A Thompson AdministrationNote: The Following essay will likely appear in whole or in part as part of a compilation of essays about Fred Thompson by Tennessee political bloggers to be published by a New York publishing firm. The working title for the book is "Who is Fred Thompson?" The topic of my essay deals with what I feel we can reasonably expect from a Thompson Administration.
In discussing who Senator Fred Thompson is, we ultimately must ask the question: What will President Thompson do for America? What can we reasonably expect from his administration? As bloggers, most of us have the independence of not working for any candidate's campaign, including Senator Thompson's. That freedom means that we can state honestly what we believe will happen, not merely what the campaign might say will happen.
Many political pundits, including several bloggers on both the Left and the Right, have gone out of their way to try and tell Tennesseans and Americans that a Thompson Administration will be a repeat of the last six and one-half years of the present administration. It is true that Senator Thompson has done utterly nothing to correct that view, and yet I do not believe that view to be an accurate one. This is largely because I think Senator Thompson has far more political sense than our current Republican President. He also enjoys the luxury of having been distant from the seat of power during the worst of the Bush years, so Thompson cannot be blamed for the President's doings.
The great problem for Thompson is that he will be charged with cleaning up the messes left him by the Bush Administration, and mess number one is Iraq. I am in the rather unique position of having opposed the war in Iraq from the outset, yet I am prepared to support Fred Thompson for President. The United States is not in a position where we can merely withdraw our forces without finding a genuine way to declare victory. To say that the terrorists would win in Iraq may be a stretch militarily, but a unilateral withdrawal without first making serious headway against the enemy appears as though we are giving in, and in the eyes of our enemies they will have defeated the Great Satan. There is a Great Satan in the struggle against Islamists, but that Great Satan is not Judeo-Christian America, it is the people we fight. We had the upper hand in that fight, and our forces were winning in Afghanistan-but the President extended the war to Iraq where it previously had not been.
A way out of Iraq is needed, but it must be a way that is brought about with honor and in a fashion that does not leave the enemy with any impression of victory. If there is such a way, I believe President Thompson would find it.
The most important job a President has-the one that will leave a lasting legacy long after he is gone-is the responsibility of appointing judges to the Supreme Court and the federal bench. Supreme Court appointments have been known to alter law without so much as a whimper in Congress. We need to insure (as much as it is possible to do) that the judges that are appointed not only interpret the Constitution as strictly as possible, but that they themselves reflect a conservative vision for society. For too long, conservatives have sat back as liberal Presidents appointed activist judges to the bench who make law from the courtroom. In so doing, these judges have managed to destroy the last vestiges of the Constitution over a period of years. The only way to restore sanity to our federal courts is to appoint judges that will actively move to counter liberal activism with reverse activism until the proper constitutional equilibrium is restored. I believe Fred Thompson will appoint judges and justices to the bench who will do this, and he will be prepared to fight the Senate until he gets them.
If ethics in Washington is a concern to voters, and most Americans say that it is one for them, Fred Thompson has already proven that he has what it takes to restore public confidence in their leaders. As Chief co-Counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee, he proved unafraid to ask the right questions and try to expose unethical behavior in government-regardless of the political persuasion of the people involved. Thompson's crusade for clean government garnered national attention in 1977, when Marie Ragghianti, a Tennessee Parole Board chairperson fired under very suspicious circumstances. Democratic Governor Ray Blanton fired Ragghianti after she refused to release felons who had bribed Blanton aides in return for pardons. Blanton was driven from office early after Fred Thompson's work exposed his corruption, and led to national notoriety not only for Thompson, but ultimately for the Governor who replaced Blanton, Lamar Alexander. Fred Thompson's early exposure to State and national politics involved helping to clean up the ethical filth left by others, and President Thompson would keep his White House as ethically clean as possible.
While many may make jokes about the idea of an actor in the White House, Americans old enough to remember the last actor in the White House know that we didn't do so badly. Fred Thompson has one additional advantage that President Reagan did not-he was involved politically long before he became an actor. He has the actor's ability to gently persuade and to speak very well, as well as the political experience to know how and when to use the bully pulpit of the Presidency. As President, the American people can have confidence that Fred Thompson will do that very well indeed.
Labels: Presidential Election