Friday, November 30, 2007

No Hablo Ingles

Congress in tiff over English-only rules
Republicans prevent EEOC from enforcing rules on language discrimination
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - A government suit against the Salvation Army has the House and Senate at loggerheads over whether to nullify a law that prohibits employers from firing people who don't speak English on the job.

The fight illustrates the explosiveness of immigration as an issue in the 2008 elections.

Republicans on Capitol Hill are pushing hard to protect employers who require their workers to speak English, but Democratic leaders have blocked the move despite narrow vote tallies in the GOP's favor. (To continue: Congress in Tiff… )

My Commentary:
I have generally been opposed to those efforts that prohibit the use of the Spanish language or mandate “English Only”. Earlier this year there was an effort in Nashville to pass a local ordinance prohibiting Metro government from conducting business in any language but English and declaring Metro government as “English Only”. With the growing Hispanic population, many agencies of government had hired bi-lingual personel in service positions and had a Spanish option on the telephone answering services. Some native English speakers took offence and a bill was introduced in the Metro Council to prohibit the provision of services in any language but English. After much public discussion, a watered-down version of the bill passed the Council but Mayor Purcell vetoed the bill and the council failed to override the veto. (To read about it: Nashville Mayor… )

If I had still been serving in the Metro Council, I would not have supported that bill. I think it was mean-spirited and unnecessary. The bill would have probably hurt tourism and development and it does not project the image I want for the city I call home. During the public debate about this bill, some of the mean-spiritedness was really revealed. On radio talk shows, people complained about every encounter with Spanish-speaking people and complained about signs in Spanish and they even complained about ATM cash machines that give an option of having the ATM give the instructions in a variety of languages. Having traveled independently in several foreign countries, I know how welcoming it can be when signs are in English and you encounter people who can speak English and I am thankful that English is an option on ATM machines around the world. The US has few bi-lingual people compared to the rest of the world. With the increase in globalization and the shrinking world, I think it is a plus for America if there are languages other than English spoken in this country.

The current legislation before Congress is different from the English-only bills like the one that Nashville considered. The legislation before Congress is an Amendment to the EEOC budget that would prohibit the EEOC from prosecuting an employer who requires his employees to speak English. This bill would not prohibit anyone from speaking his or her native tongue, and it would not mandate that anyone speak English. Senator Alexander was prompted to propose this amendment by a lawsuit filed in April by the EEOC against the Salvation Army for allegedly discriminating against two of the Army's employees in a Massachusetts thrift store for requiring them to speak English on the job. The Salvation Army had clearly posted the rule, and the employees were given a year to learn English.

It is important that foreigners who are going to live in American learn the language and assimilate. It is not mean-spirited to encourage them to learn English. It should not be against the law for an employer to require his employees to speak English on the job. With a backlog of 56,000 cases, the EEOC should be doing something other than prosecuting employers who require their workers speak English. I commend Senator Alexander for this common sense proposal. (read more: Alexander...)

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Monday, November 26, 2007

Reporting from The War on Christmas

A few days ago, on one of the several chat groups to which I belong, a fellow group member alerted us that one of the major retail outlets was calling their Christmas trees, “Family Trees” this year. Uh-oh, here we go again: The Christmas-time (or is it Holiday-time) culture wars.

I don’t know that there really is a “war on Christmas,” but there does seem to be a move to use the term “Christmas” less often. Whether it is a desire to make people of other cultural or religious traditions feel less excluded or has some other motive, I don’t know. As a public service, I thought I would examine all 17 pounds of the Tennessean Thanksgiving Day newspaper inserts to see which advertisers are Christmas-friendly and which are politically correct. (I really don’t know that there is 17 pounds of inserts, but it is a heck of a lot of newspaper that normally goes in the trash unread.)

Michael’s full-size insert featured almost nothing but Christmas décor and Christmas trees but Michaels was able to avoid the word “Christmas.” The front of their insert featured “Pre-lit trees,” “Donner Pine,” “Madison Fir,” "Frasier Fir,” etc. but no “Christmas Trees.” They had lots of “holiday” items, including “holiday” cards. They did however offer one “Christmas Collection” garland. “Christmas Collection” was the brand name.

On the other hand, Old Time Pottery bragged “We are your low price Christmas Tree Headquarters,” and Old Time Pottery had “Christmas Trees,” “Christmas stockings,” “Christmas mugs,” “Christmas wrap,” “Christmas tins and trays,” “Christmas gift boxes” and "Christmas" everything.

