WASHINGTON - Republican presidential contender Fred Thompson swipes at GOP rival Rudy Giuliani in a speech he plans to give Monday night on the former New York mayor's home turf.
"Some think the way to beat the Democrats in November is to be more like them. I could not disagree more," the one-time Tennessee senator says in remarks he is to deliver to the Conservative Party of New York.
"I believe that conservatives beat liberals only when we challenge their outdated positions, not embrace them. This is not a time for philosophical flexibility, it is a time to stand up for what we believe in," Thompson adds.
He doesn't mention Giuliani in excerpts made available to The Associated Press, but he's clearly trying to draw a contrast with the rival who's leading in national Republican polls.Giuliani was once a Democrat. Unlike Thompson, the New Yorker backs abortion rights and gay rights. And, the ex-mayor's central argument for Republicans to nominate him is that he gives them the most likely shot to win in the general election.
A Cato podcast today is about the populists of the Republican party. Cato asks the question, "How safe are free market ideas in today's Republican party?" Steven Silvinski thinks the debates are a preview of the remaking of the Republican party. He says that none of the Republican candidates are delivering "limited government, limited entitlement" messages. Nowadays, the candidates must be able to raise a lot of money and run a long endurance race to get elected regardless of principles. Cato thinks opportunistic candidates reading polls will not be free market Republicans. They say Huckabee, Hunter, and Tancredo represent a growing portion of the Republican base who are skeptical of free trade and a free market.
Cato has also been watching Hillary lately. It will be hard for any candidate to "out-populist" that Democratic candidate: Hillary would have the Federal government give $5,000 for every child and match every $1,000 in savings. Of course, this wealth redistribution would come from increased taxes on those who actually pay taxes and the matching savings funds would be paid for by an increase on the Estate (Death) Tax which is already slated to return to 55% in the next few years.
Thompson may be the best conservative in the race but he certainly hasn't run the best campaign. He waited too long to enter the race and is seen as a threat to too many. He is criticized from all corners on issues from his health to his age and IQ.
Thompson is at his best when he is delivering a traditional, conservative message ala Ronald Reagan and like Reagan, he is dismissed as a lightweight without substance or a grasp of the issues. Fred Thompson is a long shot, but it is good to have his voice in the campaign if only as a down-the-road reminder to Republicans that they had the opportunity to move in a different direction.
It looks as if the Republican nomination is Rudy Giuliani's to lose. Will a President Giuliani hold the line on Federal spending or will he let the nanny state grow? Will his reputation for being tough on crime carry over to fiscal responsibility or should we all be hiding our wallets?
It appears that America is moving toward the nanny state regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats are elected. Democrats may simply get us there quicker.