Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fred vs. Ramesh, or, Why Conservatives Are So Awesome

First Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review says this, to give us a base of where he's coming from. Then, seemingly contradictorily, he posts this, complaining of Fred Thompson's seeming aversion to tort reform. Then Fred Thompson responds in the same pages with this. Then Ramesh re-responds, again at NRO, here. This time, Fred takes his argument over to townhall.com in a general statement about federalism, here. Finally (or at least currently), Ramesh has the good grace to point out to his Corner readers Fred's latest salvo here, with a short response, and reassures the readers that, despite this back-and-forth, he is still "favorably disposed to a Thompson candidacy".

Whew. Apart from setting a personal record for "number of articles linked in a single blog post", I do have a broader point, as indicated by my alternate title above. Granted, I do not spend much time on lefty blogs. But can you imagine a serious candidate, or even potential candidate on the left, such as Mr. Thompson on the right, engaging in this sort of back-and-forth, civilized, non-ad-hominem, intellectual, coherent, thought-provoking, or, dare I say it, articulate dialogue? I cannot. Frankly, I can't really imagine any of the announced candidates, even on the Right, spending their time so clearly outlining their principles in the face of honest but highly critical questions from "one of their own". What's more, at the end of the debate, the "loyal opposition" remains "loyal" -- a lesson the Left could truly take to heart. This truly makes me proud to be part of the Conservative movement, when we have healthy debate like this, instead of the step-in-line-or-we'll-excommunicate-you mentality that seems to pervade the lefty blogosphere.

Mitt Romney's defenders spend a lot of energy pointing out how readily he has embraced the blogosphere and the "wired" generation. Okay, so where are his policy-level interactions with the bloggers themselves? Fred Thompson doesn't talk about it, he does it.

Disclaimer: I agree with Ramesh that tort reform is critically important for the welfare of this country. Too many chefs around the country put way too much chocolate or rasberry sauce on top of the thing, and it becomes so cloyingly sweet that it nears inedibility. Mr. Thompson is equally right, however, in that the Feds have no right to tell the baker how to make his tasty confection.

Labels: ,


Anonymous Marty said...

Ben, sorry for the (not completely gratuitous) stabs at Arkansas in my Mazurland post of yesterday. I guess it's open season on Arkies. I read the article on Thompson (your uncle?) that you linked a couple of posts back. Good stuff. But on the first page, Hayes gives a list of the current Republican field and their shortcomings. The list concludes: "...Senator Sam Brownback is unknown and uncharismatic. And former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is from Arkansas." Ouch.

Regarding the current post: Republicans for quite some time have been more tolerant of the others in the big tent in which they live.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

I saw that jab too, but chose to grasp his meaning as "Since Clinton was the last think out of Arkansas, Republicans are wary". Huck is something of a big-government conservative anyhow, so some jabs are okay.

No relation to Fred Dalton that I know of. I wish there were.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Marty said...

I knew that, Ben. We've covered your bloodlines before. I was just being a pain.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Ummm.. I knew you knew that, and was just being a pedant?

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...


It is pretty amazing how Thompson isn't mincing words, either in defending his positions (like your links), or on any subject imaginable. His honesty and openness is a breath of fresh air. Hell, he's even hosting Paul Harvey's radio show! Can you imagine Kerry or Hillary exposing themselves like that?!

So this either means he's really not running (or running for VEEP), or he's running, but in his own way. I do hope it's the latter. There was one editorial I read recently in which the writer was amazed when Thompson, who may be running for POTUS, walked into the interview *alone*. No handlers, publicity agents, security people, advisors. Nothing.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...


I think it IS the latter. I don't know if you read the whole article I posted below (interview with Fred @ The Weekly Standard), but in there was an anecdote regarding Fred's Senate campaign. The gist: things were going poorly and Fred considered dropping out. His advisor asked him what he'd do differently, and Fred in effect said that he'd drive around Tennessee in his old red pickup truck and just talk with people. So his manager said "ok" and they turned a 30-something point deficit into a landslide victory. Given his weariness with the "Rubber Chicken Dinners" and glad-handing that accompanies "traditional" politicking, maybe he DOES plan on running in the manner you hopefully described. Breath of fresh air? More like a cleansing hurricane.

9:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home