbit offers much deserved praise for John Hawkins efforts on behalf of Fred.

Also, Fred08 leads off with a video thanking you for your support and a request, from Fred himself, for the final few dollars to put the ad buy blog burst over the top.

He's In! **UPDATES**

Even though he spoke the words much earlier during the Tonight Show's taping, just moments ago, Americans heard it for the first time.  "I am running for President of the United States," Fred told Jay Leno.  If the audience in NBC's Burbank studios represented a cross-section of the US, then Fred's announcement is a welcome one.  The audience went wild.

I got the feeling Fred was a little tight just around the time he said he's running.  He developed a distracting habit of slapping his thigh with his right hand at the end of every sentence, audibly enough that I missed the final word of several thoughts.  Hell, I'd be nervous, too.

His sense of humor is perfect.  "It's a lot harder to get on the Tonight Show than to get into a presidential debate," he said explaining why he skipped the New Hampshire debate.

After the break, Fred talked about the war on terror.  He said the kinds of things that, I think, we all wish President Bush had said and would say.  And balances his statements wonderfully.  When Jay Leno speculated as to why so many people around the world seem to hate America, Fred reminded him that part of that comes with being the most powerful and richest country in the history of the world.  He went on [paraphrasing], "I think we're more unpopular than we need to be.  But  . . . our people have spilled more blood fought more battles for the freedom and liberty of other people than anyone else in the world, so I won't apologize of our country."  Thuderous applause.

Now, go watch the video at Fred08.com.  It's you duty.

The Discerning Texan questions the venue Fred chose to announce.

**UPDATE** It appears Fred's servers are overwhelmed by the demand for the video.   But don't give up!  This is great news.  Everybody wants more of Fred. 

**UPDATE**  CNN.com has looping video of the Fred '08 busses parked outside of a building.  This excellent streamcasting, people, the whole reason Al Gore invented the Internets. 

Maybe We Need a Lazy President

The MSM are tripping over themselves to publish stories about Fred Thompson's supposed laziness. Newsweek decided to make the accusation head on (from CNN.com):

[A]s he prepares to formally begin his campaign for the White House this week, after months of "testing the waters," the conventional wisdom in Washington is that Thompson doesn't want it badly enough, isn't willing to work hard enough-put bluntly, that he is lazy. Newsweek: Grin and Bear It

The last "lazy" president we had was Ronald Reagan. For those of you too young or too senile to remember, Reagan's laziness was the stuff of legend. I found this beauty from Ralph Nader's web site, written in 1985:

At first I thought that House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill (D-Mass.) had unfurled the white flag of surrender at his post-inaugural meeting with President Ronald Reagan. O'Neill told the president that "in my 50 years of public life I've never seen a man more popular than you are with the American people." This is the same Tip O'Neill who called Reagan lazy, cruel and uninformed at various times last year.

Contrast the images of Bill Clinton holding all night "wonk" session with these images of Reagan, who bragged about "burning the midday oil" and giving orders to the Secret Service that if a military crisis develops to wake him up "even if I'm in the middle of a Cabinet meeting."

During his eight years in office, Reagan's laziness resulted in curing inflation and stagflation, a 50 percent cut in the cost of gasoline, a mammoth cut in taxes, a rejuvenation of American pride, the rebirth of the American military, near-perfect victory over the Soviet Union, and freeing American business from a labor union strangle-hold (m/m).

Clinton, on the other hand, given the same amount of time managed to lose the Congress to Republicans for the first time in more than 30 years, pass sweeping Republican welfare reform, disspirit the military, and get a b.j. in the Oval Office. I'll take lazy.

Getting back to the Newsweek article for a moment, it's worth the read. I get the feeling that author Holly Baily set out to write a hit piece on Thompson designed to derail his campaign even before it starts. But, as so many journalists found when attacking Reagan, the story of the man turned her heart. For instance, Baily, here, attempts to demonstrate Thompson's lazy selfishness at the Minnesota State Fair. In this scene, local politicians are impressing the former Senator with the fair's Butter Princess--a statue of a woman made entirely of butter:

A Minnesota politician offers to introduce him to the sculptor. "No, no," he demurs, trying to look disappointed. "I wouldn't want to get in the way." At the moment, Thompson is interested in only one thing-the giant strawberry milkshakes being sold a few yards away.

