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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'm With Fred

I.  Why now?

There has never been, nor will there be, any question that I will vote against the Democratic Party's 2008 nominee for president. And because I don't care to waste my vote on a protest, it will be cast for the GOP's nominee, whoever that turns out to be.

Moreover, I'm not, and have never been, among those who thought that a Democratic win in 2008 is inevitable. To the contrary, notwithstanding Dubya's low polling numbers, I'm convinced that the GOP's chances are at least as good as his were in 2000 or 2004, and that every single one of the potential Democratic nominees is eminently beatable. Indeed, depending on intervening events, some of them may turn out to be beatable in a landslide; and I'm convinced that whether it's Hillary, Obama, or Edwards, the Dems are going to feel serious buyers' remorse on the day after their nominee is finally decided. So I think that it does matter — indeed, that it matters a whole lot — who the GOP picks from among the present major candidates.

I've been genuinely, and intentionally, undecided among most of those major GOP candidates until now. But by March 4, 2008, when votes including mine will be tallied in Texas' primary elections, the GOP nominee may already have been effectively decided. That's far from certain — the possibility of a genuine national nominating convention, brokered or otherwise, is no longer a silly notion — but the possibility of my own primary vote becoming moot is still high enough to impel me to publicly express my preference and open my checkbook now, in hopes of affecting things even slightly in other states with earlier primaries.

Thus go I on record today: Fred Thompson is my guy for 2008.

II.  Why Fred?

On every issue I care deeply about, Fred Thompson is a genuine, thoughtful conservative — without any major exceptions or doubtful areas that I have to forgive or ignore. And in the simplest possible words: I trust him because he's demonstrated that he has a real political spine.

Fred's my "Goldilocks candidate": On national defense and foreign policy generally, on taxes (and, in particular, income tax reform), on spending, on judicial appointments, on immigration, on increasing the size and capacities of the military, and on a host of other issues, he's "Just Right." And not only do his present views and positions match my own, but they've been consistent views throughout his career, so I don't have to worry that he'll be easily talked out of them through some rationalization in the name of "expediency."

Thompson_sketch_2 Ironically, Thompson's political spine has been most evident in some of the very same episodes that his detractors will try to spin as grounds for conservative alarm. As a senator, Thompson cast lonely, politically unpopular votes grounded on a genuine understanding of and reverence for federalism, for example, that his political opponents have characterized as being "anti-tort reform." I could write for pages about all that, but let me boil it down to a sentence: Fred Thompson has far more in common with John Roberts (for whose SCOTUS confirmation he served as sherpa) than with John Edwards, and if you can't tell the difference, you ought not be voting in the GOP primaries anyway.

Even my biggest reservation about Thompson actually reflects well on his political spine: If simply getting elected and staying atop the polls were what Fred Thompson were all about, he'd be a much better candidate, but ultimately a much worse president. For better or worse, he's running his campaign the way he believes it should be run — meaning he wasn't stampeded into an early start, and there are definite limits to the indignities that he'll willingly suffer for the sake of retail campaigning. His abrupt refusal to participate in the recent "show of hands on global warming" in the televised Iowa debate, for example, was the act of a self-secure grown-up with a serious sense of statesmanship. Fred may be a good old boy, and indeed he's charming as heck, but he's just not a panderer.

Thompson has come a long way from a very humble start, so it's wrong to say that he's unambitious. But he does lack the overweening, compulsive degree of personal ambition that's characteristic of many presidential candidates in both parties. Too much ambition is a bad thing, and Hillary Clinton, in fact, is an example of pathological ambition — a trait she entirely shares with her husband (while utterly lacking his charm). But during the late summer and fall, prompted at least in part by Fred's critics among the pundit elites, I nevertheless wondered if Thompson had "enough" ambition. And indeed, if this were like 2000, in which a single, obvious GOP front-runner was cruising to the nomination with massive funding, and without serious missteps or questions about his candidacy, then the amount of fire in Fred's belly might be inadequate for him to secure the nomination.

