Sunday, February 03, 2008

Alas, the Republican is gone

I made a quick reference in that last Romney post about Fred Thompson, and how the last real conservative had departed the race, leaving us with Romney and McCain, both of which have been accuse of being Republican in Name Only. Before you start drenching me in comments extolling either one's conservative credentials, read this article, and then recall that most of Thompson's responses to questions regarding his stances on social issues and domestic economics amounted to: it's not the government's job. In a nutshell anyway. That's what traditional conservatism is about, not this passionate government-centered morality we see today.

In the end, the American political machine, and it's subjects the American people, couldn't digest the message Thompson was trying to get across. The biggest worry among Republicans was that he didn't have "fire in the belly."
Fire in the belly: For those of us who suffer from acid reflux, this is a phrase full of meaning. In the world of politics, however, the meaning is vaguer. William Safire's New Political Dictionary defines "fire in the belly" as "an unquenchable thirst for power or glory; the burning drive to win a race or achieve a goal." It's bad, apparently, not having fire in the belly. The premise seems to be that vein-popping ambition, unrestrained avidity, is a necessary if not sufficient quality for someone who wants to hold the highest political position in a democratic country.
So in our day and age, unquenchable ambition is what we want in our candidates. The desire, above all else, to rise to the top and grasp the reigns of power. This is a good thing?
Read the entire article. Then come back.

I got a little hot in my last post because of the one-liner, poster-board thinking that has become the right's social policy for any given candidate that wants to be seen as a card-carrying member of the Republican right. It's the nations inability to see beyond the headline that causes this, and perhaps we're wrong to look back and envision that 100 years ago, without the sound-bite medium of television, the only way you could get to know a candidate for national office was to spend time reading about them, and more Americans had the time and attention span to get beyond the headline.

Anyway, it's with great displeasure that I lament the dropping of the only candidate who understood that it's not about who's got the power, it's that the government has a roll in the life of a healthy democracy. And ours has over reached that roll in a way that Mt. Everest towers over the pile of sugar I put at the bottom of my coffee cup every morning. His ilk is unacceptable not just to the Democrats (who lost that tendency a long time ago) but alas, now also to the Republicans.

1 comment:

kat said...

Thompson's lack of "fire in the belly" was one of his most appealing political characteristics as far as my husband and I were concerned. Besides the fact that we agreed with a very large portion of his positional stances, we also had faith that he actually believed them, and wasn't just so anxious to be president that he would triangulate on any position that was likely to garner him the most votes. It was possible with Thompson to know where he really stood (and it helped that where he stood was very solid ground.) Thompson is the only presidential candidate we have ever sent money more than once, and that's saying a lot from our point of view.

Knowing where a candidate stands is one thing I admire about McCain. Although I disagree with him more on the issues, I have more confidence about what he actually thinks than I do with Romney. I believe Romney is generally a man of character. but he is also definitely a politician, and that makes me somewhat nervous.

I'm rather curious to know what your opinion is of the debate over whether Republicans should stay home in November if a "true" conservative isn't the nominee. There are some who say that any candidate with an R after their name is better than a Dem, and others who say it's better to go ahead and let Hillary or Obama have the country for four years so that its rapid decline--sure by their thinking to occur under Dem or RINO--will be blamed on the Democrats and swing the populace back to conservatism. Most bloggers don't "take requests," so I'm not really expecting you to address this, but if you have a thought or two, maybe you could slip it into some future post. (:-) Not having enough opinions of my own, I sometimes try to collect other people's.)