Provocateuring, Critical Thinking, and Fred Thompson

I was cruising RCP reading some of the articles submitted by amateurs, such as myself. There is a surprising amount of insight in many of them. There was one in particular that jumped out at me. It was written by Mike Volpe, at his website "The Provocateur" here on Blogspot. It's a fairly concise post titled
Right Blogoshpehere Demeans, Distorts, and Demagogues vis a vis Fred Thompson. , nicely written, but here's where I had some problems with it.

Mr. Volpe first takes issue of right wing blogs "attacking" the different conservative candidates. I.E. Michelle Malkin on Huckabee, McCain, and Giuliani with illegal immigration, and Rick Moran of the Right Wing Nuthhouse's review of Mike Huckabee. He goes on to say,"Now, I couldn't believe how scathing this piece was. After all, even if you don't support Huckabee, why would a fellow conservative treat him with such venom?"
My response was,"Huh?" Agreed, not the smartest thing I could have come up with, but can you understand my confusion? This is just the primary season, it is the time when the ranks of the party divide into perspective camps. From centrists, to far right wingers, and everything in between. Why WOULDN'T there be criticism and scathing reviews by people who do not support these other candidates. This is politics, there are no niceties, it is all out war. If a candidate cannot take issue from his or her own party then how will they fair against their real competition? Beyond that, how will he face up to the realities of the world and the enemies this country has?

We are conservatives, some moderate, some extreme, but in the end conservatives. We tout ourselves as the one's who use reason and intellect, not feel good tactics. If you follow the conservative dogma, then you will use your cognizance to determine your candidate. Trying to convince others that he is in fact the man for President. If you are and worried about people attacking your candidate's political record then I suggest you find a party that likes sitting around a campfire singing Kumbaya, holding hands, and eating marshmallows. By my definition that is not the conservative Republican party.

The next line that, naturally, caught my eye was this, "The fact is that most of the candidates, short of Fred Thompson, have at one time or another been treated with unbelievably venom on the right blogosphere."
[1] Absolutely, couldn't agree more. This is mainly because right wing bloggers tend to be fervent conservatives. Now, this, is in fact, a matter of opinion and I have no hard data to back up this claim. The blogs I read, mostly have a favorable review of Senator Thompson's record as a conservative. This does not mean they support him, it just means they like most of his politics. If they did not support him I would not whine about it. If he comes under attack I will defend him based on his record. As I have already pointed out, this is the nature of the primaries.

This next part really had me scratching my head. Mr. Volpe states, "Therein lies the rub. Thompson has no record. He served undistinguished in the Senate for a few years. Big deal. That is why I would never support him. To me, a few years as an undistinguished Senator doesn't qualify anyone for the most powerful office in the world. I could care less what their position on anything is. Anyone's record is easy to attack. That's if they have a record. Thompson has no record. He only has campaign promises." Interesting, because by my analysis he has a record and it is not an easy one to attack. Do a Google search on any of his issues he voted on and cross reference it against his campaign promises. It will give you a clearer picture of what the Senator stands for. Now, with that in mind. Does a lack of air time qualify a person as having no record or being undistinguished? I would say not. In fact the opposite is true. If a candidate is out there just buying up camera time, it is simply to get their face into everyone's head. Marketing 101. That is not an automatic pass for their stances on issues nor does it lend any depth to their campaign.

Mr. Volpe also had this to say, "To me, a few years as an undistinguished Senator doesn't qualify anyone for the most powerful office in the world."
[1] What qualifies Giuliani? Why is he so special? He was Associate Deputy Attorney General and chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Harold "Ace" Tyler during the Ford administration. In the Reagan administration he was named Associate Attorney General, the third-highest position in the Department of Justice. He was a mayor, albeit of a very large city, 8.2 million people. He cleaned up the city, lowered some taxes, and made New Yorkers feel good about being New Yorkers again. That's nice. Where does any of this qualify him to be this nation's President? Sounds to me like he would make a great Attorney General. He also has some notoriety with his name. If that is a qualifier for President than let's vote in Paris Hilton. In contrast look at Thompson's federal record. First off he was a Senator, obviously. But while serving he was a member and Chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, for eight years was a member of the Finance Committee, and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Early in his career he was also minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee and assistant United States attorney in Nashville. Thompson has a vast record on fighting government waste and abuse, lowering taxes, and a plethora of experience in dealing with national security problems. Uh-oh, this looks like a political record and one that might qualify him as a feasible nominee for President.