But historically, Thompson has been a strong closer, and he's gotten sharper over the course of the fall. The GOP race — as evidenced by the remarkable Huckabee surge (which I am convinced will be followed with a Howard Dean-like collapse) — could not possibly be more wide open. I'm satisfied that Fred has plenty enough ambition to win the nomination in these particular circumstances. And at that point — when he's past the humiliating cattle-call debates and onto a national stage from which tedious retail politics become less key — I'm convinced that Thompson will rise ever more enthusiastically to the challenge, and that he can be at least as enthusiastic and effective a campaigner as Ronald Reagan was in 1976, 1980, and 1984.

III.  Why not Mitt?

The more I've learned about Mitt Romney, the more impressed I've become with him. And it's going to take a few paragraphs to explain why he's not my guy this time around.

Basically, as I've aged, I've gradually come to treasure genuine resolve and commitment over short-term expediency. As a young adult, I was a slow and late convert to Reaganism. I supported and voted for Gerald Ford in 1976, when I viewed Reagan almost with alarm as an "extremist." I supported George H.W. Bush in the 1980 primaries, and I still thought that he was the better man of the two when they beat Carter-Mondale. To this good day, I'm still a fan of Bush-41: his assembly of the coalition that drove Saddam out of Kuwait in the Gulf War remains the single most impressive feat of international diplomacy in modern history, and I believe he is a competent and decent and honorable man who would be better appreciated now if he'd won and served out a second term.

But Poppie ran for election in 1988 on the famous "read my lips" pledge of no new taxes — and he broke that pledge in 1990. He genuinely thought he had compelling grounds to do so; he let Democrats and his own advisers talk him into it; and he therefore rationalized a compromise that violated what he had portrayed as, and what many voters genuinely believed had become, one of his fundamental, core principles. He also over-relied on minions to select and vet SCOTUS nominee David Souter — an indefensibly reckless and indisputably awful-in-hindsight nomination. It's not that Bush the Elder's heart was in the wrong place, but rather, that it wasn't balanced by a stiff enough political spine: he wasn't stubborn enough, and he was too flexible. He was certainly not the kind of entirely spineless, calculating, cynical snake oil salesman that Bill Clinton exemplifies, but Bush-41's dazzling résumé and political history (e.g., his own conversion to pro-life from pro-choice as Reagan's running-mate) always clearly telegraphed that he was more about the perceivedly practical than the thoroughly principled.

Mitt Romney reminds me of George H.W. Bush in many respects. I believe he's a good man, one who's clearly energetic and capable. But "Romneycare" scares the hell out of me — not just because I think it's a poor template for national health-care reform, but because it bespeaks a willingness to make and justify compromises with his political enemies that looks an awful lot like Poppie Bush on taxes in 1990. Mitt Romney has been a political pragmatist, not a political idealist, and it's probably true that the former is the only sort of Republican who can be elected governor of Massachusetts. But that's also a damned good reason why the GOP generally ought not look to Massachusetts as a breeding-ground for its national presidential nominees!

Mind you, it's not that I actively distrust Romney, but rather simply that I trust Fred more. The objective consistency of Fred's record comforts me in my subjective evaluation of his political backbone, and I haven't had to be talked into accepting that Fred's a conservative in his bones. Indeed, Romney's my second choice behind Fred, and I'd be perfectly content to see Romney as the GOP's Veep nominee, with him playing fully as active a management role in a Thompson Administration as Dick Cheney has played in Dubya's or as Bush-41 played in Reagan's.

IV.  Why not McCain, Giuliani, or Huckabee?

John McCain is a genuine American hero, and he's been a thoughtful and steady pillar on matters of national security in particular — if that's defined to exclude security threats from our porous borders. But he, too, is a politician of "expedience" on immigration and far too many other areas — most prominently, as the leader of the Gang of Fourteen on judicial nominees and, of course, the abomination that is McCain-Feingold. I'm still offended, and doubtful of McCain's presidential temperament, based on McCain's May 2007 incident with my home-state senator John Cornyn, who was very professionally and effectively representing the position of many concerned Texans, including me: "'F**k you! I know more about [immigration] than anyone else in the room,' shouted McCain at Cornyn." I'll vote for McCain and support him if he gets the GOP nomination. But I cannot support him in the primaries, and I still think that he's extremely unlikely to be the GOP nominee.

