Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's America's loss, not Fred's

By Rick Morris

Fair warning: Bitterness Alert!

Every four years, you always hear people whining about the choice for president. "I can't believe it's Bush and Kerry. Can't we do better than that?" Four years before that, people were appalled by the choice between Bush and Gore. And on and on it goes.

Almost invariably, though, this country generally has at least a decent chance to do better, but rejects it in favor of a flashier or better-funded empty suit. The USA blew it again today when Fred Thompson dropped out of the race. Hence, history will repeat itself later this year when people are crying about the pathetic choice foisted upon this nation by the Democrats and Republicans.

Fred had it all: he possessed common-sense ideas that have been validated over the decades, he took on volatile issues like entitlement reform, he was a solid communicator and he treated the American public with decency and respect and had the courage to ask the same in return. This country, and in particular the Republican Party and the conservative movement, chose instead to their everlasting shame to continue their pattern (broken only by Reagan) of foisting crappy mediocrities on this land of ours.

Some of my friends who are Republican insiders, including some members of The FDH Lounge family, believe in the "Jim Rome Scoreboard Theory of Politics." That is, if you're the last man standing, that you're the best man because you proved your worth by going through the gauntlet. Scoreboard!

I couldn't disagree more.

Fred Thompson was the best man and it is only a broken system that kept him from being able to break through the glass ceiling put on him by the jerks in the media and the political class. His failure is an INDICTMENT of our political system. This is one reason that, although I don't like it, I'm not as consumed with hatred for McCain-Feingold as my aforementioned friends. Granted, the law is unconstitutional and was a bad idea. But unlike my friends, I refuse to glorify the present system and pretend there's nothing wrong with it. Winning a nomination by being the best at conspiring in smoke-filled rooms with party puppet-masters is the proven way to get ahead -- as the nominations of both political parties have shown over the past few decades. But it is nothing for our country to be proud of, as it is evidence that our democracy is broken. Now before any of my friends get the urge to go more-conservative-than-thou on me for appropriating the language of The Nation magazine for my critique, let me remind them that our Founding Fathers, whom we on the right respect greatly, did not intend for the pursuit of our nation's highest office to be just another game of casino capitalism.

Political pundits are now wondering where the Thompson support will end up now. As for me, I am disregarding early indications that Thompson will not make an endorsement and I anticipate that he will endorse John McCain -- and, given the prominent right-wingers (i.e. Gramm/Kemp/Coburn) who have recently surrounded McCain and figure to serve as his braintrust if elected president, I will probably give McCain my reluctant support as well.

I do want to beg any of my fellow Fred supporters, who have by definition been smart enough not to get hoodwinked by Say-Anything Mittens (rumor has it he's going around saying he's the only person who can get Axl Rose to release the Chinese Democracy album!) not to give into this vile fraud of a campaign at this late hour. Not only are Romney's convictions demonstrably only an inch deep, the rotten Romney campaign should pay a price for the whisper campaign waged about Fred's viability from Day One -- with the low point being the cancer-mongering put forth by one of their chief mouthpieces. This nation today suffered the loss of its best candidate for president -- let's not compound the error by awarding the GOP nomination to a denizen of the political gutter.

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