He’s In! **UPDATES**

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Even though he spoke the words much earlier during the Tonight Show’s taping, just moments ago, Americans heard it for the first time.  “I am running for President of the United States,” Fred told Jay Leno. 

If the audience in NBC’s Burbank studios represented a cross-section of the US, then Fred’s announcement is a welcome one.  The audience went wild.

I got the feeling Fred was a little tight just around the time he said he’s running.  He developed a distracting habit of slapping his thigh with his right hand at the end of every sentence, audibly enough that I missed the final word of several thoughts.  Hell, I’d be nervous, too.

His sense of humor is perfect.  “It’s a lot harder to get on the Tonight Show than to get into a presidential debate,” he said explaining why he skipped the New Hampshire debate.

After the break, Fred talked about the war on terror.  He said the kinds of things that, I think, we all wish President Bush had said and would say.  And balances his statements wonderfully.  When Jay Leno speculated as to why so many people around the world seem to hate America, Fred reminded him that part of that comes with being the most powerful and richest country in the history of the world.  He went on [paraphrasing], “I think we’re more unpopular than we need to be.  But  . . . our people have spilled more blood fought more battles for the freedom and liberty of other people than anyone else in the world, so I won’t apologize of our country.”  Thuderous applause.

Now, go watch the video at Fred08.com.  It’s you duty.

The Discerning Texan questions the venue Fred chose to announce.

**UPDATE** It appears Fred’s servers are overwhelmed by the demand for the video.   But don’t give up!  This is great news.  Everybody wants more of Fred. 

**UPDATE**  CNN.com has looping video of the Fred ’08 busses parked outside of a building.  This excellent streamcasting, people, the whole reason Al Gore invented the Internets. 

Maybe We Need a Lazy President

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The MSM are tripping over themselves to publish stories about Fred Thompson’s supposed laziness. Newsweek decided to make the accusation head on (from CNN.com):

[A]s he prepares to formally begin his campaign for the White House this week, after months of “testing the waters,” the conventional wisdom in Washington is that Thompson doesn’t want it badly enough, isn’t willing to work hard enough-put bluntly, that he is lazy. Newsweek: Grin and Bear It

The last “lazy” president we had was Ronald Reagan. For those of you too young or too senile to remember, Reagan’s laziness was the stuff of legend. I found this beauty from Ralph Nader’s web site, written in 1985:

At first I thought that House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill (D-Mass.) had unfurled the white flag of surrender at his post-inaugural meeting with President Ronald Reagan. O’Neill told the president that “in my 50 years of public life I’ve never seen a man more popular than you are with the American people.” This is the same Tip O’Neill who called Reagan lazy, cruel and uninformed at various times last year.

Contrast the images of Bill Clinton holding all night “wonk” session with these images of Reagan, who bragged about “burning the midday oil” and giving orders to the Secret Service that if a military crisis develops to wake him up “even if I’m in the middle of a Cabinet meeting.”

During his eight years in office, Reagan’s laziness resulted in curing inflation and stagflation, a 50 percent cut in the cost of gasoline, a mammoth cut in taxes, a rejuvenation of American pride, the rebirth of the American military, near-perfect victory over the Soviet Union, and freeing American business from a labor union strangle-hold (m/m).

Clinton, on the other hand, given the same amount of time managed to lose the Congress to Republicans for the first time in more than 30 years, pass sweeping Republican welfare reform, disspirit the military, and get a b.j. in the Oval Office. I’ll take lazy.

Getting back to the Newsweek article for a moment, it’s worth the read. I get the feeling that author Holly Baily set out to write a hit piece on Thompson designed to derail his campaign even before it starts. But, as so many journalists found when attacking Reagan, the story of the man turned her heart. For instance, Baily, here, attempts to demonstrate Thompson’s lazy selfishness at the Minnesota State Fair. In this scene, local politicians are impressing the former Senator with the fair’s Butter Princess–a statue of a woman made entirely of butter:

A Minnesota politician offers to introduce him to the sculptor. “No, no,” he demurs, trying to look disappointed. “I wouldn’t want to get in the way.” At the moment, Thompson is interested in only one thing-the giant strawberry milkshakes being sold a few yards away.

You gotta love it. Reagan, by the way, once refused to have his picture taken with a group of disabled kids during his 1975 run against Gerald Ford. Instead, after the press wandered off, Reagan rounded up the kids and spent half an hour talking and posing for private photos. He didn’t want to use their handicaps for his election.

Later, Baily treats us to what will likely become one of the defining stories of Fred Thompson.

He was interested in sports, and if Freddie Thompson wasn’t what you’d call a finesse player-he was a mess of arms and legs running with a ball-he managed to lead Lawrenceburg High to the state championships in basketball and football. Yet even on the field he was a clown. During one football game, Thompson took a hard tackle and didn’t get up. It looked as though he’d been knocked out. When his coach and teammates rushed over, Fred-die opened his eyes and grinned. “How’s the crowd taking it?” he asked. He kept still a few beats longer, then sprang to his feet and took in the cheers from the stands. Thompson was voted most outstanding athlete, but he never received the award. The school’s teachers, fed up with his classroom antics, demanded he be stripped of the prize.

I assure you that Bill Clinton was never stripped of a prize in high school without a fight to the Supreme Court. Fred Thompson simply moved on.

When Thompson begins campaigning in earnest, the qualities that some call laziness will pay big dividends. If a man or woman cannot do the job in a 60 hour week, then he or she cannot do the job at all. Clinton worked 120-hour weeks because the job was beyond him and he lacked focus. Reagan worked 40-hour weeks because he was larger than the job and focused on the important things.

I don’t know that Fred Thompson changed Holly Baily’s mind. She might have liked the guy before she began the article. What I do know is this: she likes him now. She and her contributors end the piece the way countless writers ended countless articles about Ronald Reagan. In fact, if I had Lexus/Nexus, I’ll bet I could make a case for plagiarism:

Thompson, who has already been president three times in the movies, is about to find out how much harder it is to play commander in chief when you don’t have a script.

Thompson Gaining Social Conservatives

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Boston.com reports that social conservatives are “coalescing” around Fred Thompson as their choice for Republican nominee for President in 2008.

“There’s a consensus developing around him that’s pretty clear and pretty profound,” said John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, an Orlando-based conservative group. “I’ve never seen anything like it in 25 years in politics.”

I agree. In 1979, as a high school sophomore with a National Review subscription, I became dissatisfied (for a short time) with the GOP. Don’t hunt me down and beat me, but I pulling for Ted Kennedy in October 1979.

The kid who sat in front of me in History, Jamie MacGauley, told me I was nuts. He said to find out more about Reagan. So I did.

It took about fifteen minutes for me to apologize to the universe for ever thinking Ted Kennedy was qualified for office higher than driving instructor.

Between October 1979 and June 1980, the Reagan tidal wave consumed me. Everywhere he went, he changed people’s hearts. He messed with people’s minds. Blue collar union guys from my neighborhood who never voted for a Republican in their lives were asking me if I had any more Reagan bumper stickers. I became the neighborhood clearinghouse for stickers and buttons.

Nineteen-Hundred Eighty was a wonderful year.

I get the same feeling about Thompson. He doesn’t have the worst president in history to run against, but he does have the opportunity to run a positivist campaing. The Democrats can’t. They have to paint America as a toilet, a cesspool of evil and greed, because that’s what Democrat believe.

Thompson can beam hope, optimism, and future. He can swell the hearts of millions who know America is a great country but feel pressured to criticize her becaue of the liberal, anti-American culture.

That’s why I’m for Fred: I want my fucking country back.