Rudy Giuliani is a tough, smart S.O.B., and the country could do much worse. I don't doubt Rudy's backbone, but I'm still concerned about exactly where it's located. Most of the time, he would probably govern as a conservative. But he isn't one — he's just not, he's too liberal on too many issues to be considered, overall, as anything other than a political moderate who's in the left wing of the Republican Party. If I were more pessimistic about the party's chances in the general election or more impressed by any of the Democratic candidates, I might be persuaded to support Rudy on "electability" grounds, and I won't be distressed if he gets the nod. But I can't support him over Thompson.

And as I mentioned above, I think Huckabee won't hold up to intense scrutiny, and his campaign is likely to crash as fast as it has boomed. I was much amused and originally impressed by Huckabee's humor. But I've now concluded that his weak grasp of foreign policy — compounded by his subsequent incredible disingenuousness in claiming not to owe Pres. Bush an apology after twice referring to Dubya as "arrogant" and guilty of a "bunker mentality" — is by itself sufficient to make him a candidate I can't support in the GOP primaries. And I have other serious and growing doubts about Huckabee as well.

V.  What's next?

Due to pressing professional commitments, I'm still unlikely to be blogging regularly through the remainder of this year or January. But I may post a few observations about the political race from time to time, and/or such other whimsy as the muse dictates and time permits.

In the meantime, there's now a Fred08 contribution form on my sidebar. With the wide-open races in both parties, but the front-loaded primary season nearly upon us, the month of December is obviously an awfully good time for you to make a contribution, in terms of getting lots of potential bang for your political buck in the states that will decide the nominees. Whether it's to Fred or one of the other candidates, I hope you'll consider contributing.

Posted by Beldar at 05:35 AM in 2008 Election, Politics (2007) | Permalink

TrackBacks

Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to I'm With Fred and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


» Thompson/Romney win in 2008 from Ray Robison: Pointing out the obvious to the oblivious

Tracked on Dec 21, 2007 12:05:19 AM

» The Fred Endorsements from Flopping Aces

Tracked on Dec 21, 2007 4:59:54 PM

» Fred Blogburst, New Ad and New Endorsements from Flopping Aces

Tracked on Dec 26, 2007 10:49:24 PM

» Another Key Conservative Endorsement For Fred! from Flopping Aces

Tracked on Dec 29, 2007 1:46:26 PM

» Latest Fred Endorsements from Flopping Aces

Tracked on Dec 31, 2007 8:05:54 PM

» Fred Thompson - in his own words from Mark My Words

Tracked on Jan 2, 2008 12:12:46 AM

» Updated List of Fred Thompson Supporters from Flopping Aces

Tracked on Jan 3, 2008 3:57:12 PM

Comments

(1) Boyd made the following comment | Dec 19, 2007 7:45:45 AM | Permalink

Sheesh, you didn't have to make up for your lack of writing in one fell swoop, Beldar! :-)

Seriously, I agree with most of your points, especially regarding Fred. I'm more distrustful of Mitt's inability to stand on principle, but by and large, I concur.

So you must be right. :-)

(2) Stephen made the following comment | Dec 19, 2007 8:45:43 AM | Permalink

I knew there was a reason I check every day to see if you've broken hiatus. It's almost always worthwhile, insightful, and well-written. Good luck with the lawyering, and do favor us with more when you get the chance.

(3) Old Coot made the following comment | Dec 19, 2007 9:08:11 AM | Permalink

What Stephen said.

(4) Milhouse made the following comment | Dec 19, 2007 5:12:50 PM | Permalink

On every issue I care deeply about, Fred Thompson is a genuine, thoughtful conservative — without any major exceptions or doubtful areas that I have to forgive or ignore.