Jo Ann Fabric and Craft stores, a chain I am not familiar with, is also very Christmas-friendly. Their insert had “Christmas Food crafting supplies,” “Christmas gift wrap,” “Christmas Décor,” and “Christmas ornaments.”

Petco, where you can buy your cat a “Holiday ginger bread Cat Scratcher” or a “Kitty Hoots Holiday Stocking for $12.99, used the term “holiday” numerous times and almost made it into the politically correct column but redeemed themselves by offering a “Kitten’s First Christmas Collection.”

Rite Aid offered “holiday Savings,” and “holiday light sets” but they also had “indoor Artificial Christmas Trees” and “Christmas stocking stuffers.” Walgreen’s was very Christmas-friendly and had “Christmas Window Clings” and “50% off select Christmas Ornaments and Garland,” and “Hershey’s Christmas Candy” and their trees were all “Christmas Trees”. CSC Pharmacy seemed to try to avoid the C word and had “Merry Brite lighted Cone Trees,” and “Holiday Decorations” and “Holiday Scented 5.5” Pillar Candles” but they did offer an “Angels of Christmas Ornament.” “Angels of Christmas” appears to be brand name.

Circuit City’s ad had was heavily winter holiday-themed (Christmas-themed?) and mentioned “Santa’s Little Helper,” “the joy of giving” and “spread some holiday cheer” and almost avoided the C word but then they did offer “Christmas DVD’s” for $9.99. “Christmas DVD’s” was not a brand name; that is what Circuit City called them.

Party City had lots of party stuff and had “75% off Boxed Christmas Cards.” Best Buy had “fun holiday gifts” and told us to “have a holiday movie marathon,” but no Christmas at Best Buys.

JC Penny’s advertised a “7.5-Ft pre-lit Wonder Tree”, but did not call it a Christmas tree. They had “gifts that spread holiday cheer,” and featured “holiday Motif Jewelry” but no Christmas at Penny’s. Goody’s advertised “sweaters & knits in a holiday mood” and “the perfect stocking stuffers” but no mention of Christmas. On the other hand, Bed and Bath told us they had “Extended hours now Through Christmas.” Sears had “Christmas Trees.” Macy’s had no Christmas. K-mart had “holiday” trees and told us to “Spruce up your holiday home,” but no Christmas at K-mart.

Sprint had winter holiday-themed (Christmas-themed?) ads with play-on-word advertisements like “Text the Halls,” “Dashing through the songs” and “Hands-free for the holidays” and “Jingle bell rock, faster” but they avoided the C word.

Lowe’s featured a “6-1/2 ft. 400-light clear pre-lit tree” and lots of other “holiday” décor. They did not use the word “Christmas,” while Home Depot told us to “buy any live Christmas tree and receive $30 off any future purchase at The Home Depot.”

I don’t know what to make of this Christmas battle of the culture wars. I am not going to boycott companies that use the term “holiday trees” but I do think Christmas trees ought to be called “Christmas” trees. I won’t get mad at you if you wish me “Happy Holiday” or “Merry Christmas,” but I do sometimes pause before I wish someone else a “Happy holiday” or “Merry Christmas”; use the wrong term and they may take offence. I pity the poor retail clerk who must say one or the other or neither and risk offending someone.

One of my favorite country artists, Billy Joe Shaver, testifies with humor, “If you don’t love Jesus, you can go to hell.” I think a lot of the culture warriors have that attitude and they are not being humerous. Lighten up people.

Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays).

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Going Green? Easy Doesn't Do It

By Michael Maniates

Franklin Roosevelt didn't mobilize the country's energies by listing 10 easy ways to oppose fascism.

The hard facts are these: If we sum up the easy, cost-effective, eco-efficiency measures we should all embrace, the best we get is a slowing of the growth of environmental damage. That's hardly enough: Avoiding the worst risks of climate change, for instance, may require reducing U.S. carbon emissions by 80 percent in the next 30 years while invoking the moral authority such reductions would confer to persuade China, India and other booming nations to embrace similar restraint. Obsessing over recycling and installing a few special light bulbs won't cut it. We need to be looking at fundamental change in our energy, transportation and agricultural systems. (To continue: Going Green? )

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Climate Change Disaster Looms; Time for Action is Now!

