Fred Thompson: The great right hope
By Alisa Craddock
Back in March of last year, I wrote a column (the first I'm aware of) pointing out that the media darlings being touted as top GOP Presidential prospects (Giuliani, McCain, and Bill Frist) were, well…not very conservative. I added Mitt Romney to the list in the next column the following week. Though Sen. Frist (the most conservative of the four) has left the Senate and is not pursuing the Presidency, the others have continued to be touted as the top three, while lesser known but more appealing candidates (such as Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo, Ron Paul) have been all but ignored by the media. The conservative base surprised supposedly conservative Fox News a few nights ago by awarding Ron Paul the victory in the second GOP debate (giving him 30%) while Fox News claimed the victory went to Giuliani. Hello! [knock, knock] This is your wake-up call! They just don't get it. Or maybe they do, but like all the media, and much of the party, they are trying to redefine the party and are willing to alienate their base, especially religious conservatives, to do it.
But the people spoke. Ron Paul cut through all the drum thumping and flag waving, challenging the silly notion that our adversaries hate us because we're wealthy and free (I never bought that one either), and he asked us to look deeper at why these people are attacking us. He asked us to put ourselves in their shoes.
Now, I agree with Pres. Bush that people who blow up innocent people by ramming planes into the sides of buildings are "evil doers". I have questioned why Iraq became our battlefield, but I've never questioned the war on terror. The entire world has a loaded gun to its head, and a psycho at the trigger. But in fairness, if I were a leader of a foreign nation, I wouldn't want American feminism and gay politics and violent music and disturbing media infecting my country's population like a disease either. Perhaps there are other complaints, too, regarding economic and political relations.
I'm not an historian or a foreign policy analyst. I do know that our culture, and consequently our nation, is in decline, despite what many are calling the best economy in our nation's history. (I'll remind you that Carthage was at the height of its economic prosperity even as they were offering human sacrifice to their demon god. The Roman Senate closed each session with "Death to Carthage", and eventually the city was razed to the ground.) Our idolatrous materialism and hedonism are weakening our character and sapping our strength, and historically when that happens, other countries come and conquer you. If you are a Christian, or perhaps an orthodox Jew, you might recognize the pattern of history reflected in Old Testament scriptures. Whenever the Jews dropped the ball and forgot their God and went their own way, He always sent the Assyrians or the Babylonians or some other race to conquer and enslave them until they turned back to their God in repentance. Faith in God (the real God, not the Work of our hands, or Mother Nature, or Ourselves) is an essential ingredient for a strong and productive society. We need a higher law than man's to remain free. But many of us have turned our back on God and the higher law, and we are paying the penalty. It will happen. It always does (whether you believe in Divine chastisement or not), unless we turn back to authentic justice and morality, and stop playing God with our utopian dreams and social re-engineering schemes.
However, none of the supposedly leading contenders for the GOP nod have a clue about all of that. Giuliani, after trying uncomfortably to paint himself as someone social conservatives could count on, has finally shed the hypocrisy and is now unapologetically coming out as the social liberal we all know he is. Though Ann Coulter (whose opinion I respect) seems wild about Mitt Romney (politically speaking), I have expressly addressed (in another column) what I feel to be failures, or at least ambiguity, concerning his conservative credentials, especially on the social issues, though he would be infinitely preferable to Giuliani. John McCain has never been very conservative (even the conservatives in his own state affirmed it), and always seems to me to have his finger in the wind, checking to see which way the wind is blowing. The true conservatives in the current line-up don't have the money or the backing of the invisible global elite who are pulling the strings of our destiny. It is these globalists who picked our leading "candidates". It sure wasn't us. And so a vote for one of the "big three" would be a vote for the New World Order status quo, and the further erosion of our sovereignty.
I told my mother several months ago, in my sinking anxiety over the prospect of a Giuliani presidency (or Hillary or Obama), that I wished Fred Thompson would run for President. Finally, a few weeks ago she told me that she had read that Sen. Thompson might indeed enter the race. It now seems almost certain he will. I can't tell you how that warms the cockles of my heart to hear that. It's like the first rays of light piercing through the long, dark nuclear winter of conservative despair.
Waiting for Fred Thompson to declare his candidacy for president of the United States is kind of like waiting for the second coming of Christ—you know it's going to happen, but while the Democrats (or the army of darkness) push their diabolical agenda relentlessly, you find yourself growing anxious, despite the promise of deliverence.
