Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Yesterday’s Debate

Here’s one assessment with various comments. Romney’s policy expertise and executive experience were displayed to good effect, although he still hasn’t quite figured out to make health care an effective sound bite. Thompson seemed funny. folksy, tough, engaged, and alive. And, as Rob Jeffrey says below, he’s the only candidate to have taken on the Department of Education. MAYBE Mitt and Fred are both beginning to roll, although Fred, in particular, has to really turn up the heat now. Huck, for once, didn’t help himself; he seemed less authentic as he shied away from risk and wit. McCain seemed tired and disabled by the moderator’s strange decision to take Iraq and immigration off the table. John can’t afford not to occupy center stage at this point, and he didn’t seem presidential. Giuliani, the incredible shrinking candidate, shrank some more. Overall, the event was unexciting but not demeaning, and all of the real contenders seems competent enough. Its significance is in terms of what might be coming in the last few weeks of the unpredictable Iowa campaign.

Discussions - 6 Comments

I spoke to my father before the debate today . . . he tends to be my barometer of what smart but normal guys (i.e., people who don't wake up every day wondering what happened in the presidential race while they were sleeping) are thinking . . . and he said something about Fred that I think sums up the situation quite well . . . he mentioned Fred; he sighed; (I could hear him shaking his head and I knew--painfully, too well!--the look of disappointment his face was expressing; he paused and he said, "I agree with that guy more than any of the other candidates but . . . damn, I'm tired of waiting for that to matter. I care more than he does and I feel like . . . well, I can't force him to be my president." Just so. And then Dad--ever the entrepreneur and workaholic--said, "I didn't want to believe that this guy is lazy--but maybe he is. He's got great ideas but I don't see him working to push any of them through." In other words, Dad's thinking, "He's not like me." Fred doesn't feel compelled to work at this . . . I think that's devastating for a candidate when people start to think that. It alienates him from his natural constituency, most of whom do feel compelled to work (mainly because they are) and the majority of whom cannot sit around coming up with great ideas for praise and pay that they don't really intend to execute . . . Fred is becoming, in my Dad's eyes, pretty much what I've become in his eyes . . . he is (and this is truely devastating (trust me) . . . just another damn academic. A good guy to read when he writes an article . . . a great guy to have a beer with . . . but not really a serious person.

I wonder if in this debate Thompson finally realized that the sentiment in the rank and file of the GOP of wanting someone else combined with the lingering dissatisfaction with most of the other candidates was the justification for his entry into the race all along. It was . . . but he never seemed to care. I think it was you, Peter, who once mentioned that Fred reminds you of Coriolanus . . . I think that's right. But does he care now? Does this debate mean he's changing? If this showing is evidence that he's finally beginning to have some desire to win and is willing to show us his wounds, then I would welcome it . . . but I think it probably will be too little too late. Still, it is possible that he's banking on a meteoric rise akin to Huckabee's recent bump . . . but with his coming at the last possible minute and supplanting Huck's? That would be interesting . . .

I agree in general with Peter's impressions, although I think the attribution of policy expertise to Mitt to be "effects" and not substance. The folks at Powerline are waxing eloquent over Mitt's computerlike defense of a centralized education bureaucracy. What gives? Rudy and Fred are better on this issue than Mitt and Huck. But see my qualified defense of Huck on the NYT issue below. Having watched the debate real time I think Fred helped himself more than anybody else and that Huck diminished himself more than most commentators have noted. What's with the right brain/left brain stuff?!!

Julie, your Dad's senses the truth.

Fred is establishment. For all his shtick about being a good old boy, he's establishment. And as an establishment candidate, he's like the men of the Bush family, and just like them, he isn't possessed of any fire. Certainly no fire to clean out Washington.

Fred is just wasting everybody's time, just like Keyes. But at least Keyes has passion, at least he has a view and the fire inside him.

Fred is just like the rest of the Republican leadership, nothing but a profound disappointment.

And if you're looking for Shakespeare analogies for Fred, look to Hamlet. "To campaign, or not to campaign, that is the question...." Sometimes I wonder if Thompson's whole purpose was to act as a stalking horse, just to edge Gingrich out of the campaign. Recall Gingrich said he would enter if there wasn't a candidate who shared his views. But then Thompson entered, and Gingrich let himself be brushed aside.

Perhaps Thompson has already accomplished his task, and now is kinda' wandering around with nothing much to do, except not embarrass himself at the debates.

Does Fred Thompson TRULY resemble a man campaigning for The White House? I don't think so, which begs a question, WHAT'S HE DOING?

If we assume he's too smart not to understand the damage he's doing to his "campaign," with his "campaigning style." But nonetheless, he continues as if everything is going along swimmingly, that begs a question, WHAT in the name of tarnation is Fred Thompson doing?

Dennis Miller went off on him one night on his radio show. Just laid into his laid back, listless and lifeless campaign.

Fred isn't merely a lazy academic, he is an incompetent one. It takes about zero competance to make it in the Senate. I think 60 of the Senators are completely incompetent, and Fred couldn't even handle the Senate. Anyone who knows what he's doing and is willing to work could run rings around the whole Senate. Fred is an embarassment to work and a minor embarassment to academice (they are harder to embarass). He couldn't poor piss out of a boot with the the directions on the heel.

Dr. Lawler, Fred is not the only one who wants to take on the DoE. Ron Paul wants to abolish it. He has said so many times. And so does Tancredo. He said so in the debate yesterday. (I only saw parts of it.)

I concur with Clint. It's not simply a matter of laziness. It's incompetence.

Or something Byzantine, as I posited in my previous comment.

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