Now the above paragraph is not intent on comparing Giuliani to Thompson, or even to state that Thompson is better suited to be the Republican nominee. This is just an example of some of the procedures that I used to conclude my support for the Senator. Before his arrival on the primary scene I was going to put my support in with Giuliani. I realized, upon investigation of his past and his attitude toward politics I was going to have to make some concessions with my philosophies. Then Thompson came along. The evidence I drew from showed me, that as a conservative, his ideology is the closest to mine.

Next problem I have with Mr. Volpe's opinion is how he draws his conclusions, "No one even comes close to Rudy in terms of the things I am looking for and thus a deep analysis of anyone's record is unnecessary."
[1] Okay, he has followed his career, he knows alot about Giuliani and his policies, again, that's nice. Where is the application of critical thought? What does he really know about the other candidates? Is it better to sit with your head in the sand and just go with the status quo? Or, see how your candidate matches up against the issues and other potential nominees? It is okay to be in a "comfort zone" with your candidate. But is sounds like this is an emotional choice rather than a logical one, which in my opinion is both irresponsible and faulty.

Mr. Volpe goes on, "The same cannot be said of Thompson supporters. Every single other candidate's record has been hyper analyzed by Thompson supporters for any hint of something that they would consider unforgivable."
[1] Yes, their records have been hyper analyzed and good on the Thompson supporters for doing it. Most of the them came to their conclusions based on his record versus the records of the other candidates. They have educated themselves in the a murky sea of political diatribe and drawn a logical assessment of what they want in a candidate. Did I miss the memo that questioning the viability and claims made by a nominee is a bad thing now? I was not aware we had gone to listening to the idiot box, the MSM, or the taking a candidate at his or her word as the only source of information.

"That seems to be the conventional wisdom on the right blogosphere over the last few weeks. The Thompson campaign would be doing better if only the MSM gave him a fair shake. What a bunch of nonsense? Since when did the MSM ever decide a Republican primary?"
[1] I do have an issue with this, not because there is some vast left wing MSM conspiracy against Thompson. But is it not out of the realm of possibility that because the Senator is so conservative, they do not want to touch him with a ten foot pole. If I were a Democratic strategist, I would use my contacts in the MSM and try to manipulate the field to get a Republican nominated that I know that I could beat. It would be politically naive and reprehensible to think that this sort of thing does not happen. Look at the list of Clinton plants, Perot back in the 90's, and even Nader, to some point, in the 2000's. Now, I am not just saying it is the Dems who solely practice the art of dirty politics. Republicans have demonstrated that they are more than capable of this mischief, as well.

In closing this dissertation of a post I will say. This has not been a personal attack on Mr Volpe. This has been a critique of his post, his conclusions, and how he arrived at them. As always, I will try and leave you with this, use your cognitive abilities, study the empirical data, do not just jump to conclusions. There is a vast amount of information out there on any potential candidate. The true challenge is wading through the muck and mire to get to some sort of semblance of the truth.


mike volpe said...

Mike Volpe, the Provocateur here.

Let me defend myself a bit.

First, let's talk about Rudy. Rudy wasn't merely a mayor and a prosecutor previous to that. He was one of the greatest mayors of all time and before that one of the greatest prosecutors of all time.

Rudy walked into NYC when it was referred to as ungovernable and he walked out with NYC as the safest big city in the country. That is nothing short of stunning.

Prior to that he prosecuted and convicted so many mafioso that they were crippled and they put a hit on Rudy.

Thus, this isn't merely having a record but a remarkable record and comparing that record to any other candidate, you find that Rudy stands out by far.

That is what I meant about Rudy.

