Many conservatives here, myself included, supported Fred Thompson early in the campaign for President because of his positions on our foundational documents and the paramount role they should occupy in the governance of our country.
That said, I think a lot of folks missed the point, possibly with some justification, that the battle wasn’t about him or the other candidates but about whether or not we will choose a government actually guided by those first, most fundamental principles he enumerated. These foundational documents and the principles they embodied were and are the Original Contract with America. As we consider our political future and the candidates we will choose to represent us, I think these first principles are worth revisting now without FT the candidate.
One thing about folks knowing you are going to speak at the Council for National Policy, you get lots of advice as to what to say. A lot of good advice. Good talking points. In fact enough for several speeches. Also, some of your friends, knowing that you are thinking about running for President, urge you to give a rousing campaign speech. Hopefully there will be an opportunity to do all of those things but tonight instead of all of that, I want to talk a little about what should be the origin of all those talking points. This would be the principles on which they are based — first principles. The principles you have been defending since 1981. For Americans, these are found in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. They include a recognition of God and the fact there are certain rights that come from Him and not the government. They are based upon a respect for the wisdom of the ages, and a belief that human beings are prone to err; that too much power must never rest in too few hands. The result is a system of checks and balances and a separation of powers that flow from our guiding documents and from the rule of law. Finally, if we want to change or alter these concepts or any provision in the Constitution, we are given a specific method to do that — by Constitutional Amendment.
Thompson enumerated his First Principles here, in September 27, 2007.
·Individual Liberty– As Jefferson spelled out in the Declaration of Independence, our basic rights come from God, not from government, and that among these inalienable rights is the right to liberty. We must allow individuals to lead their lives with minimal government interference.
·*Personal Responsibility *-The corollary to liberty is responsibility. No society can succeed and thrive for any duration unless free people act in a responsible way. All of us must take responsibility for our actions and strive to improve our own lives and to contribute to building a better society.
·Free Markets– Free people are best equipped to order their own affairs, and the common interest benefits from and is improved by the aggregate success of all. We must reform our tax system, encourage investment, support entrepreneurial spirit, open markets abroad to American goods, and minimize burdensome government regulations to continue to expand the economy and bring increased wealth to all Americans give.
·*Limited Government *– Government must be strong enough to protect us, competent enough to provide basic government services, but limited by the delineated powers in the Constitution.
·Federalism – Our Constitution innovatively guarantees our liberties by spreading power among the three branches of the federal government, and between the federal government and the states. In considering any action by the government, we must always ask two questions: is the government better equipped than the private sector to perform the task and, if so, what level of government (federal or state) ought to do it. Washington is not the seat of all wisdom.
·*Protecting our Country *– The first responsibility of the federal government is to protect the nation and the American people. There is no more important task. We must have a strong and effective military, capable intelligence services, and a vigorous law enforcement and homeland security capacity.
·*Traditional American Values *– A healthy society is predicated on belief in God; respect for all life; strong families centered on the institution of marriage-the union of a man and a woman; and self-respect and tolerance of others. While we are all free to live our lives in the pursuit of our own happiness, the government has a responsibility to respect the right of parents to raise their children and to promote the values that produce the strongest society.
·*The Rule of Law *– We protect our liberty, secure our rights, and promote a just and stable society through the rule of law. We owe to ourselves and our fellow citizens our own adherence to the rules, but tough law enforcement and punishment for those who do not. A free and independent judiciary that interprets the law by adhering strictly to legal text and respects its limited role in our system of government is essential to our security and freedom, and we need judges who understand that role if we are to preserve our republic and freedom.
·*Conserving Our Nation’s Resources *– Each of us is put on Earth for a limited period of time. We must always strive to ensure that the resources we use to lead our lives are here for future generations to enjoy and use as well.
I think it is worth noting the vitriol with which this message he was bearing was attacked. Remember, this was Setember ’07.
12 Responses to “Fred Thompson- Defining His First Principles” #12 of 12 – by Opinionated
“…I find running in this day and age on such “principles”- and nothing else- insulting. They have in practice nothing to do with real life and real issues that are on the Presidents desk. Some are hypocritical and contradictory on their face.
They are manna to the knee jerk base.
They are a sure loser in the General.
Translation: Just win. Any way you can. Attain and hold political power, principles be damned. Conservatism is a loser. You’ve got to pander and bribe your way to political power. This is the same conventional wisdom we now hear intimated daily as the so called media conservatives and beltway denizens dissect Republican losses in the most recent election cycle.
Moderate, RINO, political consultant, troll, jerk, whatever… it doesn’t matter who said it. This was then, and is now, how First Principles were greeted by many R’s(so called) as well as the media and our political opponents.. It wasn’t Fred they were afraid of, they fear these First Principles. They fear the Original Contract with America. Their orgy of self importance and gluttony on the taxpayer’s dime would be over if these first principles were to gain a toehold in government. Can’t have that now can we?
The unasked questions these statements inherently raise are; *Will we, as citizens of this nation, continue to allow our elected representatives to breach this contract between the American people and our government, as established in those foundational documents and guided by these enumerated principles, or will we demand that they honor all its’ tenets, the rule of law, and not just the convenient ones? And will Republicans once again embrace and defend the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the *Original Contract with America, as they have sworn to do? **
Conservative? Yes. Hewing to the Original Contract with America is conservative by definition. It is not the mantra of moderate, bipartisan, self aggrandizing, rent seeking, Republican(RINO) politicians. The only defining characteristic I can see that moderate politicians have is their careerism.
If you wish to hold moderate political beliefs in your personal life, that is your perogative and the Constitution was intended to protect that perogative. But the people who are entrusted with the duty to see that your rights and my rights and the rights of all others are protected have answered a higher calling and swear a solemn oath to uphold and protect the Original Contract with America as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and by God, I expect them to do their sworn duty. If they have not, can not, or will not honor the oath they have sworn, they do not deserve one American’s support and will most certainly not get mine.