FRED THOMPSON. Is he our NEXT President?
David S. Broder: Shaking up presidential race
Sacramento Bee, Opinion
David S. Broder
When Fred Thompson makes his long-delayed entrance into the Republican presidential race, he will not tiptoe quietly.
Instead, he will try to shake up the establishment candidates of both parties by depicting a nation in peril from fiscal and security threats -- and prescribing tough cures he says others shrink from offering.
In a two-hour conversation over coffee at a restaurant near his Virginia headquarters, the former senator from Tennessee said that when he joins the battle next month, he "will take some risks that others are not willing to take, in terms of forcing a dialogue on our entitlement situation, our military situation and what it's going to cost" to assure the nation's future.
After spending most of the last few years on TV's "Law and Order," and starting a new family with two children under 4, the 65-year-old lawyer says he finds himself motivated for the first time to seek the White House.
"There's no reason for me to run just to be president," he said.
"I don't desire the emoluments of the office. I don't want to live a lie and clever my way to the nomination or election. But if you can put your ideas out there -- different, more far-reaching ideas -- that is worth doing." Thompson, like many of the others running, has caught a strong whiff of the public disillusionment with both parties in Washington -- and the partisanship that has infected Congress, helping to speed his own departure from the Senate.
But he says he thinks that the public is looking for a different kind of leadership. "I think a president could go to the American people and say, 'Here's what we need to be doing. and I'm willing to go half-way.' Now you have to make them (the opposition) go half-way." The approach Thompson says he's contemplating is one that will step on many sensitive political toes. When he says "we're getting a free ride" fighting a necessary war in Iraq with an undersized military establishment, "wearing out our people and equipment," it sounds like a criticism of the president and the Pentagon.
When he says he would have opposed adding the prescription drug benefit to Medicare, "a $17 trillion add-on to a program that's going bankrupt," he is fighting the bipartisan judgment of the last Congress.
When he says the FBI is perhaps incapable of morphing itself into the smart domestic security agency the country needs, he is attacking another sacred cow.
Thompson repeatedly cites two texts as fueling his concern about the country's future. One is "Government at the Brink," a two-volume report he issued as chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee at the start of the Bush administration in 2001 and handed to the new president's budget director as a checklist of urgent management problems in Washington.
The difficulties outlined in federal procurement, personnel, finances and information technology remain today, Thompson said, and increasingly "threaten national security." His second sourcebook contains the scary reports from Comptroller General David Walker, the head of the Governmental Accountability Office, on the long-term fiscal crisis spawned by the aging of the American population and the runaway costs of health care. Walker labels the current patterns of federal spending "unsustainable," and warns that unless action is taken soon to improve both sides of the government's fiscal ledger -- spending and revenues -- the next generation will suffer.
"Nobody in Congress or on either side in the presidential race wants to deal with it," Thompson said. "So we just rock along and try to maintain the status quo. Republicans say keep the tax cuts; Democrats say keep the entitlements. And we become a less unified country in the process, with a tax code that has become an unholy mess, and all we do is tinker around the edges." Thompson readily concedes that he does not know "where all those chips are going to fall" when he starts challenging members of various interest groups to look beyond their individual agendas and weigh the sacrifices that could assure a better future for their children.
But these issues -- national security and the fiscal crisis of an aging society with runaway heath care costs -- "are worth a portion of a man's life. If I can't get elected talking that way, I probably don't deserve to be elected."
Thompson says "I feel free to do it" his own way, and that freedom may just be enough to shake up the presidential race.
An hour or so ago, someone had asked a few questions about Fred Thompson and I was stunned to read a few responses stating that Fred had announced that he’s not running. I receive mail from “Friends of Fred” on a regular basis and thought I’d share the latest tidbit.
I think he’ll be a strong candidate who will give everyone a run for their money and would welcome your opinions. Do you think that he’ll beat Rudy in the primary and what are his chances for becoming our next President?
The link is a bit further up on this page. :)
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
I think we're really going to see a shake up in the polls once he officially enters the race. Right now the nomination is really up for grabs and I think he will be the one who can appeal to voters like me who are strong on moral values, wants to secure our boarders, doesn't agree with amnesty for all illegals who are already here, thinks Roe v Wade is bad law, smaller government, more states rights and the list goes on. Hes a good speaker and because of his acting he already has name/face recognition before people even know where he stands on the issues. I think he's a very strong candidate and he's my pick for the primary and beyond.Source(s): Edited to add that some of the Democrats on YA obviously don't pay attention to the details. It was TOMMY Thompson not FRED Thomspon who said he would pull out of the presidential race after the straw poll if he didn't finish in 1st or 2nd place and when he finished in 6th place he pulled out of the race as he said he would. Again not FRED Thompson.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
I think Thompson will be Mitt Romney's running mate, gets the south in the Republican side.
- cattledogLv 71 decade ago
Thompson is doing what he always did as a senator.... wait and wait and wait until its too late to do anything.
If he's going to be the next president then he better start campaigning and debating... while he waits the GOP donors are sending their money to actual official candidates. These donors won't be spending a lot more on another candidate. You need to compete with your primary opponents with money... then if you win the primary you better still have money to battle the other party's candidate. The longer you wait the donations get smaller and smaller.
This has been a problem with Thompson... he's very slow. He's smart but slow and this is not a time to be slow.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Well his girls a looker and isnt afraid of showing what god or the plastic surgeon gave to her. The desire for something other that some haggard old woman as first lady aside, I dont take well to all the Iraq war talk he makes. I dont think we need to be stayin there much longer than another day.
But hes got some good in him since I dont favor all the illegals makin citizen overnight.
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- Moody RedLv 61 decade ago
I am supporting Fred Thompson. It is hard to tell if he will beat Rudy. I believe he is a thinker and a moral person who just might be elected the next President of the USA. Oh yes, Fred Thompson IS in the running.
- ?Lv 61 decade ago
Very interesting. You know I haven't been impressed, Suthrn, but I happen to respect Broder a lot, and I know *how* he thinks about politics and American elections. If Thompson was genuine with Broder, he might make me look twice if the Dems nominate Hillary.
On the other hand, straight-shooters a la McCain in 2000 have a history of having their @sses handed to them, so....
- AntiliberLv 61 decade ago
IM with Fred !!!! Fred Thompson 2008
- damLv 51 decade ago
Personally I think Fred is smarter than he acts, I mean acts in person, I didn't mean when he's acting, I think he's not acting in person or is that what makes him a great actor.
Smart would be letting the other candidates punch themselves out and see how many stupid phrases they come up with.
I hope he doesn't think we are Invisible.
Maybe Fred will clear this up for us.
- 1 decade ago
I still think he edges Rudy down to V.P....Hmm ....President Thompson...Sounds a lot less scary than pr..pr.president Clinton....hell...I even shuddered when I typed it.....
- 1 decade ago
whos fred thompson?