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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fred's Appeal– He’s “Anybody But Those Guys!”...for Now


By Paul E. Scates

He hasn’t even declared his candidacy, yet he’s running dead even with the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination. He hasn’t raised any money to speak of, while they’ve raised over $50 million, yet more people are talking about Fred Thompson than Romney, McCain and Guiliani. Naturally, the handlers and spin-meisters of the other Republican candidates are frustrated, bothered and upset at such a turn of events.

What the other GOP candidates and their handlers clearly just don’t get, however, is that Fred Thompson’s appeal to the inherently Conservative voters who make up the majority of the American electorate isn’t as much about Fred Thompson as it is about...them. Right now, Thompson represents the “Anybody But Those Guys!” option. To be sure, he is certainly much more than that, but most people have little knowledge of his philosophy, beliefs or political stance. What they do know, though, is that none of the media-proclaimed “front-runners” for the GOP nomination have what it takes to lead this nation. Thompson, plain-spoken, folksy, authentically Conservative, unashamedly open about his moral grounding and the necessity for America to return to ours...he may just be the real thing. Right now, though, he’s the unknown “possible” that’s much preferable to the known alternatives.

That the rest of the Republicans don’t understand that reveals just how far their thinking is, and their political positions are, from those of mainstream American voters. As Reagan used to say, “They just don’t get it.” They apparently believe that they can dictate to the electorate what to believe, based on the isolated, narrow and self-interested perspective that comes from serving too long in elected office.

Once upon a time such long service wouldn’t have necessarily been a hindrance, but that was when incumbents actually listened to their constituents, actually cared what they thought and what they wanted. Today, with over 90% of incumbents re-elected term after term, based on nothing but sound bytes and contrived public images spawned from media consultants and PR professionals, politicians know they can do what they want as long as they say the things that are palatable to their voters. Even when the false campaign images are clearly at odds with voting records, public and private behavior and verifiable past performance, most incumbents are easily re-elected. So why should they bother with the nuisance of public opinion or the will of the people? Mostly...they don’t.

It has worked, too. For example, Ted Kennedy and John Conyers, notoriously liberal Democrats, have each been in the Senate for over forty years, during which time they have done enormous damage to the fabric and foundation of this republic. Yet voters re-elect them again and again, based on the made-up-from-thin-air campaign rhetoric and photo-ops cranked out by professional image-makers. Shame on the voters for being so easily gulled.

With the traditionally more conservative voters that constitute the majority of the American electorate, however, such fallacies can be swallowed for only so long. That’s why a basically unknown (to the electorate) Fred Thompson can be so appealing, even against those who’ve spent money like drunken sailors to convince the public that they’re something they are not, and that their public records demonstrate they are not. For now, until he officially enters the fray and the media begin to drag out every single bit of information about him, especially the negative stuff, Thompson is simply the best alternative to the pack of unsavory, primped-and-packaged usual suspects.

Is he more than that? Oh, I think so, given just what we know about him so far. After all, he was in the Senate, so he has a record he must defend. But he doesn’t dodge hard questions, and actually appears to have thought about issues himself, rather than relying on his memory of policy positions written by aides. Also, and this is a huge plus for him, he isn’t afraid to stake out firm positions on controversial issues, instead of trying to be all things to all people, like the rest of the candidates do, which just makes them appear desperately greedy for the power of the presidency. It’s as if he’s saying, “Yes, I do have firm beliefs on everything from the moral foundation of this nation to what we need to do about terrorists, immigration, et al, and if you don’t agree with me, then vote for somebody else.”

How refreshing. We all instinctively know that no candidate can honestly reflect the widely divergent opinions and beliefs of all 300 million Americans, yet they almost universally try to convince all of us that they do, in fact, believe exactly as we do. Thompson, bless his heart, simply says here is what I believe...if you believe this, too, then... Well, he’s not saying it yet, but pretty soon he’ll be saying “...then vote for me.”

I know I wouldn’t vote for Romney (the only thing Al Sharpton has ever said that I know for sure is true is his comment about Mormons not being Christian...and he later backed off and apologized for that). I wouldn’t let the scurrilous, malignant and amoral hypocrite John McCain throw me a life preserver if I was drowning, so no, I won’t vote for him. Rudy? Oh, c’mon, let’s talk like serious grown-ups, OK?

So having Fred Thompson enter the race is a breath of fresh air. Is he perfect? I’m betting absolutely not, but then, I recognize that no human is. Does he have the moral fiber, the solid political grounding in our Founding principles and the guts to do what’s right for this nation even in the face of the incessant assaults of media and the anti-Americanism of the Democrats? It appears so, and I’ll be actively finding out all I can about him in the months to come.

Right now, though, Thompson is the “anybody BUT...” candidate who still looks far more appealing to many (most?) American than the rat-pack of GOP wannabes. They don’t get that...and that’s reason enough to not vote for any of them.

Formerly a liberal and an atheist, Paul E. Scates served as a Marine in Vietnam and is a lifelong student of American history, politics and culture. A former contributor to national website, he writes his staunchly independent Conservative and informed Christian commentary for his fellow ordinary, working Americans, the “we, the people” who are ultimately responsible for preserving our Constitutional liberties. He welcomes your , pro or con.

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