Scientists are by nature a modest and cautions lot. Gravity is still a theory. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last Friday issued their fourth report on climate change and it is probably about as close as scientists come to issuing a panic alert. The report summarizes the three previous reports and issues new dire warnings and for the first time gives a time-frame for taking action. The news is pretty bleak.

The report says that “warming of the Climate system is unequivocal”. It says that there is “a high agreement and much evidence” that with current climate change mitigation policies that global green house gas (GHG) emissions “will continue to grow over the next few decades.” It says that continued GHG at or above the current rate will cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate. The changes include increase in extremes of hot weather and heat waves, increases in tropical cyclone intensity, decrease water resources in now semi-arid areas, increased extinction of species, flooding of low-lying coastal areas, and increased mortality.

Previous reports from the UNIPCC have given only “highly likely” scenarios; this report was less cautious and gave a range of possible consequences of the coming climate change, including complete melting of the ice caps and rising sea levels of 40 feet. If the event that the events rated less than “highly likely” do occur, we are up the creek without a paddle. The longer we wait to do anything, the more likely the “less likely” become.

The report says that we currently have the technologies we need for mitigation. This is not an issue we cannot do anything about. However, the longer we wait to do something, the harder it will be and the more costly. There will come a time when it is too late to do anything about it. The report suggests a return to 2005 rates of GHG emission by the year 2030. The report list several options for addressing mitigation but prominently mentions a carbon tax as a primary mitigation method. (The report at this point is still considered a “draft” but is expected to be adopted. To see the full text of the 23 page report see: IPCC)

Why is this new report being so downplayed? The New York Times reported it under their “Environment” sections. Our local newspaper carried it on page 5. Newspapers want to sell papers, right? Why was this story not bold banner front page headlines? Why is not each presidential candidate at every campaign stop asked what they will do to combat global warming?

This looming disaster is treated is as if we are all on the Titanic, and after telling us the menu for the evening meal and the entertainment, they mention that, “Oh, by the way, we have hit an ice burg and will probably be at the bottom of the ocean in about six hours. Enjoy your dinner.”
Even the movement environmentalists don’t seem to panic. In fact, they often seem more interested in changing human nature than stopping global warming. Look at the lame policy suggestions: change light bulbs, properly inflate your tires, increase CAFE standards, subsidize ethanol and build wind farms. In the last eight years China has build 603 coal-fired power plants. We must do more than change light bulbs. It is if on the Titanic they announce, “To mitigate the hole knocked in our hull by the iceberg, each guest will be given a bailing pail. Enjoy your dinner.”

This is a crisis. The US needs to set GHG emission targets and mandate a carbon tax sufficient to achieve the target. We then need to show world leadership on this issue and use the tools at our disposal to encourage other nations to do their part. It is an embarrassment that the US is tied with China as the worlds leading producer of green house gases and we are doing nothing serious to curtail our GHG emissions.

We can avert this looming disaster. Destruction of the planet by global warming is not inevitable, but time is running out. It is time to take actions now. Don’t strike up the band. I don’t’ want to hear “Nearer my God to Thee.”

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Saturday, November 17, 2007

We Should not Subsidize Factory Farms

Nor, Try to Save Family Farms

Congress is again debating a Farm Bill, or as the Wall Street Journal calls it, the No Farmer left Behind Bill. While there is something in it for everyone, the big farmer however, gets the most with two-thirds of the aid going to the wealthiest 10% of farms. With the average full-time farmer having an income of $81,420 last year, don’t think of the Farm bill as help to the depression-era subsistence farmer.

So why do we subsidize farmers?

We, the consumer get cheaper food, right? Well, no, not exactly. The farm price supports are actually designed to keep food prices high. So in addition to the taxes we pay to subsidize farmers, we collectively pay about $12 billion more a year for food than we otherwise would.

Well, we are preserving a way of life? We are keeping the family farm alive? Well, to a certain extend, you could argue that some family farmers benefit from the bill. I think protecting the Family Farm however is the job of Willie Nelson, not the tax payers. (See Farm Aid) Why should this segment of the population get protection from the demands of the market place? Year by year, farm productivity increases; it takes fewer people to produce more food. Why try to keep them on the farm? Why should I pay more taxes so some kid in the country can grow up milking a cow? We don’t preserve the life-style of the buggy whip maker or the Ma and Pa grocery store owner, so why farmers?

