Saturday, March 24, 2007

Thompson got me thinking

Like to many other R's, I have a political crush on Fred Thompson right now. It could fade, but right now it's looking promising.

Issue-wise, I can identify only two flaws of Thompson's. He voted for McCain-Feingold campaign finance regulation, which I view as patently unconstitutional, and in an early campaign for senate in the 90's his position on abortion was less than 100% pro-life, more federalist. But that's not even a real flaw in my book since only the people who will care about that are those who picket abortion clinics. His Senate voting record was solidly pro-life. If we're anti-Roe, and if we're anti-Roe because Roe identified a new and dubious individual right, Thompson's federalist position is actually the correct one. Most pro-lifers would like to see Roe overturned, which would return abortion to state-by-state regulation - a federalist position. Only a super-pro-life SCOTUS decision that created individual rights for embryos would be more pro-life than Thompson. Issue-wise, Thompson is pareto superior to Giuliani; Thompson holds preferred positions on guns, abortion, border control, and he holds no positions inferior to Giuliani's.

But his positions are almost beside the point in a Republican electorate nearly ready to nominate Rudy Giuliani - a man who is weak on nearly every traditional Republican issue save taxes and killing terrorists.

Thompson's appeal, like Giuliani's, is the ability to communicate effectively. Rudy told us he'd leave gun control where it is, appoint legally conservative judges, be pro-taxpayer, and kill terrorists. Rudy is weak on some positions, but his positions are known - known at least to those who are paying attention. Thompson communicates just as well as, and perhaps better than, Giuliani. And he's Southern, so he speaks not only the language of the base, but the dialect.

McCain has committed many sins against the party, but he also has a serious communication problem. Whenever he defends the war in Iraq, or talks about the WOT, he does so in a demure manner. It's like he's trying to apologize or somehow atone for his support for the war, no doubt trying to blunt that issue against the general electorate. Thompson and Giuliani have no such problems voicing their aggressive postures against our enemies. McCain can not win the R nomination posturing like a wuss, even if he's saying the right words.

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