Anyone who reads my columns regularly knows that I was the first pundit to propose that Fred Thompson is the next Reagan, and I did that back in January 2007. It is a good idea that is getting better all the time. The political savants within the Republican Party, from George Allen to Alfonse D’Amato, are already endorsing a political candidate who has not even yet announced that he is a candidate. The Fred Thompson movement is not simply the biggest, genuine grassroots draft since Ronald Reagan, but in terms of the spontaneity, the Fred Thompson movement easily surpasses the grassroots movement of Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower or any Republican since, perhaps, Theodore Roosevelt.
He is not, of course, Ronald Reagan – no one is and no one ever has been in the history of the Republic – but in terms of his ability to move conservatives without being demonized, Fred Thompson is, in that sense, truly the next Reagan. I believe that his nomination is a foregone conclusion, and that the only real issue remaining is his running mate.
Senator D’Amato thinks that Rudy would be just right. I doubt Rudy would take second place (although I do not doubt that he will support a Thompson nomination – the former New York mayor has been treated with respect and friendship by conservatives, and although Rudy fights hard, he also fights fair and reciprocates loyalty and respect, and he also thinks that terrorists are trying to kill us.)
I have toyed with nominees like Mike Huckabee, articulate and likeable, or Mitt Romney, who would be plenty young enough to run for president in eight years and is a very appealing candidate. Senator McCain would not accept second place and he really is too old to be vice president.
Perhaps Fred Thompson, in selecting his nominee, will do what he has shown an ability to do throughout his non-candidacy: think outside the box. In the war on terrorism, who are we really fighting? Enemies like al-Qaida are hopelessly weaker than American military forces and they do not even attempt to win militarily. What sort of war are we fighting? I can answer that by quoting another famous Republican president, who said “Now we are engaged in a great civil war.” The president, of course, was Abraham Lincoln and the speech from which that quote comes is the Gettysburg Address.
Indeed, we are engaged in a great civil war. Leftists in America are the only enemies, the only traitors, who can cause us to lose this great civil war, a war that we cannot lose. In 1864, Abraham Lincoln, running for re-election did an extraordinary thing, the only president ever to do this: he reached across party lines and selected a pro-Union Democrat to be his running mate.
Might Fred Thompson do that? I think he should consider it, and the obvious candidate would be Senator Lieberman, the Democrat vice presidential candidate eight years ago. Why Joe Lieberman? First, his credentials as a Democrat and as a liberal cannot be questioned except by the looniest of the loony Left. Eight years ago Democrats were moving heaven and earth to make him vice president.
Second, Lieberman supports the war and understands what is at stake. He would be a loyal vice president on national security issues and on the war against global terrorism. Joe nearly lost his Senate seat rather than lose his principles on the war.
Third, Lieberman and Thompson both personify decency and integrity. No one has even seriously challenged the honesty, the moral seriousness, the patriotism or depth of these two senators.
Fourth, Joe Lieberman could genuinely help put states like Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and perhaps New York in play. He would also help with Jewish voters in states like Florida and California.
Fifth, the “knock” on Lieberman would be that he is to the Left on domestic issues. This is a bit unfair. Senator Lieberman reached across the aisle and worked with social conservatives on issues like child pornography. When Lieberman was the Democrat nominee in 2000, Republican senators noted that he had worked seriously and thoughtfully with them on social conservative issues.
Sixth, Lieberman would be replaced by a Republican senator if he leaves the Senate and becomes vice president. Right now the balance of power in the Senate hangs by a thread and one more Republican senator could easily return control of the Senate to Republicans.
Seventh and last and most important, Americans are truly sick of partisanship and truly sick of Washington. Joe Lieberman is an independent who is a nominal Democrat. Fred Thompson is a man who left Washington out of disgust with its partisanship and pandering. The man who left Washington and the man who ran for re-election as an independent could present an absolutely devastating theme for a campaign against Democrat nominees who do nothing but carp about Republicans. Every presidential campaign promises to “bring America together.” This ticket really could.
Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a regular contributor to WebCommentary, Conservative Truth, American Daily, Enter Stage Right, Intellectual Conservative, NewsByUs and MenÕs News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.