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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Richard Viguerie's back-handed endorsement of Fred Thompson

Some decent-sized and particularly annoying percentage of my email spam comes from Richard A. Viguerie, who's a prominent example of the species of self-appointed über-conservatives who claim a monopoly on being able to vet other conservatives. The only half-sentence of his new anti-Fred Thompson screed (h/t Ramesh Ponnuru) that you need to read is this one, which comes from somewhere in the middle (when he's actually looking at Thompson's voting record as a senator):

Fred Thompson’s record may appear to be "conservative," but only by comparison with Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, or Mitt Romney ....

One of those four men is going to be the Republican nominee for president in 2008. And I'm 98% sure that it won't be John McCain, so we're really only talking about three of them. For those of us conservatives who live in the real world (instead of Viguerie's paranoid fantasy world), we'll almost certainly be choosing among Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson for the Republican nomination. The winner will be pitted against either Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or John Edwards. If the likes of Viguerie can't get their minds around that — if they can't recognize that this is a multiple-choice test with a limited number of options — then they've guaranteed that they'll never be more than irrelevant annoyances to the GOP and to national (i.e., non-academic, non-think-tank, and non-consultancy) political conservatism generally.

(It's not that I'm against all academic, think-tank, or consultant conservatives either. It's just that I recognize that they make up, oh, something like 0.00003% of American voters, or maybe 0.00006% of American conservatives.)

If you're wondering why I describe Viguerie as living in a paranoid fantasy-world, just note that his website — following the title of his latest book (currently ranked No. 51,059 on Amazon, only slightly above the hot-selling Amigurumi!: Super Happy Crochet Cute (Paperback)) — is www.conservativesbetrayed.com. If you're wondering how Viguerie became a spammer, recall that his background is actually as a political direct mail advertising salesman. And if you're wondering how Fred Thompson in particular got Viguerie's panties in such a wad, here's a broad hint, taken directly from Viguerie's rant:

Where are the long-time conservative activists today around Fred Thompson? Not campaign consultants who sell themselves to the highest bidder at campaign auctions. No, dedicated and recognized conservative thinkers and activists who will work only for truly conservative politicians.

Go ahead, try and name one. And if conservatives were not part of his inner circle before he started running for the presidency, we cannot expect him to have conservatives in his inner circle if he gets elected. And in politics, personnel is policy.

Translation: Fred hasn't sufficiently flattered, or better yet (from the latter's viewpoint) hired, Richard Viguerie or his "long-time conservative activist" buddies. Therefore, ipso facto, Fred isn't a "real conservative" (as defined by Richard Viguerie and his buddies). And I guess by that standard, as a mere blogger, I'm probably not "conservative enough" for Viguerie either. (I need a very, very small hankie to dry my tears that this realization prompted. Oh, wait ... never mind — those weren't tears, it was mist from the Diet Coke I just opened.)

By recognizing, in the sentence I've quoted at the beginning of this post, that Fred Thompson's record is more consistently conservative than Giuliani's, McCain's, or Romney's, Viguerie is actually giving Thompson a back-handed endorsement. But then, for those of us who've compared their records, it's not like we ever needed Viguerie to tell us that Thompson's record is more conservative.

And records aren't everything. Current positions and promises do matter. So, too, does electability and its necessary component, grace under sustained pressure. I'm still looking at all three of the realistic GOP contenders to evaluate those aspects of their candidacies. And that's particularly why I'm eager for Fred to formally declare and to put himself into the trenches and under the spotlights. If he meets my expectations and hopes on those non-record aspects, then his record is certainly conservative enough for me that I'd have no hesitation, and indeed that I'd have great enthusiasm, in voting for him over any of the potential Democratic nominees.

That's the real world, Mr. Viguerie. Now that I've pretty deliberately insulted you, would you take me off your email lists? Please?

Posted by Beldar at 07:50 PM in 2008 Election, Politics (2007) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Richard Viguerie's back-handed endorsement of Fred Thompson and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» (Insufficiently) Right Said Fred? from damnum absque injuria

Tracked on Jul 10, 2007 9:03:52 PM

» Viguerie Conservatives Meet in Phone Booth from Outside The Beltway | OTB

Tracked on Jul 11, 2007 1:15:12 PM

» Fredheads from Can't See the Center

Tracked on Jul 11, 2007 3:08:11 PM

» Who Made Viguerie the Conservative Kingmaker? from ElephantBiz

Tracked on Jul 13, 2007 1:42:40 PM


(1) Leon Dixon made the following comment | Jul 10, 2007 8:05:11 PM | Permalink

Former Congressman David McIntosh has enlisted into the Fred Thompson campaign as an advisor. David is a remarkable conservative with many accomplishments. So, one has been named.

