In his message to Iowa caucus-goers posted on his website today former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson said some unusual things. He took on the radical groups — ACLU, MoveOn.org and NEA – that dominate the Democratic candidates’ thinking and reached out to Reagan Democrats. Here’s the money quote:
Because right now in this final weekend another issue is before us: that of electability.
I believe I am the only candidate in this race who can bring our party to victory in the Fall. First, because of the firmness of my principles and the trust that that engenders. Secondly, because of the detailed program I’ve put before the people. Third, because I’ve been tried and tested — and I’m a known quantity in public life.
But, most of all, I think I know how to talk to the American people about the opposition and the danger their victory would pose to the principles we hold dear.
You know in the last debate — when I was asked the biggest problem with American education — I had a ready answer: "The NEA."
By which I meant the National Education Association — that highly politicized, Washington-based union that is a hindrance to students as well as to the teachers it claims to represent.
But you know the NEA is not the only problem. Just like its education policy, the Democratic party’s foreign policy is heavily influenced by another left-of-center pressure group — Move On.org which implied that our leading general in Iraq betrayed us, that tells our men and women in uniform that the war they are fighting is lost, and then tries to cut off funds for our troops in the field.
And its social policy is heavily determined by the radically secularist ACLU — which tries to take God out of the public square and leaps to the legal defense of our Nation’s enemies.
You know, when I’m asked which of the current group of Democratic candidates I prefer to run against, I always say it really doesn’t matter. Because these days all those candidates, all the Democratic leaders, are one and the same. They’re all NEA, Move On.org, ACLU, Michael Moore Democrats. They’ve allowed these radicals to take control of their party and dictate their course.
So this election is important not just to enact our conservative principles. This election is important to salvage the once-great political party from the grip of extremism and shake it back to its senses. It’s time to give not just Republicans but independents and, yes, good Democrats a chance to call a halt to the leftward lurch of the once proud party of working people.
So in seeking the nomination of my own party, I want to say something a little unusual. I am asking my fellow Republicans to vote for me not only for what I have to say to them, but for what I have to say to the members of the other party — the millions of Democrats who haven’t left the Democratic party so much as their party’s national leadership has left them.
In this campaign I will be seeking the support of millions of Democrats who no longer believe that they can trust their own party’s leadership on the issue of national security.
I will be seeking the support of millions of Democrats with young families who are beginning to see the economic burdens they may face because of their party leadership’s taste for high taxes and politically motivated refusal to fix social security and remove the threat of a shortfall in federal benefit plans that could be a catastrophe for younger taxpayers.
And, finally, I’ll be seeking the support of Democrats who are weary of spin politics and the permanent campaign and endless attempts to control the media dynamic‑‑ who think policy stances ought to be judged on a higher criteria than what works better in a sound bite or fits this week’s campaign-message guidance.
So I’ll be asking good Democrats as well as Independents to give us another chance — to see if a Republican president and Congress that’s dedicated to conservative principles can move forward with an agenda that goes beyond narrow partisanship and political expediency and actually deals with the long-term foreign and domestic crises we face.
I know we can do better than a 14% approval rating the current Congress had. And I know we’ve learned our lessons from last year’s election. We’re the party of smaller, smarter government, lower taxes, and less Washington spending. And the only way we win is if we understand that, remain true to it, and refuse to yield to those who would have us abandon it.
Because right now in this final weekend another issue is before us: that of electability. I believe I am the only candidate in this race who can bring our party to victory in the Fall. First, because of the firmness of my principles and the trust that that engenders. Secondly, because of the detailed program I’ve put before the people. Third, because I’ve been tried and tested — and I’m a known quantity in public life. It’s 17 minutes long. And worth watching.