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Reason Foundation


Presidential qualities

David Bossie makes a forceful argument concerning the conservative bona fides of former Sen. Fred Thompson and the desirability of his candidacy in the 2008 presidential election (“Thompson’s political potential,” Commentary, Sunday).

In the context of a conservative constituency, Mr. Thompson appears to be the man of the hour, a definite plus in the primary sweepstakes. However, notwithstanding his “meteoric rise,” in the national election such “bona fides” will only go so far.

The victor in November 2008 will be the candidate the electorate believes presents the best plan to protect the freedom we enjoy. In the absence of that freedom, all else is for naught. The linchpin of such protection is our armed forces.

Mr. Bossie observes Mr. Thompson stands tall on “military issues,” earning a “perfect 100 ratings from the Non-Commissioned Officers Association and the Military Officers Association of America.” This speaks highly of Mr. Thompson. But the nation will be looking for the leader who will provide the best solution to (a) the Iraqi enigma, (b) the threat of terrorism, (c) our insecure borders and (d) protection of our civil liberties to the extent possible while dealing with the foregoing.

And America will be looking for the leader most likely to achieve these objectives while protecting our armed forces, who have placed themselves in harm’s way, and preserving the honor they have earned in a hard fought, increasingly unpopular war.

Such a leader will have taken the first step in protecting the freedom we cherish, and in doing so fulfilled what Mr. Bossie refers to as the meeting of “an and moment.” Whether Mr. Thompson can convince the citizenry he is that “man” remains to be seen.