You gotta love it. Reagan, by the way, once refused to have his picture taken with a group of disabled kids during his 1975 run against Gerald Ford. Instead, after the press wandered off, Reagan rounded up the kids and spent half an hour talking and posing for private photos. He didn't want to use their handicaps for his election.

Later, Baily treats us to what will likely become one of the defining stories of Fred Thompson.

He was interested in sports, and if Freddie Thompson wasn't what you'd call a finesse player-he was a mess of arms and legs running with a ball-he managed to lead Lawrenceburg High to the state championships in basketball and football. Yet even on the field he was a clown. During one football game, Thompson took a hard tackle and didn't get up. It looked as though he'd been knocked out. When his coach and teammates rushed over, Fred-die opened his eyes and grinned. "How's the crowd taking it?" he asked. He kept still a few beats longer, then sprang to his feet and took in the cheers from the stands. Thompson was voted most outstanding athlete, but he never received the award. The school's teachers, fed up with his classroom antics, demanded he be stripped of the prize.

I assure you that Bill Clinton was never stripped of a prize in high school without a fight to the Supreme Court. Fred Thompson simply moved on.

When Thompson begins campaigning in earnest, the qualities that some call laziness will pay big dividends. If a man or woman cannot do the job in a 60 hour week, then he or she cannot do the job at all. Clinton worked 120-hour weeks because the job was beyond him and he lacked focus. Reagan worked 40-hour weeks because he was larger than the job and focused on the important things.

I don't know that Fred Thompson changed Holly Baily's mind. She might have liked the guy before she began the article. What I do know is this: she likes him now. She and her contributors end the piece the way countless writers ended countless articles about Ronald Reagan. In fact, if I had Lexus/Nexus, I'll bet I could make a case for plagiarism:

Thompson, who has already been president three times in the movies, is about to find out how much harder it is to play commander in chief when you don't have a script.

Fred Thompson To Announce September 6

I guess this makes it semi-official. Fred Thompson will announce his candidacy for President of the United States by WWW on September 6. Now, I've been blogging for Fred since there were only about a dozen and a half bloggers for Fred. All I'm saying is that, when he's trying to fill his Cabinet . . .

I expect his official entry to change the dynamics of the GOP race dramatically. The bottom tier will drop out. Newt Gingrich, apparently, will endorse Thompson. McCain will be in deep trouble, and I expect him to quit the race by the end of October.

What's more important is the people. As I've written before, I believe that Thompson will energize a lot of people. I also believe Thompson is the only candidate or potential candidate who can create a wave and provide coat tails.

I don't know about you, but I'm jacked up over this. For the first time since 1988, I have a horse in the race.

Democrat Apparatchik Files Complaint Against Fred Thompson

A Democrat apparatchik named Lane Hudson has filed a complaint against Fred Thompson with the Federal Election Commission, according to WaPo. The lefty claims that Thompson is violating the law by operating like a candidate without declaring his candidacy. 

Hudson plans to file similar complaints against George Washington, who spent much of the Revolutionary War traveling through critical electoral states, like Pennsylvannia and New York, without declaring himself a candidate for President.  "Not only was Washington campaigning illegally, he presided over the Constitutional Convention that created the job he would later seize," Hudson said.  Hudson hopes the FEC will overturn the results of the 1788 election, making Al Gore the first President of the United States and stimulating the dormant American History textbook business.

Clearly, this weasel needs something to do. 

(Sorry for linking to a moonbat blog, but the complaint and the moronic babble in the comments are funnier than Blazing Saddles.)

Update:  Thanks to USAToday for the link.

Update:  Both of my regular readers will notice that I failed to lead the story with a dateline, as is my wont want when pieces contain satirical content.  My oversight.  It began as a series piece, but this Hudson guy is such a pathetic absurdity that satire seemed the only fitting style. 

Presidential Campaign Roundup

We're still 15 months away from the next general election.  Remember that.  Getting groceries and taking the kids to hockey practice are more important.  Two World Series separate us from the election, not to mention a season and a half of football, more than a year of  school.  A child born today will be talking and walking before the election. That said, Fred Thompson spoke to CNN yesterday, and his remarks make interesting reading.

