Right Said Fred

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The Club for Growth held its economic conference in downtown DC; I hadn't seen Fred Thompson speak since he entered the presidential race, so I stopped in to hear his spiel.

Shallow, appearance-minded stuff first: In the speech section of his presentation, before the Q&A, Thompson had all the energy of a tree sloth crashing on Red Bull and Now 'n' Laters. His sonic boom cough is one of the weirder speaking tics I've encountered, although it doesn't follow a pattern the way Hillary Clinton's laugh does. (She employs it to fend off awkward questions, Thompson coughs at random intervals.) When Thompson doesn't care about something he waves his hands forward, as if tossing the facts at you and saying "Bury these somewhere, leave no traces."

That said, Thompson's philosophy of taxation was… sort of interesting. "Taxes has little to do with raising revenue," he said, "and more to do with power." When he was asked why Democrats oppose supply-side cuts, whether or not they think they actually work: "Oh, they know." Thompson basically believes in broad tax cuts, all the time, a minimum of loopholes. The other way comes out of "a philosophy that would lead us into comfortable mediocrity, slow us down, stifle us, put us on the course of Europe."

Thompson nearly had a great answer on campaign finance reform, taking credit for the $2000/indexed to inflation donation limit (after McCain and Feingold's original proposal of a $1000 limite), but he stepped on it with a weird joke about CFR in general: "I may change my mind before this election's over with." No one laughed and a few eyebrows started levitating. "I'm saying this pretty much in jest," Thompson clarified.

Earlier in the day, Club members were asked who they thought would win the GOP nomination. Not who they wanted, per se, but who would win. Apparently almost every hand went up for Rudy, a couple hands went up for Romney. One hand went up for Fred.

NEXT: Are Bloggers Journalists?: Redux

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  1. Supply-side cuts are the devil, and only good at the margin, where it creates an increase in revenue, but also an increase in government spending. Did Thompson mention anything about a constitutional amendment to have a balanced budget each year?

  2. I would say Fred Thompson’s candidacy is going to crash and burn, but that connotes excitement.

    A more apt comparison is when you spend weeks building, painting, and decorating a model rocket, and wait for a nice calm day, invite all your friends and family to see you fire it off, and when the moment comes to light the fuse you realize you forgot to put an engine in it.

    Then you tear apart the rocket and throw the remains in the garbage, saving only the recovery wadding to use as emergency toilet paper in the event of a hemorrhoids flare-up.

  3. …[Thompson] waves his hands forward, as if it’s tossing the facts at you and saying “Bury these somewhere, leave no traces.”

    Great line.

  4. …Thompson had all the energy of a tree sloth crashing on Red Bull and Now ‘n’ Laters.

    This is great, too. I laugh-ted.

  5. Fred Thompson is the only candidate we can trust to tell us the truth. He is honest and a man of strength and character. The last time we voted for a president based on charisma we got Fornicating Bill.

  6. Thompshon on Supply Side tax cuts:

    Those mean Democrats KNOW there’s a Santa Claus. They just want you to be unhappy. Europe! Europe!

  7. Dave P, the last time we voted for a president based on charisma, we got George W.

  8. PULL!

    *shoots “supply side” BS down*

    sings: I’m too sexy for my prostate…

  9. “the last time we voted for a president based on charisma, we got George W.”

    I’m all for bashing Bush, but now he’s charismatic? Since when?

  10. Contra Jerry, Supply Side tax cuts don’t lead to an increase in government spending – politicians do.

    It is hard to know whether supply side works as well as its supporters say. After the Reagan tax cuts in the 1980s federal tax collections went up, and since the Republican tax cuts of 2001, federal tax collections went up. But in both cases, the federal reserve lowered interest rates and pumped money into the economy, and that also had an effect.

    Separating the two factors – tax cuts and loose money – is not easy, so the jury is still out on supply side.

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