Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Meaning of Thompson

I think Fred Thompson’s surrender in the fight for the GOP Presidential nomination is a bit more important than most people may realize. As I’ve gone around discussing politics and economics with various people, particularly those on the "conservative" side, its become my impression that Thompson was a sort of "compromise" candidate. Many conservatives who claim to believe in small government, federalism, lowering taxes, fiscal responsibility, and such, and should, in theory, be delighted by Ron Paul’s candidacy, were not willing to give their support to him. With the steady drumbeats of the media spoonfeeding people the "front-runner" candidates (read: the only ones you can support in respectable company), it becomes very difficult to justify, emotionally, support a "fringe" candidate (as defined by the MSM), even if that candidate represents almost everything they could want.

Thompson, however, provided an outlet for this anxiety. He was "conservative" enough to past muster on the stated political values of these people (albeit in a severely watered-down way), while at the same time being respectable enough to the MSM to be cast as a "serious" candidate. Throw in a teaspoon of "underdog", and you have yourself a candidate that well-meaning conservatives could get behind with some modicum of pride. In short, they want smaller government, a stronger economy, and more liberty, but they have allowed themselves to be pushed into the closet by the MSM, and as a result, are embarassed to admit their true longings.

This is completely understandable, and I have nothing but sympathy for anyone who longs for liberty. But sometimes, the cure for the disease requires some short term pain and discomfort.

With Thompson dropping out, true conservatives are now going to have their choice put into very clear terms. One one hand, you have a pack of big government warmongers who will continue to trample the Constitution, expand government, oversee the continued destruction of our monetary system and our economy, and continue driving the road to the complete collapse of America. On the other, you have a bona fide conservative constitutionalist who advocates abolishing the income tax, obeying the Constitution, and has a plan to restore a sound monetary system and promote the continued prosperity of America.

Every MSM-approved candidate has severe disqualifications that any intellectually honest conservative would admit. Romney brought socialized-medicine to Massachusetts. "Tax Hike Mike" Huckabee, in addition to being a religious nut-job, is the most economically liberal of the slate. Rudolf the Red-Nosed Mayor is pro-abortion, pro-gay, firmly anti-capitalist, and fascist to the core. Warhawk McCain has long been viewed as a Democrat-wannabe.

Thompson’s departure puts the choice for conservatives in very stark terms. Do they follow their heart and obey their principles? Or do they allow themselves to cower in fear, and go with an emotionally "safer" choice?

Only time will tell.

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