  • He would work to overturn Roe v. Wade as President.  That is pretty bold and unequivocal.  Most Presidential candidates give only vaguely pro ("It's decided law.") or vagues con ("It's bad law.") on the subject.  Few give a straight answer.
  • He would push for a Constitutional amendment permitting states to ignore gay marriage laws of other states.  Here he's in the boat with President Bush and others, but this stance should help cement his standing with social conservatives.
  • He will announce his entry into the campaign shortly.  In fact, in a statement on his website, he says that he will enter the race next month.
  • He is not surprised that people in Washington think he's "too lazy' to be president.  He says that he will have more Washington detractors when the race is over.  Good for him.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, tells audiences about Karl Rove:  ". . . he's so obsessed with me."  Get over yourself, girl.  Your husband isn't even obsessed with you.   Hillary might suffer from what Charles Horton Cooley called "the looking-glass self."

Captain Ed Morrissey delightfully examines John Edwards' rather blatant stupidity.   In a matter of hours, Edwards told reporters that Michael Moore's "Sicko" documentary about the wonders of Cuban socialized medicine was a great movie AND that he has no idea whether Cuba has a government-run healthcare system.  Morrissey says the contradiction shows Edwards a lightweight.  I say it shows him an idiot.  BTW, have you noticed that Edwards mantra now is "change?"  I guess he figured we need a white guy with a Southern accent in the White House.  (In that case, I'll take Fred.)

Finally, Barack Obama has opted out of the remaining Democrat candidate forum that some call debates.  Apparently his handlers realize that extemporaneous thinking isn't one of the magic negro's strenghts.

Iowa Straw Poll

The only lasting impact of the Iowa straw poll will be the removal of Sam Brownback. Brownback bussed in supporters by the bushel at $35 a head. He bet the farm on Iowa, and he lost. Mike Huckabee scored more votes than he paid for, which, as Time magazine points out, means one of two things: some of Huckabee's supporters paid their own fare, or Huckabee stole votes from people who entered the fair on another candidate's dime. Either way, the result makes Huckabee THE dark horse in the Republican race.

Ron Paul, Tommy Thompson, and Sam Brownback can go home, now. Their race is over.

The other surprise, besides Huckabee's impressie showing, was the meager resulst of the non-participant, Fred Thompson, Giuliani, and McCain. Time summarizes their numbers:

Getting only a smattering of votes were Fred Thompson (203 votes) who has not formally entered the race, Giuliani (183), California Congressman Duncan Hunter (174), and, last, Arizona Senator John McCain (101), whose position in favor of comprehensive immigration reform has decimated his campaign in Iowa.

Of interest in this group is Fred Thompson who received more votes than either Giuliani or McCain. Thompson has not officially entered the race, while Giuliani and McCain have already spent a fortune.

Captain Ed notes that the results could also cripple Romney. He should have trounced the field without Giuliani, McCain, and Thompson there to challenge. Perhaps

Thompson Campaign Alive and Well

Thompson's enemies in both parties--all Democrats and the Republicans running for President--are acting like the $3 million raised by his exploratory committee in June dooms his candidacy. Nonesense.

First, Fred formed the committee on June 4.  It takes a while to get the money flow started, to get people going to the websites, etc.  If the average daily gross for June 24 - June 30 were no greater than that of the first week, I'd be more concerned.

Second, Fred's donations are coming mostly from grassroots conservatives.  While the lefties want people think we're all Rockefellers and Gateses, we're not.  Some of us woke up giddy today because it's pay day. 

Third, Fred Thompson's support, in my humble opinion, comes from people and places who are not usually interested in candidates this early.  Like Reaganites, they don't contribute to campaigns, they don't work phone banks, they don't put signs in their yards or stickers on their cars unless they know the candiate personally. 

Let's see how Fred's fundraising dinners go, and how his opponents overplay their hand on this phony contribution story.  And cast a gimlet eye towards the blogs that quote "Republican" insiders; the party insiders I know are always working an angle.  Pity those who fret that Fred Thompson has out-witted himself.  On the other hand, some Thompson supporters not associated with the campaign apparently were floating ridiculous numbers to the press.  That doesn't help. Managing expectations should be left to the professionals, not attempted by armchair Roger Ayleses.