Farm aid helps provide a rich variety of farm produce? There is something in the bill for everyone, so there are subsidies for vegetable, fruit and nut growers, but 80% of the money goes to subsidize five commercial crops: corn, cotton, rice, soybeans and wheat. Have you ever noticed that corn syrup is in almost every product you buy? Read your product labels. From dog food to Wheat Thins to peanut butter, many products contain corn syrup. It is hard to find a product without it. Peanut butter does not need corn syrup. With an obesity problem in America, we don’t need to be adding calories to everything we consume, yet we subsidize the production of corn, so there is a surplus of cheap corn syrup.

Well, we produce a lot of surplus food and help feed the hungry of the world? America does provide a lot of commodities to foreign countries. (Food for Peace) However, if would be less costly to directly fund aid agencies and let the agencies purchase the food in the market place. And while we are generous with our surplus food, some of the food aid we provide is sold by aid agencies, which undermines the farmers in the country we are tying to help and keeps the country from becoming self sufficient. (See, As U.S. Food Dollars Buy Less…) Also, by subsidizing American farmers we are putting the farmers of all poor third-world countries at a disadvantage. Our farm policy is protectionism for American agriculture which actually contributes to world poverty.

The farm bill taxes us to make food cost more, to enrich the already rich factory farmer, to keep some family farmers on the farm when the marketplace says they are not needed, to make third world peasant farmers poorer, to produce and abundance of corn syrup we don’t need, and to undermine America’s leadership on Free Trade. So why do we subsidize farmers? It is politics. As Rep. Sanford Bishop, a Georgia Democrat who refers to himself as "the peanut congressman," said recently, "That's what politics is: Who gets what, when and how," (See, Farm Aid Pork) Earlier this year he amended an Iraq appropriations bill to include $74 million for storage of peanuts. He said he would have done it even if peanut growers had not given his most recent reelection campaign $35,750.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

by Thomas Friedman

In the wake of 9/11, some of us pleaded for a “patriot tax” on gasoline of $1 or more a gallon to diminish the transfers of wealth we were making to the very countries who were indirectly financing the ideologies of intolerance that were killing Americans and in order to spur innovation in energy efficiency by U.S. manufacturers.

But no, George Bush and Dick Cheney had a better idea. And the Democrats went along for the ride. (To continue, Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda)

My Comment: Following 9/11 the American people were ready to sacrifice. Bush could have used his political capital after 9/11 to pass an energy tax, instead he squandered a historic opportunity and today we continue to transfer American wealth to Islamic depots and to other autocratic regimes in unstable parts of the world. In addition to the national security logic of reducing dependence on oil, a serious response to global warming requires we reduce our consumption of oil. We had a historic opportunity to break our oil addiction following 9/11. It is not too late. The national security threat and the global warming threat warrant a radically new energy policy. It is a shame we have no one in either party willing to lead. Rod

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bush Sought "Way" to Invade Iraq, Says O'Neill

If you missed the recent 60 Minutes program with a segment about former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and his revelations about the innner workings of the Bush Administration, it is worth following this link (60 Minutes) and watching.

A new book called The Price of Loyalty has just been published that draws on interviews with several high ranking officials who gave the author their personal accounts of their experience within the Bush Administration. Paul O’Neill was the most forth coming of those interviewed for the book, not only sharing his insight but giving the authors thousands on internal Bush administration documents.

O’Neill seems appalled at the way Bush conducted the business of running the country and he has some very interesting things to say. He says that in cabinet meetings the President was "like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people.” “There was no discernible connection," forcing top officials to act "on little more than hunches about what the president might think." O’Neill says that the president did not make decisions in a methodical way and there was no free-flow of ideas or open debate.

Most interesting is O’Neill report of Bush’s obsession with Iraq from the very first National Security meeting. O’Neil recalls that during the campaign, candidate Bush had criticized the Clinton-Gore Administration for being too interventionist, but that from day one Bush was planning an invasions of Iraq. “From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” says O’Neill. He says that going after Saddam was topic "A" 10 days after the inauguration, eight months before Sept. 11. “From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime,” "It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this,’

I don’t guess Mr. O’Neill’s revelations should surprise any of us by this point, but they offer insight in to just what a poor leader Bush really is and offer further confirmations that the decision to invade Iraq was already made before Bush ever got elected and Bush was not to be deterred. Bush was going to have his war with Iraq no matter what.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

November 9th Should be a Day of Celebration

November 9th should be a National holiday. Or better yet, it should be a worldwide holiday. It should rival a combination of New Years’ Eve and the 4th of July. There should be concerts, dancing in the street, Champagne toast, ringing of church bells, and fire works.

