Fred Thompson has quietly tiptoed to the top of the polls among potential republican candidates. He’s gotten tons of free media by “considering” running, and avoided too much scrutiny by staying of the campaign trail and out of the debates. He polls well in part due to his acting career, playing a district attorney on Law and Order. The strong but politically mindful DA seems like an affable guy, although his real positions on the issues are still largely unpublicized.

Thompson’s columns provide some insight. He has in fact been quite prolific recently (it almost suggest a ghost writer and the needed for publicity before a campaign.) His leanings are actually a bit more … extreme … than his grandfatherly appearance and acting job would suggest.

Thompson favors a ridiculously high amount Presidential Power. He suggests that “there was nothing wrong with firing eight U.S. attorneys.” That’s a minority opinion to be sure. The Justice Department seems to have involved political calculations in its firing decisions, a no-no. The runaround congress received in its investigation showed an indifference to checks and balances, and neared perjury. Thompson however, considers these firings routine presidential decisions, and objects to the congressional meddling. His call for a “strong president” makes one a little wary to give him the seat of power.

You can take pride in American power, but Thompson goes a step further. Unilateral action is sometimes necessary, but world regard is an important component of US foreign policy. Happy allies are needed to facilitate military action, to further our global goals diplomatically, and to bolster the power of our military deterrent effect. Countries are imperfect, and some are even hypocritical in their complaints to America. Thompson, however, goes too far in suggesting that “we ought to look at a lot of the complaints as a badge of honor.” Angering the world as much as the USA does isn’t exactly honorable, even if it isn’t despicable in every instance.

Iranian proliferation is a serious global concern, one that requires nuance and caution. So far diplomacy has only provided a shield under which nuclear development has continued. However, a military strike, for numerous reasons, would fail. It is unlikely a strike would destroy all the Iranian nuclear program, it would enflame the middle east, damage global oil supplies, in the end risking a massive increase in terrorism, and a collapse of the global economy. An attack may one day be necessary, may be able to be pulled off without catastrophe. However, for now the crisis is not that urgent, and America needs a more nuanced approach. Perhaps a future leader shouldn’t off handedly suggest that it is futile “sit down across the table from these guys.”

It’s early, and if he finally decides to officially run, Fred Thompson will have plenty of time to explain his positions. However, early indications indicate he is a bit more hawkish than his TV persona might lead people to believe.

See Michael Field’s Blog at  

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