I could almost say that, but the one major sticking point is McCain-Feingold. He not only voted for it but sponsored it and was prominent in the fight to get it enacted. And while he has said he regrets that, as far as I know he's only done so because of how it worked out, that it failed to achieve the goals it set out to. If he still thinks it was a good idea, and more importantly if he still thinks it was constitutional, that as a senator he had the right to vote for it, then that's worrying. Because if that's his view of his oath of office, who knows what unconstitutional scheme he'll latch on to next? If he doesn't see how McCain-Feingold breaks the first amendment, and would do so even if it had worked, then he doesn't understand the constitution.

Nonetheless, I'm still for Fred, because I can't see anyone better. The only candidate with a better position on the constitution is Ron Paul, whom I'd love to support if only the president did not set foreign policy and control the armed forces. If the president stuck only to domestic affairs and we had a separate Commander in Chief/Foreign Affairs Chief, then I'd be 100% for Paul for President. But that's not the case, and I'm afraid that rules him out.

So it's Fred for me. But if he doesn't get the nomination I could vote for Romney. I will not vote for McCain or Giuliani, even if that means we get a Democrat in the White House. I'd rather see the Wicked Witch of Westchester run the country (again) than either of those two. And I'm coming to feel much the same way about Huckabee.

(5) The Drill SGT made the following comment | Dec 19, 2007 7:54:05 PM | Permalink

Beldar, I am not completely happy with any of the choices. 2 comments:

1. McCain had a great response back a couple of years ago when he was arguing both against Rumsfeld and the anti-war folks. He said the road to victory required more troops, not a pull out.

reporters asked him about the impact of his unpopular position on his presidential prospects. his reply alone makes him worthy of support.

he said: "I'd rather win the war, than win the Presidency"

2. I tried to give Fred money, but on his web site, he made it clear he didn't want it or anything from my kind of people. His campaign required me to certify that " I am not a Federal Contractor". given that I do work for the Feds, as do half the people in DC as well as all the staff of every telcom, university, and every employee of every Fortune 500 firm, I recognized that Fred's folks werem't smart enough to get him elected.


Fred's says: "I am not a federal government contractor; "


McCain's www page says: "I am not personally a federal government contractor (employees of federal contractors may contribute)."

(6) Antimedia made the following comment | Dec 19, 2007 11:26:45 PM | Permalink

So now I have to ask myself - was I visionary when I put Fred's fund-raising widget on my blog months ago? And does your imprimatur validate my decision?

Welcome aboard the Fred express.

The Drill SGT - I can't believe you'd pick a nit that small. Your eyes must be very good. :-)

(7) EHeavenlyGads made the following comment | Dec 20, 2007 7:26:22 AM | Permalink

You captured my entire opinion set with this post, Beldar and so many thoughts I've had along the way. Many thanks for your time in putting this excellent disection together.

I proudly echo Old Coot: "What Stephen said." (Thank you, Stephen.)

(8) Connie made the following comment | Dec 20, 2007 1:18:35 PM | Permalink

"Fred's says: "I am not a federal government contractor; "


McCain's www page says: "I am not personally a federal government contractor (employees of federal contractors may contribute).""

Perhaps they just assumed you would know the difference?

I just wrote a brief response to Beldar's endorsement over at Free Republic, which is where I caught it first. I agree with his assessment of the candidates and am glad he's decided on Fred.

(9) Connie made the following comment | Dec 20, 2007 1:19:20 PM | Permalink

"Fred's says: "I am not a federal government contractor; "


McCain's www page says: "I am not personally a federal government contractor (employees of federal contractors may contribute).""

Perhaps they just assumed you would know the difference?

I just wrote a brief response to Beldar's endorsement over at Free Republic, which is where I caught it first. I agree with his assessment of the candidates and am glad he's decided on Fred.