On November 9, 1989 the Berlin Wall fell and the world changed forever. As the world watched, we did not know if Russia would send in troops to put down the rebellion or not. We did not know if East Germans guards would fire on their fellow citizens. In 1958 an uprising in Hungary was crushed. In 1968 the Czech rebellion was likewise suppressed. As we watched in 1989 it was hard to believe that the East German rebellion would end differently, but there was reason to hope.

There was reason to believe that there were few true believers in Communism left behind the Iron curtain. Gorbachev, to save Communism, had launched Perestroika and Glasnost, which had not saved Communism but sealed its fate. The Soviets had been forced to realize that they could not outspend the west in the arms race. The Solidarity union movement had sprung up in Poland and not been crushed and Catholicism had a Polish pope who was encouraging the Catholics behind the Iron Curtain to keep the faith, and America had a president who said his goal was not to co-exist with Communism but to defeat it. The West was more confident and the East seemed exhausted.

With modern communications and contact between the captive peoples of the East and the free people of the West, Communist governments could no longer convince their people that Communism was a superior way to organize society. And, for the first time, attempts to spread Communism had failed. From the tiny island of Granada, to Nicaragua, to Afghanistan, attempts at expansion had met with failure. When the demonstrators in East Germany began chipping away at the wall, the guards did not fire, the Soviets did not send in tanks and the walls came tumbling down.

It would still be a couple more years before the other Communist dominoes fell, but one by one they did, except for the two dysfunctional teetering states of North Korea and Cuba. China did not fall, but morphed into a state that Marx or Mao would not recognize. While still nominally communist, China became a capitalist state with an authoritarian government that daily continues to change.

From the time of the establishment of the first Communist state in Russia in 1917, Communism had steadily grown taking country by county until by the time of the fall of the Berlin wall 34% of the worlds populations lived under Communist domination. And by peaceful means, Communism was gaining ground in much of the west with “Euro-communism” gaining acceptance and becoming parties in coalition governments. For more than seventy years, freedom had been on the defensive and Communism at been ascending.

During that time, between 85 million and 100 million people were killed with a brutal efficiency. Approximately 65 million were killed in China under Mao Zedong, 25 million in Leninist and Stalinist Russia, 2 million in Cambodia, and millions more in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Latin America. This was accomplished by mass murders, planned famines, working people to death in labor camps, and other ruthless methods. From the thousands of Cossacks slaughtered on the orders of Lenin to the victims of Mao’s “land reform” the totals mounted. In addition to the millions of deaths, many more millions spend part of their lives in prison in the Gulag of Russia and the reeducation camps of Vietnam and China. Those who never spend part of their life in real prisons, lived in societies with secret police, enforced conformity, thought control, fear, scarcity, and everyone spying on everyone else.

While the world looked with horror on the approximate 11 million victims of Hitler’s Europe, for some reason less attentions was paid to the 100 million victims of Communist tyranny. While the Nazi era lasted for only 11 years, the Communist terror began in 1917 and continues to this day. The story would be complete if the last Communist regime fell, but the fall of the Berlin Wall is a land mark event. By the fall of the wall, it was clear that Communism was not the wave of the future and that freedom would survive in the world.

Not only would freedom survive in the world, but the world itself would survive. It is easy to forget what a dangerous place the world was on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The world's nuclear stockpiles had grown to 70,000 warheads, with an average destructive power about 20 times that of the weapons that were dropped on Japan. One deranged colonel, one failure of a radar system, or one misreading of intentions could have led to events that destroyed the world. We were one blink away from destruction of life on earth. If there is any event in the history of world worthy of celebrating, it should be the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The fist time I saw the Berlin Wall

(Excerpt from The World is Flat, by Thomas L. Friedman, Chapter 2, The Ten Forces That Flattened the World)

The fist time I saw the Berlin Wall, it already had a hole in it.
It was December 1990, and I was traveling to Berlin with reporters covering Secretary of State James A Baker III. The Berlin Wall had been breached a year earlier, on November 9, 1989. Yes, in wonderful kabalistic accident of date, the Berlin Wall fell on 11/9.

