THE FULL-SPECTRUM CONSERVATIVE SPEAKS…
In the passage I found the most striking, Thompson does something no other Republican contender has attempted: appeal to Democrats.
“You know, when I’m asked which of the current group of Democratic candidates I prefer to run against, I always say it really doesn’t matter…These days all those candidates, all the Democratic leaders, are one and the same. They’re all NEA-MoveOn.org-ACLU-Michael Moore Democrats. They’ve allowed these radicals to take control of their party and dictate their course.
So this election is important not just to enact our conservative principles. This election is important to salvage a once-great political party from the grip of extremism and shake it back to its senses. It’s time to give not just Republicans but independents, and, yes, good Democrats a chance to call a halt to the leftward lurch of the once-proud party of working people.
So in seeking the nomination of my own party, I want to say something a little unusual. I am asking my fellow Republicans to vote for me not only for what I have to say to them, but for what I have to say to the members of the other party—the millions of Democrats who haven’t left the Democratic party so much as their party’s national leadership has left them.”
This is reminiscent of Reagan’s talk to the people of North Carolina in 1976. Simple, straightforward, modest production values—just the candidate in front of an American flag and an Iowa flag—but (to use the word again) compelling. Reagan’s 1976 talk enabled him to recover after a string of primary defeats, winning in North Carolina, then going on to come within a handful of delegates of wresting the nomination from Ford. Will Thompson’s talk move voters in Iowa? Does his campaign have the money to get it on the air? Throughout the state? Or even in a few of the most important markets? Beats me. But we have here a serious man, making a serious case—and doing so in the context of a campaign that has otherwise descended into mere caterwauling.
Even at this late hour, I wouldn’t count Fred out.
UPDATE: More from Peter Robinson:
“While the other contenders are frantically saturating the Iowa airwaves with 30- and 60-second attack ads—Romney is guiltiest, if only because he’s richest—Thompson has sat himself down, looked into a camera, and spoken for a quarter of an hour, calmly and straightforwardly making his case. I myself find this impressive—in a way, moving. Thompson seems to have stepped out of the eighteenth century. He trusts voters to think. And if the comments on YouTube are at all representative, plenty of people agree. […]
Politics as, from time to time at least, they really ought to be.”
Mr. Robinson is, of course, a man who knows something about both principled conservatism and turning a phrase. From ‘Tearing Down That Wall’:
“There is a school of thought that Ronald Reagan managed to look good only because he had clever writers putting words into his mouth. […] There is a basic problem with this view. Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, George Bush, and Bob Dole all had clever writers. Why wasn’t one of them the Great Communicator?
Because we, his speechwriters, were not creating Reagan; we were stealing from him.”