It appears that all the talk is real and former Tennessee Republican senator Fred Thompson is going to enter the race for the Republican nomination for president. I say welcome aboard and lets get down to where Mr. Thompson stands on the issues.
From his record in the senate, Mr. Thompson is a solid conservative, scoring an overall rating of 86% from the American Conservative Union. That does marginally top Sen. John "F--- You" McCain by one point, but Mr. Thompson was in the senate a lot less time than Sen. McCain. So overall, Mr. Thompson had a stronger conservative voting record than does Sen. McCain.
Mr. Thompson is on the right side on the critical issues important to conservatives and Republicans and those maybe on the fence. Mr. Thompson is pro life, for the War Against Terror (but I am sure he will have a different approach than President Bush has had and even on the issue of the Iraq theatre), for tax cuts, for appointing constitutional jurists, not legislators from the bench, but there is one very serious, not fatal, but serious flaw particularly for conservatives. Mr. Thompson was for the McCain-Feingold "campaign finance reform", the last scam pulled over the American people by congress. That will already have lost Mr. Thompson some support from conservative Republicans.
What is so different about Mr. Thompson from the others running for the GOP nod? Two words: Ronald Reagan.
Yes, many people look to Mr. Thompson to restore the Reagan way to the Republican party. After all, like Mr. Reagan, Mr. Thompson is an actor, who just today quit his day job as New York district attorney Arthur Branch on the NBC hit show "Law and Order." He speaks plainly and is seen as committed to his positions, like Mr. Reagan was. But, what many do not remember is that in the fateful election of 1980, many were still leery of electing Mr. Reagan. After all, the media savaged him so that the polling in that election cycle showed incumbent President Jimmy Carter ahead or even with Mr. Reagan until the last week of the campaign. Does anyone think that the media, even more polarized today, will not do the same to Mr. Thompson? Go over to Hugh Hewitt's site, http://hughhewitt.com, for a great take on the Reagan years.
I think that Mr. Thompson is a great candidate and if he should become the Republican nominee has the potential to do what Mr. Reagan did-appeal to a certain group of people who, even now, are still Democrats but not happy with the direction of their party. One aspect will be the "comprehensive immigration reform" bill scam. Mr. Thompson has expressed strong displeasure with it. Under their breathes, so are some rank-and-file Democrats.
In essence, What Mr. Thompson, win or lose the nomination, will do is make the winner appeal outside of the conservative base and get some centrist voters back into the GOP fold. It is the oldest axiom of American politics. Win your base for the nomination and move to the center, not dissing the base, to win the general election. It is how great coalitions are built and that is what we need now more than ever.
So, Fred Thompson, welcome to the Republican race for president. I think you will do a lot of good for the party and the country.