As for the vicious attacks. Yes, I have a serious problem with an incessant amount of hit pieces penned by conservatives directed at other conservatives. Furthermore, I have an even bigger problem when those hit pieces are penned by folks looking to prop up their own candidate by trying to destroy other candidates. You just aren't going to find supporters of other candidates using their blogs to viciously and incessantly attack the rest of the field the way that Thompson supporters use their blogs to attack the candidate that happens to be getting play at any given moment. When Rudy was leading, I saw the same sort of vicious attacks against him. I can't count the number of times Thompson supporters boldly and ridiculously proclaimed that Rudy was no different than Hillary. What a bunch of nonsense? Now, I am watching Huckabee get the same treatment. It happens for the same reason. You all can't believe someone beside your guy is leading, and thus you have to tear into him, and yes, I have a problem with that.

Like I said anyone with a long record can be hyperanalyzed.

As for Thompson, who cares how he voted on anything. Voting is a following maneuver. Presidents must be leaders not followers. Thompson took absolutely no leadership role on anything in the Senate and thus his time there is undistinguished.

Again, it is one thing to govern, like Huckabee, Romney, and Rudy, and another thing to cast votes like Thompson. It is very easy to be a pure conservative when all you do is vote.

Try putting pieces of legislation together the way that McCain has done his Senatorial career and then of course you wind up looking a lot less Conservative. That's because in order to get your legislation to become law you have to make compromises. Those compromises make you and the legislation look less Conservative. Since Thompson never actually did any thing like that it is easy for him to be look like the only true conservative.

As for the main stream media, it is ludicrous to say that they hold any sway in determining voting patterns by Republican primary voters. We, Republican primary voters, trust the MSM about as much as Brittney Spears trusts drug recovery clinics. The reason he gets no exposure isn't because of some conspiracy but because he doesn't matter. Why would anyone cover someone struggling for ten percent in any state or national poll? Huckabee surged to the lead with absolutely no money, no organization, and certainly no media exposure. If he can do it, why are Thompson supporters complaining that he doesn't get enough coverage. Huckabee wasn't getting any more media coverage when he was mired in fourth place than Thompson gets now.

CriticalThinker said...

Great retort Mike, I like it. But now on to the show.

He was a mayor of New York. So that is a great reason to make him President? Okay, so he can run Norway. It is a welfare state like New York with about the same population. Problem is this is not Norway. Let me guess his foreign policy experience is reliant on dealing with Canadians? Those darn Cannucks are always giving us trouble. Secondly, the psychology to run a city is completely different than running a country. Giuliani is also very dictatorial. Not the mark of a great leader at all. How do you think he will fair when he has 2 other forms of government to keep him in check. The New York city council bent to his will. Congress for all of its faults is no where near the New York city council. He will implode. Do you think that Bush has pushed the powers of the President to the limit? If it is President Giuliani you ain't seen nuthin' yet. Rudy stands out to me as a despot, nothing more. He had a reputation, as a prosecutor, of not being willing to compromise, stubborn, and unbending. Great for a lawyer not great for a leader. Rudy's record is not that impressive as far as a Presidential candidate is concerned. He has the makings of a great Attorney General, and who ever the next President is to be will do well to offer him the position. I am sorry, but that is Giuliani's glass ceiling.

Now on to these "attacks." Wow, why don't we all just play nice then? Grow up man, if your candidate does not have the record to stand up to the onslaught, oh well. If Thompson does not have the record then he will fall to the wayside, also. But you don't hear me bellowing about it. I offer his record, the man, and his potential to be a thoughtful and intellectual leader. If that is not good enough for America than it is America's loss and I did my part. Part of politics is competition, maybe you have heard of it. This is the one time the candidates of the same party square off against each other and let their pasts speak for themselves. The only two things in my mind that are off limits are family and blatant lies. I have not seen either of those two lines crossed in this primary. You are acting like there has been this incisive mud slinging. Where is it? So, what if they do not endorse Rudy, Romney, Huckabee or McCain. They shouldn't offer why they do not? How is it an attack to look at a man or woman's past voting record, compare it with the issues that are sacred to you, and then see how they match up? Show me where that is an attack? My God, you are acting like this the 2000 Republican primaries, or the 2004 Democratic primaries, or the 2004 Presidential election. Where is the Swift Boat, where is the Bush Lied, People Died crap, and so on? That qualifies as an ad hominem attack, criticizing someone's record is politics.