(10) Turk made the following comment | Dec 20, 2007 1:48:46 PM | Permalink

Drill Sgt -

The prohibition on Federal contractors giving to Presidential campaigns is a Federal Election Commission prohibition. It has nothing to do with Fred or McCain.

I suspect that you, like most of the "contractors" in DC are not actually "contractors". That is, you do not personally have a contract with the government. The company you work for has a contract. That makes them a contractor and you an employee of theirs. You can give.

If I were a small business and had a contract directly with the government to provide, for instance, printing services, I could not give. The guy that runs my print press, however, can give the max amount.

It's a goofy rule, and one that causes a lot of confusion with people in DC who are referred to as "contractors", but are not actually.

(11) reliapundit@msn.com made the following comment | Dec 20, 2007 8:47:46 PM | Permalink

we were attacked on 9/11/01.

fred thompsom left the senate in 2002.

when every gop vote in that body mattered.

he abandoned his post.

he is unfit to lead.

(12) SIV made the following comment | Dec 20, 2007 9:09:45 PM | Permalink

Fred Thompson is the best GOP cadidate....after Ron Paul!

(13) Beej made the following comment | Dec 20, 2007 9:19:27 PM | Permalink

fred thompsom left the senate in 2002

I thought I recalled a promise to his constituents to hold himself to 2 terms.

(14) dualdiagnosis made the following comment | Dec 20, 2007 10:02:36 PM | Permalink

Great breakdown. I am with you on most of it and want to support Fred over Mitt for his "real" conservative temperament. Until I see proof of some of Fred's touted ability to close the sale, I am sticking with Mitt for his overall determination to succeed at whatever he sets his sights on.

(15) GregInFla made the following comment | Dec 20, 2007 10:14:44 PM | Permalink

Relia: Fred left the Senate in Jan 2003 (served throughout 2002), after winning two elections. Look at his bio, and consider leaving as setting a good example for many 30-year congressmen to follow. Plus, death of a child is a significant lifechanging event. By the way, the GOP continues to hold the Senate seat, as it was won by former Tennessee Governor and Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in 2002

(16) rosignol made the following comment | Dec 20, 2007 10:23:16 PM | Permalink

Re: "I'd rather win the war, than win the Presidency"

I don't want McCain as President. I do think he would make a good Secretary of Defense.

(17) Bob OBrien made the following comment | Dec 20, 2007 10:26:18 PM | Permalink

Beldar's analysis of the candidates is right on except for Rudy. I don't care if Rudy dresses as a girl, supports gay rights and favors abortion. These are areas that the government should not be involved in anyway and I don't think Rudy will spend any mental energy on them if he is president.

I do care deeply that we find a candidate who believes in small government and low taxes and is strong on defense. In these areas Rudy cannot be beat. No other candidate has a record of performance that even comes close. Also, Rudy is tough. If some mean ass dictator needs to be dealt with then I, for one, want Rudy out front for this country because I have confidence he will treat them just like he treated the mob when he was a US Attorney.

I like Thompson be he does not have anything close to the track record of success that we will get with Rudy. Soo -- why not hire the best, elect Rudy!

(18) Lou Minatti made the following comment | Dec 20, 2007 10:34:47 PM | Permalink

I like Mr. Fred too, but his campaign just sorta fell apart. That video he did earlier this year dissing Michael Moore and his love affair was Cuba was brilliant... and then it all went downhill. What happened?

(19) DRJ made the following comment | Dec 20, 2007 11:01:36 PM | Permalink

I'm with Fred.

(20) K T Cat made the following comment | Dec 21, 2007 12:08:01 AM | Permalink

Welcome aboard! Go Fred!

(21) Ray Robison made the following comment | Dec 21, 2007 12:12:26 AM | Permalink

Thompson/Romney 2008

While I am at it:
New book shows Saddam did support al Qaeda and the Taliban:

'Both In One Trench: Saddam's Secret Terror Documents'

http://www.bothinonetrench.com/index2.html

(22) Sunshine484848 made the following comment | Dec 21, 2007 12:45:57 AM | Permalink

Maybe Fred is smart to remain a little under the radar right now while the other candidates take all the hits, and we alao get sick and tired of them.
Fred for Pres!!!

