When Fred Thompson makes his long-delayed entrance into the Republican presidential race, he will not tiptoe quietly. Instead, he will try to shake up the establishment candidates of both parties by depicting a nation in peril from fiscal and security threats -- and prescribing tough cures that he says others shrink from offering.
In a two-hour conversation over coffee at a restaurant near his Virginia headquarters, the former senator from Tennessee said that when he joins the battle next month, he "will take some risks that others are not willing to take, in terms of forcing a dialogue on our entitlement situation, our military situation and what it's going to cost" to ensure the nation's future.
Thompson repeatedly cites two texts as fueling his concern about the country's future. One is "Government at the Brink," a two-volume report he issued as chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee at the start of the Bush administration in 2001 and handed to the new president's budget director as a checklist of urgent management problems.
The difficulties outlined in federal procurement, personnel, finances and information technology remain, Thompson said, and increasingly "threaten national security."
His second sourcebook contains the scary reports from Comptroller General David Walker, the head of the Government Accountability Office, on the long-term
fiscal crisis spawned by the aging of the American population and the runaway
costs of health care. Walker labels the current patterns of federal spending
"unsustainable" and warns that unless action is taken soon to improve both sides
of the government's fiscal ledger -- spending and revenue -- the next generation
"Nobody in Congress or on either side in the presidential race wants to deal with it," Thompson said. "So we just rock along and try to maintain the status quo. Republicans say keep the tax cuts; Democrats say keep the entitlements. And we become a less unified country in the process, with a tax code that has become an unholy mess, and all we do is tinker around the edges."
I have posted about Fred's time on this committee before.
Fred is not lazy. He does the job he is employed to do. I think he will shoot to the top of the heap in a hurry if he comes out firing. The people of this country want to be talked to as if we matter. We can tell the difference between someone actually trying to communicate with us and someone feeding us a line of bulls**t.
Win, Fred, Win