Too Sane To Be President?

Glenn Reynolds notes a rather interesting critique of the Thompson campaign:

Fred Thompson is in the middle of a 40 town Iowa tour – so he is hardly lazy. And he does go on television shows – thus dealing with critics, such as myself, who attacked him for not going on enough shows. But what sort of person would enjoy all this?

A lunatic. Someone who was interested in office for its own sake – not as a means to reduce the size and scope of government.

What the media, including Fox News (the only non-leftist news station and, therefore, of vital importance in the Republican nomination process), are saying is that Fred Thompson is too sane to be President. It is not enough to produce detailed policies for dealing with the entitlement program Welfare State (a cancer that is destroying the United States and the rest of the Western World), or producing a new optional flat tax (individuals could continue to use the existing system if they wished to) to deal with the nightmare of complexity that the income tax has become.

It is not even enough to have a long record of service, going back to Watergate and taking down a corrupt Governor of Tennessee in the 1970’s. And having one of the most Conservative voting records in the United States Senate – before leaving it in disgust at how the system did not allow real reform.

No – someone has to enjoy the prospect for office for its own sake, not to reduce the size and scope of government and restore a Federal Republic. One must enjoy the whole process of politics – i.e. be crazy. Or one must pretend to enjoy it – i.e. be a liar.

And then people complain that politicians are either crazy or corrupt. When they shoo away anyone who comes along who is neither crazy or corrupt.

I’ve done my share of campaigning, and generally the only people who enjoy it over the long term are crazy or career politicians. But I repeat myself. The Founders of this country did not envision a professional political class, they wanted a system in which citizens stepped up to represent the people then went back to doing productive work. Yet in this country today, we have a professional political class, and that’s one of the reasons why our government is so deeply dysfunctional. A democratic republic like the United States should not be ruled by a professional class of politicians. It should be ruled by interested citizens who represent the people, not the government. One of the reasons I support Sen. Thompson is precisely because he isn’t a campaign machine. The tasks of campaigning for office and the task of actually governing require vastly different skills. I’d would much rather have this country be led by the most qualified individual in the field of governing than the most qualified campaigner.

One would think that was a universal wish, but as Reynolds astutely points out:

Thompson is running the kind of campaign — substantive, policy-laden, not based on gimmicks or sound-bites — that pundits and journalists say they want, but he’s getting no credit for it from the people who claim that’s what they want. It’s like in Tootsie when Dustin Hoffman tries doing the things he’s heard women say they want from men, only to discover that they don’t really want those things at all . . . .

In a climate where virtually every level of government is failing, it hardly seems smart to ask for more career politicians to fix the mess that have been left by career politicians. Sen. Thompson’s campaign is based on ideas, not on gauzy speeches. That the biggest critique of his campaign is that he doesn’t seem all that interested in the process of campaigning should be an asset rather than a liability.

We get the politicians we ask for, and when we ask for people whose main talent is whispering sweet nothings in our ear and then raiding the Treasury for their own interests, is it any wonder that our political institutions are seen as out of touch, incompetent, and untrustworthy?

Sen. Thompson is a candidate of substance, and what this government so desperately needs is real substance.

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