(23) Tman made the following comment | Dec 21, 2007 1:12:03 AM | Permalink

The question is, will a man like Fred be able to maintain his integrity the way he has and still get elected?


I wonder, given the available options, if it is for the best that Fred does lose.

What's the saying, "in a democracy, people get what they deserve"?

(24) Scott Ott made the following comment | Dec 21, 2007 5:31:30 AM | Permalink

Careful thought. Plain writing. Who could ask for anything more? Nice work.

(25) Kerry made the following comment | Dec 21, 2007 5:33:49 AM | Permalink

Sometimes Romney seems to reply with several paragraphs when the obvious retort should be, "I'm not raising my hand". Rudy has this same trait. But I want someone to lead the conservative movement, not just a political party. Go Fred!

(26) bains made the following comment | Dec 21, 2007 7:27:44 AM | Permalink

Dennis Prager voiced an interesting and amusing anecdote, turning it into a quite apt observation of the GOP primary voter's dilemma. Essentially, the anecdote was, the most important quality in a woman was that quality deficient in the woman he was presently dating. Of the top five GOP candidates (Guiliani, Huckabee, McCain, Romney, & Thompson), all have warts. As Prager pointed out, our task is to determine which warts we can live with. Beldar walks us through those warts, and while I do not entirely agree with his assessment, I have little disagreement with his conclusion. A matter of which warts an individual finds more distracting.

I chose Romney over Thompson… primarily because of the political machine behind each candidate. Romney’s is better, and has been in place much longer. On policy, I like that Romney was able to govern red in an overwhelmingly blue state. I also have greater faith in Romney’s ability to manage contentious situations – I saw it first hand in the run-up to the SLC Winter Olympics.

That said, I would have absolutely no qualms supporting and voting for Thompson were he the nominee. I would were Guiliani or McCain nominated, but not enough to marginalize my support. Huckabee however, is an entirely different beast. Unless Edwards is the Dem nominee, I could not support Huckabee.

(27) Milhouse made the following comment | Dec 21, 2007 1:18:06 PM | Permalink

Bob OBrien, if you think Giuliani is "a candidate who believes in small government" then people from your planet shouldn't be allowed to vote. Rudy Giuliani is a liberal. That's not just a conclusion from his record, it's his own political identification. Throughout his political career in NYC he was the candidate of the Liberal Party, and was heavily involved in that party.

His record in NYC is entirely consistent with that - he was a big government mayor, intruding the government into people's lives in more and more ways. (And his chosen successor Bloomberg is the same.)

He also has absolutely no regard for civil liberties. From his time as US Attorney through his mayoralty it has been one long litany of bullying and terrorising people to get his way. If you stand in his way you will be destroyed. I don't think he even understands the Bill of Rights, let alone believes in it.

Remember all the things the lefties said would happen if the USA PATRIOT Act was passed? How AshKKKroft would haul us all off in the middle of the night (this was before he became a hero to the left during the Gonzales hearings)? Well, none of those things happened because the current administration isn't like that. But if Giuliani becomes president, watch out. Every one of those things will happen.

If you want that kind of person to be president, why not just vote for Hillary and be done with it?

(28) Whitehall made the following comment | Dec 21, 2007 4:11:39 PM | Permalink

We Republicans are blessed with a great field of potential candidates for president. I gladly vote for several of them in the general election but in the primary, I'm with Beldar -

FRED in '08!

As for McCain, SecDef or Secretary of State would be an excellent appointment but NOT for president, thank you very much.

(29) michael made the following comment | Dec 21, 2007 5:22:53 PM | Permalink

A nice analyisis. Re: McCain's interaction with Senator Cornyn, a blog at the Economist magazine had a nice criticism of the populism involved in 'your (and my) state's position.'