Federalism Primer

imwithfred.JPG Imagine you live on a busy street, and you have small children. You want to get a stop sign put up on one of the cross streets near your house to slow people down. You just need to know whom to talk to.

In a country like the United States where federalism has been replaced by Big Government, you probably need to get hold of your U. S. Congressman. If he's so inclined, he'll attach an amendment that authorizes the placement of the stop sign to some bill. Several years later, if the bill makes it through Congress and the amendment isn't stricken by procedure before the final vote, the bill passes and the president signs it. Chances are, you'll get your sign two years later. Your little kids, 4 and 6 at the time you started the effort, are closing in on high school--or they've been hit by a car.

Under federalism, the most important decisions to a family like yours are made by your family or by your local, municipal government. In a federalist system, you'd need to contact your city council member. If your neighbors don't object, you can get your stop sign in a month or two, while your kids are still young enough and alive enough to benefit from it.

Here's the difference: in modern America, your opinion is in competition with 300 million other Americans. In federalism, your idea competes with the people who live in your town or state. If you can't handle your town's politics, move to the next town; if you can't live with your country's politics, move the next country?

I prefer federalism. Don't you?

Why a piece on Federalism? It's all over the blogs:

Kicking Over My Traces

Keith D. Milby

Politics Lobby 4

Bill Hennessy 1 and Bill Hennessy 2

Thompson Gaining Social Conservatives

Boston.com reports that social conservatives are "coalescing" around Fred Thompson as their choice for Republican nominee for President in 2008.

"There's a consensus developing around him that's pretty clear and pretty profound," said John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, an Orlando-based conservative group. "I've never seen anything like it in 25 years in politics."

I agree. In 1979, as a high school sophomore with a National Review subscription, I became dissatisfied (for a short time) with the GOP. Don't hunt me down and beat me, but I pulling for Ted Kennedy in October 1979.

The kid who sat in front of me in History, Jamie MacGauley, told me I was nuts. He said to find out more about Reagan. So I did.

It took about fifteen minutes for me to apologize to the universe for ever thinking Ted Kennedy was qualified for office higher than driving instructor.

Between October 1979 and June 1980, the Reagan tidal wave consumed me. Everywhere he went, he changed people's hearts. He messed with people's minds. Blue collar union guys from my neighborhood who never voted for a Republican in their lives were asking me if I had any more Reagan bumper stickers. I became the neighborhood clearinghouse for stickers and buttons.

Nineteen-Hundred Eighty was a wonderful year.

I get the same feeling about Thompson. He doesn't have the worst president in history to run against, but he does have the opportunity to run a positivist campaing. The Democrats can't. They have to paint America as a toilet, a cesspool of evil and greed, because that's what Democrat believe.

Thompson can beam hope, optimism, and future. He can swell the hearts of millions who know America is a great country but feel pressured to criticize her becaue of the liberal, anti-American culture.

That's why I'm for Fred: I want my fucking country back.

Reports Indicate Fred Thompson Once Practiced Law

St. Louis, MO -- The Washington Post is reporting that former U. S. Senator and presumed Republican candidate (nominee?) for President, Fred Thompson, may have practiced law during a period of his life when he was out of office, according to sources inside BlogsForFredThompson.com. The speculation is based on discoveries of Fred Thompson's signature and name on court briefs in various Washington, DC. One of the briefs--a "friend of the court" brief-- from August 1981 argues that citizens cannot be arrested for activities that are not against the law.

Alan Ruben, an ACLU executive, expressed concern at Thompson's position in the 1981 brief. "If this is, in fact, Fred Thompson's legal option, then I'd be very concerned about him as President. The position of this brief would, for instance, make it impossible to prosecute Scooter Libby and George Bush, since they haven't violated any laws, per se. The government and civil rights groups must have the power to prosecute crimes against popular opinion, even when no law prohibits particular acts."

The Post speculates that, if Thompson did practice law, he may be disqualified from seeking the White House.

Ed Morrissey has more at Heading Right.