(2) The Drill SGT made the following comment | Jul 11, 2007 11:21:11 AM | Permalink

I'm more of a RINO than a social conservative, so take this for what it's worth.

Arguably, Fred is to the right of the other 3 REPs and of course all of the DEMs.

In that position, he just needs to hold the right and keep edging left as the race continues to Nov 2008. Think NASCAR. No reason to veer right when all the tracks are laid out with banked left turns :)

(3) John made the following comment | Jul 11, 2007 12:42:48 PM | Permalink

Don't forget Viguerie was attacking Ronald Reagan over 25 years ago for not being conservative enough to suit him. From a column last year by Bob Novak:

In response to conservative activist Richard Viguerie's May 21 op-ed in The Washington Post charging that President George W. Bush has "betrayed" the conservative base, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has sent supporters a compilation of Viguerie's attacks on President Ronald Reagan.

Reagan had been president only seven days when Viguerie compared him to Jimmy Carter, based on his Cabinet selections. The RNC found Viguerie attacks on Reagan throughout his administration, including a 1983 statement that he would not support him for re-election because the president was too soft on the Soviet Union. "The conservative movement is directionless," Viguerie said near the end of Reagan's eight years.

So basically, Viguerie is like Mikey in the old Life cereal commercials: He hates everything.

(4) Crust made the following comment | Jul 11, 2007 12:49:19 PM | Permalink

"[W]e'll almost certainly be choosing among Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson for the Republican nomination."

Why? There's still a mighty long time till the primary. I don't see why Huckabee or Gingrich or someone else couldn't win. If Viguerie wants to declare a pox on all the houses prominently on offer, he should at least cite someone he likes, though.

(5) Vatar made the following comment | Jul 11, 2007 2:01:22 PM | Permalink

If they keep on about how Fred is a liberal, he is going to end up with half the Democrat vote too.

(6) David Blue made the following comment | Jul 11, 2007 5:36:02 PM | Permalink

Richard A. Viguerie talks a lot about the abortion issue, and finishes:

"Conservatives, let’s keep our powder dry. The GOP has taken us for granted in supporting their political agenda. Conservatives should make candidates come to us, and let’s make them prove that they are worthy of our support."

That doesn't follow, because it's irresponsible.

Playing the pretty girl who drives the guys crazy because she's so hard to court may be fun, but only if you are that desirable and only if you've got nothing to lose if there's no deal. You need to be able to say: "Go off and fool with some girl who's easier to get along with - see if I care!"

So, you have to disclaim responsibility for political results. If the result of your playing hard to get is a hostile presidency and a slew of hard core pro-choice judicial appointments, that's not your main problem, because your top issue is whether you are being courted enough or whether you are being taken for granted.

That's what I mean by calling this position irresponsible.

The whole point of being a pro-lifer is that innocent and defenseless human beings are being killed, and we should do something to stop that or reduce it, or at least hinder its expansion. Therefore, results are needed, and the irresponsible hard to get game is unacceptable.

Deals must be cut, allies won and maintained, compromises accepted and imperfections passed over. Flexibility, patience and reasonableness are vital for political results (though people don't always realize that at first), and for genuine pro-lifers, results are needed. It's a matter of life and death.

I'm not on the same page with anyone who implicitly claims to be speaking for what pro-lifers should and shouldn't accept who doesn't seem to get that.

(7) Sam made the following comment | Jul 12, 2007 1:04:01 PM | Permalink

Thanks for the link to "Amigurumi," much more interesting and relevant than this Viguerie nincompoop.

(8) Drew made the following comment | Jul 12, 2007 9:22:07 PM | Permalink

If someone shot Viguerie, and left him in the middle of the road where he was run over by a bus, the Medical Examiner would want to know if the brakes on the bus failed.

After 25 years of putting up with his crap, isn't about time we just gave him the old shun?

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