(30) Beldar made the following comment | Dec 21, 2007 6:23:50 PM | Permalink

[Editing note: In the second paragraph of part IV above, I've just moved the sentence beginning "I don't doubt Rudy's backbone" up for better logical flow. (Previously it came after the sentence ending "... left wing of the Republican Party.) No biggie, but I like to leave tracks on my revisions after a post has been up for more than a little while.

Also: I'll continue to delete, as off-topic and spam, boilerplate comments left by Ron Paul supporters that simply praise their man and link pro-Paul websites, without addressing my original post or any of the comments in any substantive way. My blog, my bandwidth, and my rules. You people clearly don't understand just how much you make those of us who try to maintain coherent websites detest you and, by extension, your candidate's campaign when you engage in such cyber-sabotage. Your refusal to grow up is one reason why not many grown-ups take your candidate seriously. — Beldar.]

(31) Dan S made the following comment | Dec 23, 2007 7:45:21 AM | Permalink

I agree pretty much down the line with Beldar's assessment. I'm happy that people I respect are validating my thinking. I see DRJ up there too in the comments.

One thing that would carry real weight with me, though, is a statement by a candidate that he would make John Bolton Secretary of State.

I know, it's early and I'm not really up, I'm dreaming...

(32) Kris, in New England made the following comment | Dec 23, 2007 11:57:19 AM | Permalink

Came here thru Neptunus Lex. I've been a FredHead since last summer. And I agree with Sunshine 48 in the comment above - he's playing it all cool and low-key. He knew people would get bored with an election cycle that started about a year too early - and now he's making waves and headlines just being Fred.

Personally I'd like a Thompson/Guiliani ticket...but I wouldn't be disappointed with Thompson/Romney at this point. As long at the GOP retains control of the White House...

God help us if they don't.

(33) Carol Herman made the following comment | Dec 23, 2007 4:40:21 PM | Permalink

Well, a really great surgeon isn't the right person to ask about handicapping baseball.

I'd say the same about really great lawyers. Who know how to judge "characters." Those sitting on the bench. And, in the jury box. Plus, the times they've spent with their own client.

For 2008, because Bush has managed to shut off so much of the usual dialog; that you don't here people discussing "our victories" (wherever). And, you don't even hear much in the ways of complaints ...

Instead of using 2000 ... where electing Bush came after election day was OVER; To the Supreme Court.

To 2004. And, the flukey campaign of John Kerry. Or "Jon Cary" ... the gigolo ...

2008 has more in common, I think, (and, I'm no expert, either), with 2006. And, the ways in which whole parties can get kicked from office.

I had thought Guiliani was the strongest GOP candidate out there. But, now? He's damaged. Yes. He's swung right. Yes. He promises the Supreme Court to the religious right. But that could be one of those keys to failure ... like nobody's business.

Will Ron Paul run as an independent? He seems to be accessing lots of money!

Is Hillary "inevitable?" And, IF Hillary wins, would she have coat tails?

Obama and Edwards won't win.

Neither would Mitt. Or "Huckleberry." (Huckabee.) This stuff is just DAMAGING!

How damaging?

In 1992, Bill Clinton LOST New Hampshire. (Paul Tsongas won it.)

The primaries must have spooked a lot of people, because state-after-state, you're seeing "super" races for early primaries.

Maybe, this means the damage being done now, will have time to repair?

California will be going to vote on February 5th.

And, not only does Bush have "low poling numbers." Condi Rice's antics. The "sub-rosa" deals with Iran. The spooky stuff where Bush is going to the Mideast in the beginning of January ...

This stuff seems to be more trouble than its worth.

Oh, yeah. Further handicapping the republicans, is a statement just made by Bush: That he intends to help the front runner "as soon as the primaries are over." Because he wants the republican party to heal.

Well, what if he's made a mess of things? Did ENRON heal?

You know, when Bush was going Busto, in the 1980's ... digging dry wells. It was the Saud's who came along and bailed him out.

I think they're still "bailing."

And, I think the price, eventually, gets paid.

