Monday, November 19, 2007

Fred lacks fire in the belly?

Larry Kudlow doesn't think so:

An energetic and forceful Fred Thompson sat down with me last week on Kudlow and Company to talk politics and the economy. The former Tennessee senator was in good form — more animated than I’ve seen him, and definitely a different person than the one I interviewed six months ago.


We talked about his controversial Social Security reform plan that would slow down future benefits by indexing them to inflation rather than wages, while providing for add-on private savings accounts with a government match, much like the system for 401(k)s.

Lower benefits? Isn’t that the proverbial third-rail of politics? Not according to Mr. Thompson. He said big problems ought to be tackled: “If you can’t do the right thing, say what you believe and what everybody really basically knows, why do it? Why bother? Life is too short for the aggravation.”

Thompson wants to tell the truth about Social Security and force everyone else in the game to respond. This issue is a real character-building definer for Fred Thompson. No one else on the campaign trail, in either party, is willing to discuss Social Security in such frank terms.

But that’s the revitalized Fred Thompson. The more I challenged him, the more animated he became. He simply refused to stand down.

Some people say Thompson doesn’t have the fire in his belly to go the distance. I don’t think that’s true. And I’m not picking or endorsing any candidates here. But Thompson has an honest, clear, straightforward message of economic freedom and problem solving.


Can he win? His campaign strategists told me they are pouring tons of money into Iowa advertising. They see a strong opportunity for a Thompson surge in the state, undermining Romney and inflicting damage on Giuliani. Walking off the set, Thompson told me this election will be about peace and prosperity. And he intends to fight hard.

I'm so glad that Thompson is leading the way on some of these issues like Social Security and forcing other candidates to take a position, smart move.