More than just a placeholderAs I have said on a number of occasions, I am not yet prepared to make an endorsement for the Presidency. Many have wondered or asked me outright why I have not endorsed Ron Paul, since Congressman Paul is the one candidate in the field who comes the closest to approximating my own ideological point of view.
I am not, nor have I ever been concerned with whether others in the Republican Party, or the press, or political pundits think a candidate is "electable." I am far more concerned with whether a candidate reflects what I believe to be right than whether others think he or she is electable. What is of importance, however, is whether a candidate enters the race with the intention of victory, and with the will to be elected President should that become possible. That a candidate is prepared to serve is paramount. I strongly believe, for example, that Pat Buchanan had every intention of pursuing the Republican nomination in 1996, and he did so to the very best of his ability. He used every means at his disposal to achieve that goal, and ran a campaign that indicated that he was in the race with the intention of winning and was ready to serve as President. Even though his opponents shouted that he was unelectable, he came closer to the nomination than the establishment ever cared to admit.
Even though he did not win the nomination, Patrick Buchanan was not a placeholder candidate. He represented a significant segment of the Republican Party and he ran a very serious campaign for the Presidency.
In spite of my ideological closeness to Congressman Paul, I do not believe that his campaign resembles that of Buchanan. I am not convinced that he intends to run a serious campaign for the nomination-he intends to act only as a placeholder on the ballot, as a protest vote for those who simply cannot vote for anyone else on Primary Day. In this election, that may prove to be an important role, especially if the top three choices remain as they are-but the candidate who chooses to act as "None of the Above" will not only fail to win, he will not make a real attempt at winning. I do not believe that Ron Paul has any intention of being President of the United States-he wishes to serve as a candidate, as an option for the voter, but not as President.
We need a candidate who is actually going to run for President-a man or woman fully ready to take the oath.
Some people are lampooning the "Draft Fred Thompson" movement-some are trying to say that he is not a conservative, even though his record in the Senate clearly proves otherwise. He has been criticized as too pro-war, as if McCain, Romney, and Guiliani are somehow not pro-war. I have been opposed to this war from the beginning, I was opposed yesterday, am opposed today, and will be opposed tomorrow. I am not under any illusions, however, that troops are coming home anytime soon, in spite of my wishes to the contrary. Fred Thompson and Howard Baker may be buddies, but that Thompson is very much his own man-when it comes to the vast majority of conservative issues, Thompson comes down well to the right of Rudy McRomney. He is an infinately better choice than anyone in the field at present with the notable exception of Ron Paul-and I do not believe Ron Paul intends to make a serious attempt at the nomination.
Does all that mean that I endorse Thompson? Firstly, I do not think it is appropriate to endorse a candidate who has not entered the race for the Presidency and may yet choose not to do so. Secondly, even Thompson deserves a bit of time to be observed should he choose to run. I have heard from Thompson the Senator and Thompson the radio commentator-to get my endorsement, I must hear from Thompson the candidate.
I will say that if Thompson enters the race, he will not be a placeholder.
Labels: Presidential Election