(34) Carol Herman made the following comment | Dec 23, 2007 4:52:19 PM | Permalink

Let's see, some here think McCain would make a "nice" Cabinet chair. At State. Or Defense.

But what happens to his seat in Congress?

If Hillary wins? The governor of New York State is a democrat. So, a democrat would be selected to fill her remaining 4 YEARS in office. (Would Bill take this? probably not.) Would Cuomo be resurrected? Oy.

But what's gonna happen TO the senate, ahead? There are about 36 vacanies. @4 republicans have to "defend" their current slots. But only one dozen democrats.

IF the democrats more than hold their own? What does that say about Pelosi and Harry Reid?

With all the screaming and name calling going on; they're either gonna come out ahead. Or not.

If the democrats in congress collapse? There'll be maneuvering for new power chairs.

Will the repubicans remain polite? Putting in the typical crap? Hastert? Lott? Dr. Frist. You need a display of losers?

What happens if Hillary wins?

What's gonna be left to political fortunes?

The Saud's have bet the ranch on their schemes. What if Bush delivers defeat? What makes you think Putin, playing again for world stakes, didn't get there because Bush has been so pig-headed?

IF the best man's been Guiliani ... with an ability ... not to please the right wing so much ... but in his ability to attract the mainstream ... it's a pity he got handicapped early.

For those who remember, in 1992, the nicest guy in the world, who would have made a great president! Was Paul Tsongas. Cancer victim. (He died in 1997.)

Bill Clinton recovered from losing New Hampshire, in 1992.

And, say what you will, he was a very adept politician.

What if people really dislike Bush? How much of Hillary's success would go to the memories that we weren't at war (with the Saud's) when Bill Clinton was president.

Yup. Sometimes people try to correct mistakes by "going backwards."

(35) Leif made the following comment | Dec 23, 2007 8:46:04 PM | Permalink

Dan S, why such a limited imagination? Surely we can hope that Fred might offer Bolton a slot as his running mate. . . .

(36) Whitehall made the following comment | Dec 24, 2007 1:17:00 PM | Permalink

Carol makes a good point - McCain needs to stay in the Senate. Fred can chose from many excellent people for his cabinet - he doesn't need to create a Senate vacancy for the Republicans, even if we stretch that to include McCain.

(37) Allen made the following comment | Dec 26, 2007 10:42:04 AM | Permalink

I agree with pretty much everything on here, though I am not fully converted to Fred, I am very much against McCain. He has done the same thing before, telling the voters in Arizona that they didn't know what they were voting against, but he did, and he went against the people. In the PC world, he may have been right, but he is/was a bully going against the people that pay his wages. If I did that I would be fired.

(38) MikeD made the following comment | Jan 1, 2008 6:21:22 PM | Permalink

Beldar distills it all down to the essence, and I concur that Thompson is the logical, best choice. I have been slow coming to that conclusion but Beldar's reasoning seals it for me. If Thompson can not pull it off, I'll be disappointed but will support Romney, McCain or Giuliani in that order. I'll have to hold my nose on McCain but any of the three democratic lightweights would be a disaster so the decision would be easy. Anything that stops Hillary is acceptable--anything.

(39) ptg made the following comment | Jan 2, 2008 8:56:08 AM | Permalink

Outstanding analysis and conclusion. Lets make 2008 the Year of Fred.

(40) Kent G. Budge made the following comment | Jan 4, 2008 5:11:45 PM | Permalink

I've leaned towards Romney up till now, but the Ohio results suggest that Huckabee's Mormon-baiting is getting too much traction for Romney to win. I'm pretty comfortable with Thompson as second choice.

McCain and Guiliani are both "hold my nose and vote against the Democrat" nominees.

I've voted for Evangelicals before, and I will likely vote for Evangelicals again. But I will vote for my pet dog before I vote for a Carteresque Mormon-baiter like Huckabee.

(41) DRJ made the following comment | Jan 12, 2008 11:28:24 PM | Permalink

Beldar,

Did you notice your post is prominently displayed at the Fred08 Lawyers' link?

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