The wall, even in its punctured and broken state, was still an ugly scar across Berlin. Secretary Baker was making his first visit to see this crumbled monument to Soviet Communism. I was standing next to him with a small group of reporter. “It was a foggy, overcast day,” Baker recalled in his Memoir, The Politics o f Diplomacy, “and in my raincoat, I felt like a character in a John le Carre’ novel. But as I peered through a crack in the wall [near the Reichstag] and saw the high-resolution drabness that characterized East Berlin, I realized that the ordinary men and women of East Germany, peaceful and persistently, had taken matters into their own hands. This was their revolution.”

After Baker finished looking through the wall and moved along, we reporter took turns peering, through the same jagged concrete hole. I brought a couple of chunks of the wall home for my daughters. I remember thinking how unnatural it looked-indeed, what a bizarre thing it was, this cement wall snaking across a modern city for the sole purpose preventing the people on the other side from enjoying, even glimpsing, freedom.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

This is the text of Ronald Reagan's remarks at the Brandenburg Gate, delivered on June 12, 1987, to the people of West Berlin. The speech was also audible on the east side of the Berlin wall.

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

(To see the full text of this famous speech, click here: Mr Gorbachev...)

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's Fred!

Fred Thompson has favorably impressed me from the first time I ever heard of him. From his role in bringing down the corrupt administration of Tennessee Governor Ray Blanton and getting justice for whistle blower Marie Ragghianti, to his role as minority counsel in the Watergate hearings, to his service as Tennessee Senator, I have liked Fred Thompson.

When Fred Thompson announced for President on the Jay Leno show, however, I was less than impressed. With my disgust with the Bush administration, I wanted to see someone who would distance himself from Bush. Thompson didn’t do it, but I guess that was just too much to expect from any Republican candidate seeking his Party's nomination. (see “Not Ready to Jump …")

Today, I watched Fred Thompson being interviewed by Tim Russert on Meet the Press and liked what I heard. I am supporting Fred Thompson for President.

On the social issues: He and I are in the same place. He is a social conservative but not a hardliner in the pocket of the religious right. He doesn’t pander. He said the Federal Government should never have gotten involved in the Terri Schiavo case. Amen, Fred!

He flatly stated he did not support the Republican Party platform plank that calls for passing a Right to Life Amendment to the Constitution. He opposes abortion but does not support a constitutional amendment to outlaw it. He thinks Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided and hopes someday it will be reversed. If it is, then no doubt many states will legalize abortion. He stated he believes in Federalism and the people of each state have the right to decide their states abortion policy. He also said that while he has always voted pro-life, that he admits that at times he has had doubts about the moment at which life begins. No doubt the most pro-life element in the Party will not be pleased with Fred’s response. Most people who consider themselves pro-life, I suspect, have a position closer to that of Thompson however, than to that of the pro-life activist.

On the issue of gay marriage, he said that while he believes marriage should be between a man and a women, if some state wants to define a marriage as a union of two people of the same sex, then that should be up to the people of that state.

On Foreign Policy: Fred said for now we need to stay the course in Iraq. Our policy is making progress. However, Fred does not become jingoistic and rattle sabers when talking about Iraq. He does not sound like a man on a crusade. He impresses me as someone who would be pragmatic and decide the best course of action as events unfold.

On Iran, he warned of the danger of a pre-emptive strike and said we need better intelligence and he was critical of the intelligence failure in Iraq. He said we should be doing more to support the moderate forces in Iran. While he said he would do all he could to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, I do not fear that a Fred Thompson Presidency would prematurely conduct a pre-emptive strike.

On these and other issues, I agreed with Thompson, but there are other issues that were not addressed. I do not know the details of Thompson’s position on other issues that I care about such as combating global warming or immigration reform. I may not agree with Thompson on every issue, but I don’t suspect there is anyone with whom I would agree 100% on every issue. As far as I am concerned however, I care as much about how someone thinks as what they may think.

Fred Thompson has the intelligence, the temperament, and the integrity to make a good president. I do not take caution and thoughtfulness as a sign of weakness. We have had enough cowboy politics; we do not need a knee-jerk ideologue who will shoot first and ask questions later. Fred Thompson’s thoughtful nuanced position will not play well with those who want a passionate hardliner. Anyone who finds policy-making easy, however, concerns me. The issues we face are tough. Certainty of the righteousness of one’s position, I do not see as a virtue. Thompson’s positions do not translate well to sound bites or slogans. Many of his positions do not fit neatly on a bumper sticker, but Fred Thompson is the kind of thoughtful, moderate, modest, conservative we need as President. He is reassuring. He is someone I could trust.

I am making my donation and putting a Thompson bumper sticker on my car.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories