Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fred and the farm...

So, we seem to have another candidate. One who is furiously trying to don the mantle of Ronald Reagan. He presents an interesting problem for farm subsidy fans.
Fred Thompson's record on spending is generally impressive. Aside from a fondness for Tennessee pork, Thompson was a strong proponent of streamlining government and eliminating waste. When he first entered the Senate, he joined a bipartisan group in sponsoring legislation hoping to put an end to corporate welfare. In 1996, he sponsored legislation to institute a biennial budget that would allow time for the Senate to exercise oversight on the spending process. He also often voted for measures to limit spending and against costly government programs. These include:

* Voted for the line-item veto
* Voted for the Freedom to Farm Act in 1996, which reduced, and aimed to phase out, farm subsidies while diminishing distortions to the agricultural economy
* Sponsored an amendment in 1995 and 1996 against a pay raise for congressional members (though he supported a pay raise in 2002)
* Voted for welfare reform
* Voted against a 2000 amendment that would provide a prescription drug benefit
* Voted against the Farm Security Bill in 2002 that sought to increase agricultural subsidies with market-distorting payments, undoing the progress of the 1996 act
* Voted against $2.35 billion in agriculture assistance

Senator Thompson often joined with a minority of his colleagues in voting to strip wasteful projects from the various spending bills. These include:

* 1 of 23 senators to vote for an amendment to eliminate funding for programs carried out by the National Endowment for the Arts
* 1 of 29 senators to support eliminating $2 million in construction funds for a Smithsonian Institution storage facility for specimens stored in alcohol
* 1 of 26 senators to vote against extending ethanol subsidies
* 1 of 31 senators voting to strike a $2.5 million earmark for coral reef mapping off the coast of Hawaii
* 1 of 24 senators voting to remove $50 million for the construction and renovation of facilities at the National Animal Research Laboratory in Ames, Iowa [More] [My emphasis]

Thompson strikes me as a political opportunist determined to make the most of having no accomplishments as a public servant: You can't be against what you don't know - and Thompson is a bundle of question marks.

Besides, like Ronald Reagan (the new standard of Presidential stature) he is an actor!!! OMG!!


someguy said...

I greatly enjoy your writings and opinions, but I have to disagree with your statement that Fred Thompson is a political opportunist with no accomplishments. It kind of struck a nerve with me. I can't help but feel this is just a reflection of your obvious distaste for Republican beliefs. After all what accomplishments do most presidential candidates have? They got elected to an previous office, built a record of support or opposition for various policies, and we, as voters, judge their wisdom, consistency and honesty with the benefit of hindsight when they run for a new office.

If we want to insist on accomplishments, I'm not sure what you'd list Hillary's or Barrack's or John Edward's as being...For that matter I'd struggle to think of an accomplishment of Al Gore's or John Kerrey's. Of course judging an accomplishment is pretty subjective business and you might think one of the above has been a great advocate of the positions you like, so you would probably not ever think to wonder about what I might perceive as lack of accomplishments.

I'm not a huge Fred Thompson supporter, although he probably appeals to me more than any of the other candidates at this point, but time will tell how his campaign plays out. I just feel that the lack of accomplishment line is like the criticisms that always get eagerly repeated about republicans in the press .....(everyone knows they're kind of stupid and lazy.....)without any real point to it other than a desire to criticize without a clear idea of what specifically to criticize.

John Phipps said...


Well said. I am actually a Republican, but somewhere in the last decade the party and I "drifted apart" on issues like government size, individual rights, and foreign policy.

Still, your point about accomplishment is well taken. The electorate has the right to elect whomever, regardless of record. Nonetheless, as I believe events will prove, Thompson has a tenuous grasp of economics, foreign policy, and other issues that makes many wary.

There are plenty of Republicans who demonstrate these qualities: Lugar, McCain, Warner, etc. I am comparing Thompson to them - and find him lacking.

Thank you for reading and your thoughtful comments.

Anonymous said...

Besides that you'll never see him sweat and he'll always know his lines!