Saturday, September 08, 2007

Not an Aggrandizer: Fred Thompson vs. The Expectation-Setters

When you read 'between the lines' of most (R) critics of Fred Thompson, you find that they are 'Aggrandizers,' either of themselves, or of their favored candidate.

Commentators who are not overtly shilling for another candidate play a variation on that theme; they look for The Strong Man With a Plan, a type of which is Lee Iacocca--in effect, a savior.

Both of them constitute the amorphous blob which can be called "The Expectation-Setters."

See, for example, this set of entries from the American Spectator's blogsite for a flavor---

"Fred Thompson came to the offices of National Review some years when he was still in the Senate. I liked him fine. He has done nothing, anywhere, ever. The Hubble Telescope could not find what he has done, because he has not done it." --Brookhiser, NRO

Or from Jennifer Rubin, quoting Fred on Social Security reform:

'It would have to be in the context of discussions about everything else. By everything else, I'm talking about our whole entitlement situation. Social is not really as imminent. It has to be a global deal,' he said. 'It's not necessary at this stage of the game exactly what you would insist upon or not insist upon at this stage of the game. That would probably be counterproductive.'"

And following that quote, her comment: Thank goodness we have Thompson to tell us we have an entitlement problem and it's not so good to talk specifics now. And a committee--who would have thought.

Or again from a Rubin entry:

Someone who doesn't like Thompson and does like another candidate dubs Thompson's run as the "Eeyore campaign" -- lots of hand dog doom and gloom and very little of that Reagan optimism. Ryan Sager of the NY Sun today did give that impression with this: "It isn’t, of course, that Mr. Thompson doesn’t have a point about all of the troubling national challenges listed above. It’s that he’s pointing out problems we all know exist without offering anything in the way of solutions.

And there are the (seemingly) hundreds who have pointed out that Fred does not have "executive experience"--certain ex-Governors make that point tirelessly.

All this is supposed to be Relevant and Very Important, although curiously enough it is not Relevant nor Very Important for HRC or Obama.

But it's not--if you understand Thompson's view and his real-world experience in the Senate.

First off, Thompson really believes in Federalism. That's very significant, because it means that the Federal Gummint SHOULD not 'solve every problem.'

Secondly, Thompson understands very well the political/partisan mess in Washington and that it is more complex than merely (R) and (D) division and acrimony. It also encompasses the competing rights, obligations, and the individual and collective egos of the House and Senate (the Legislative Branch--remember them?)

This means that Thompson understands how DC works in reality. Anybody can come up with a Plan. George Bush had a plan for fixing Social Security, remember? HRC had a plan for fixing health care, remember?

However, in the system outlined under the Constitution, both the House and the Senate get a vote. And in the current climate, not expected to change too soon, House and Senate members take delight in substantially re-arranging or nuking Presidential Plans.

Aggrandizers and Expectation-Setters are chasing rainbows; the Rudy plans, or the Romney plans, or the Huckabee plans will meet opposition and become dust.

Thus, Fred is not running as a Self-Aggrandizer, as anyone who saw his video announcement can tell. He is running as a Federalist. He is running because he sees problems ahead and he thinks that National Security, Unity, and Prosperity are important.

How to get there? Leadership and conviction. Not Self-Aggrandizing. Not Expectation-Setting.

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