Now, on to your comment about Thompson. You wrote "As for Thompson, who cares how he voted on anything. Voting is a following maneuver. Presidents must be leaders not followers. Thompson took absolutely no leadership role on anything in the Senate and thus his time there is undistinguished." But, before I pointed out his record you said, "Therein lays the rub. Thompson has no record." Which is it now, he has no record? Or, is It, who cares how he voted? You sound confused by the evidence presented. Actually, Thompson did have leadership roles, "Chairman" of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. You know the one that deals with the intelligence assets of the country?

Voting a following maneuver? Wow, you are grasping here. Voting is explicitly a measure of where you stand and gives you no where to hide when it comes under scrutiny. This is one of the reasons no Senator has been elected in the past however many years. They say one thing and their voting record comes available and they are caught in their lies. Thompson is not having that problem; his voting record is matching up fairly well to his stances. So in a sea of people who are trying to portray themselves as something they are not, Thompson is holding to his beliefs. Sounds like the earmark of a pretty good leader to me.

"Since Thompson never actually did any thing like that it is easy for him to be look like the only true conservative." I really got a good laugh out of this one. May I make a suggestion? If you want a good argument, get some facts and look into the background before you start spouting. This is lacking candor and is very disingenuous. Here I will even help you out, Do not worry it is an independent site not linked to any candidates. For a sidebar, let us discuss the same website which goes into great detail about Giuliani's "quotes." No votes on anything, just campaign promises and ideas, no substance. Out of the 24 or so possible choices, not one measurable thing to gauge Giuliani's stances to his past actions. Just words.

Well, I guess that is enough for now.

Thanks for stopping by,your input is always welcomed. Also, you get the rant of the week award.

mike volpe said...

Your response is full of ironies. Where to start, where to start...

First, if we are to believe you, Rudy's plethora of accomplishments as mayor are to be ignored because the city he runs is in YOUR OPINION too much like a nanny state. Do you have any idea how ironic it is to call the center of the world's CAPITALISM, the home of the biggest and most successful market, the place where every pure capitalist wants to end up, too much like a nanny state?

How is NYC too much like a nanny state, and more importantly how is it anymore of a nanny state than the entire United States? After all, we have such nanny state programs here as Social Security, welfare, Medicare, unemployment, etc. The United States itself is full of nanny state programs. How is it any less of a nanny state than NYC.

Second, I never said anything about economics at all. I was talking about his general leadership of the city. He walked it and it was so crime ridden that it was said to be "ungovernable" and he walked out making it the safest big city in the country.

That has nothing to do with economics, though his economic policy was excellent. Here is how the Club for Growth evaluated it...

"Mayor Giuliani's economic record is not perfect, but he deserves credit for the remarkable nature of his accomplishments," Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said. "In a city long accustomed to high taxes and ballooning budgets, Rudy Giuliani successfully cut taxes; kept spending below the growth of inflation and population; instituted sweeping welfare reform; privatized and deregulated many aspects of the city's bulky bureaucracy; and fought aggressively for school choice."

Now, I would have looked up Thompson's record on the economy however it isn't really fair to compare Rudy and Thompson is it. After all, Rudy lead a city whereas Thompson merely voted on bills.

Not according to you, apparently to you, there is no difference between a Senator that spends their entire career voting on other people's bills like Thompson, and crafting, leading, and creating legislation.

The only reach is your absurd and naive view of politics in which you think that a voting record means anything if the voter voted strictly on other people's bills.

The problem is that if we had 100 Senators like Thompson there would be no bills to vote on because there would be no leaders like McCain. To compare Thompson and McCain is the height of amateurish analysis. McCain lead the way in creating new legislation, whereas Thompson waited for legislation to hit his desk and then decided which one he liked. Now, if you think there is no difference, then you are the one reaching.

Then, you point me to a site and say don't worry it is independent. First of all, why is it independent, and second, who cares?

In other words, in your mind Thompson is better because some obscure site says he is. Then, you have the nerve to say I am reaching.


Copyright © Politics and Critical Thinking Design by BTDesigner | Blogger Theme by BTDesigner | Powered by Blogger