I'm not exactly casting him in the role of savior, but with our party divided into factions, each with a different set of priorities, Fred Thompson appears to be the one candidate who could pull us all together. He understands the need for us to be competitive in the global marketplace, but I sense he also respects our desire to preserve our sovereignty and not to have our laws subverted by international laws that replace our Constitution and Bill of Rights. He understands that we are a tolerant nation, but decries the use of courts to impose new social values upon us that go against our traditions. I think he understands that morality is not a Church/State issue, and that social conservatives are not imposing their religion on the state or on other people by trying to preserve a sane moral culture, or by protecting their right to be moral people, to practice their faith, to believe in its teachings, and not to have the state or the courts arbitrarily dismantle a tried and tested moral tradition.
He recognizes that we want our borders protected, but he is perhaps realistic in recognizing that we can't round up and deport 12 to 20 million people—some accommodation will probably have to be made. He understands that the real issue we have is the lack of enforcement of our laws and the lack of protection of our borders. He feels, perhaps rightly for many, that we're less concerned about the illegal aliens who are already here than we are about the ones who will continue to flow into our country. (Alright he's [perhaps] less concerned than I am about the ones who are already here, but I could be persuaded to compromise a little on this if I thought "immigration reform" was not just a smoke screen while our leaders allow millions more to enter the country illegally in furtherance of a planned North American Union). I personally resent the militancy and sense of entitlement (not to mention the drain on public resources) that the current crop of illegal immigrants represents more than their actual presence. But I don't know if there is a workable "perfect" solution to this, other than compelling companies that hire illegals to stop doing so. I don't think that will happen.
A key issue for me is abortion, and Fred Thompson states he is pro-life. Yes, I know, he was once pro-abortion. Well, so was I! And I came to believe that it is an inexcusable evil. I find his explanation of his current pro-life position far more satisfying than Mitt Romney's claim that he's been a closet pro-lifer his entire life, but that he had concealed his moral integrity for political expediency. Thompson does not favor gay marriage, or even civil union, but says he believes the issue of civil unions should be left to the states. (My biggest issues with homosexuality are gay adoption and homosexual education, and any public behavior or aspect of homosexuality that affects or involves children. Homosexuality is not a civil right. It's an immoral private behavior which, in our "tolerant" society, we accommodate. But it should not be codified and protected in law, and Thompson has stated he is against special laws for special people).
Sen. Thompson recognizes that much of what the federal government has gotten their hands into should be left to the states to deal with. And what that means to me is that he favors self-government at the state and local level, where the people can actually have a voice. Though I don't agree with him on every issue, (including his support for McCain-Feingold, though I respect his reasons) he is as close as I could get to an ideal candidate.
Sen. Thompson has real charisma, an authoritative bearing, and he can tell a joke better than Ronald Reagan. (To be truthful, it made me nervous to watch "The Great Communicator" communicate. He always seemed a little stiff and edgy to me, though I enjoyed it immensely when he told his heckler to "shut up!" Now that's communicating!) Above all, Thompson has a reputation for integrity dating back to Watergate and beyond. I like Fred Thompson. He's an honest man. He understands what America is supposed to be, and he's a man I believe can inspire that vision in most of the rest of us. (I say ‘most' because the hard Left have a different vision entirely, and they don't care about the America envisioned by our Founders, and certainly don't care about religion and morality.) His real concern for the direction of and division within this country, and the groaning of the people our government leaders are obviously completely out of touch with (or unconcerned with, in my view) combined with his legal and legislative background make him an ideal candidate for the Presidency. Though there are other candidates among those who have declared their candidacy I could have supported, most just have "too far to go". Thompson has the popularity and the credentials to go the distance and come out on top.
Is he perfect? No, no one is, but he's pretty darn close. When I was pro-abortion, I voted for Ronald Reagan despite my pro-abortion stance, because his message, his vision, his priorities inspired my heart with selfless devotion to my country, as it did so many others. I want to feel that way again. I believe Fred Thompson is the one who can do that. George Will, in a recent interview, reminded us that there is "an old axiom in politics – the perfect is the enemy of the good." If each conservative faction has their own litmus test, no one will ever be good enough. Fred Thompson is a man I can believe in, even if he doesn't walk on water. (Well, he nearly does! In politics, that's a Godsend).
Alisa Craddock is a columnist and activist in the culture war, a convert to Catholicism, and describes herself as a Christian Libertarian. In addition to Enter Stage Right, her columns have been published on Alain's Newsletter and Out2 News. She may be contacted at alisa.craddock at hushmail.com.