Saturday, May 05, 2007


Fred Thompson's California Remarks

I really enjoyed reading my former boss' speech delivered Friday night at the Orange County (California) Lincoln Club Annual Dinner. You can read the text of his remarks here.

A few excerpts that I thought noteworthy, with my comments to follow:

I'd say cash flow to the government is already going quite well. Over the past year our current tax structure generated record levels of revenue for Washington. In fact it's time to seriously consider what we're getting for our "investment" in government.


The growth of government is not solving these problems; it's causing a lot of them. Every level of new bureaucracy that is created develops a level of bureaucracy beneath it, which creates another one. Pretty soon there is no accountability in the system. A new head of a department or agency comes in from out of town and, after a protracted confirmation fight, wants to spend his or her few years in Washington making great policy and solving national problems, not fighting with their own bureaucrats. So they just let well enough alone. Then you start seeing the results. Departments that can't pass an audit, computer systems that don't work, intelligence breakdowns, people in over their heads.


The government could start by securing our nation's borders. A sovereign nation that can't do that is not a sovereign nation. This is secondarily an immigration issue. It's primarily a national security issue.


People say the programs are going bankrupt. They won't go bankrupt. Even as these programs sap every dime of the government's revenue, the folks in Washington will raise the taxes necessary to cover the problem. At this rate the federal government is going to wind up as nothing more than a transfer agent -- transferring wealth from one generation to another. It will devastate our economy.


I am going to quote my friend, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. I don't think he'll mind, even though it was a private conversation. He said, "People talk a lot about moral issues, but the greatest moral issue facing our generation is the fact that we are bankrupting the next generation. People talk about wanting to make a difference. Here we could make a difference for generations to come."


One can see Fred's platform forming through this speech and his previous remarks over the past few months. Fred is going to campaign against the federal government, as an advocate for state and local government, against the current tax system, and as a true "small government" conservative. This is no doubt shaped by his experiences in the Senate, and before the cynics start doubting Fred's sincerity, I can say that this speech is entirely consistent with where Fred was when he left the Senate. It doesn't reek of frustration with government, but it does show one's concern about a system of government that is imperfect from the perspective of someone who has been there. It also exhibits Fred's belief that this system can work with a strong Executive. I find it hard to read this speech and not acknowledge that Fred has the fire in his belly and will be running for the White House in 2008.

Now, for one take that is totally based on personal desire and not on any inside information - running with Fred's mention of Senator Coburn - wouldn't conservatives just love a Thompson/Coburn ticket? With all due respect for our current U.S. Senators from Tennessee, I have more respect for Dr. Coburn than anyone else in the Upper Chamber. I would love to see him included on any Republican ticket. Combining with Fred would be a dream ticket for me.

If Thompson/Coburn becomes a reality, just remember that you saw it here first.

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Any word on why Fred was not on Jay Leno last night?

That link to the speech text you linked to really isn't the speech text - it's excerpts from the speech as prepared. If you watch the speech - it's on YouTube, and you can find the links on some of the recent Fred-related posts at my blog - you will realize he only used his prepared text as an outline. It was a better speech as delivered than as written.
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