Drafting Fred Thompson: People Power In Action

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Today, it’s no secret at all that conservative voters across America are rejecting all of the Republican Party national committee candidates on the basis of their questionable conservative values and drafting a candidate of their own. This news is both shocking and disturbing to Democrat and Republican Party elites alike, as well as the lamestream press who thought they had a liberal president in the bag for ’08, no matter which party might win the election. This is an unwelcome trend, no matter which party committee you talk to…

But it comes as no surprise to the people responsible for making it happen and they are simply delighted that the process has so clearly upset the inside-the-beltway apple cart. In fact, where I come from, we call this “BP”, bonus pain. What we want is a real conservative president, even if we have to go draft one ourselves. The fact that this causes so much pain and anguish for so many career politicos accustomed to dictating our political choices, is just a bonus…

This is a very new and exciting form of grassroots activism and it threatens to forever change how politics will work in America from this moment forward. How did it happen and where are we headed? This is a story for those who thought nobody was listening…

The process started as early as March of 2006, when I released a column titled The People Still Have Power, which was written in response to reader mail. In it, I reminded readers that “We the people of America really do run this country in every respect. However, too many happen to run it much like they run their own lives, lazy, ill informed, easily distracted, often confused, disenchanted and therefore, disinterested and disengaged from the process.” Of course, the column goes on to talk about how this must change.

That column sparked great debate and reader mail which resulted in several follow-up columns, The People Still Have Power- Part II, Are Conservatives Running Scared?, Conservatives Square Off with Republicans in ‘08 and the final of the series America Must Save Herself, which was a direct “how to” map for reforming the conservative party that must reform a traditionally conservative nation. A short year and a lot of direct reader involvement later, it’s all about to become a reality. Who said the people can’t make a difference anymore?

In the March 12, 2007 America Must Save Herself, I gave a specific example of just how easy it would be to change everything in modern politics. From that column…

Example: Imagine for a moment that the national committee (RNC) does not have the $892 million dollars that they raised during the 2004 Presidential election. That instead, this money remained in the grasp and control of individual conservatives to be used to promote a specific candidate instead of a national committee operating at odds with those constituents.

Imagine that these conservatives did their own homework and based upon the historical track records of the candidates available, chose a truly conservative Republican candidate that would otherwise be sidelined and ignored by the national committee.

Imagine that those same conservatives took just half of the money raised in 2004, some $450 million dollars and placed it all behind one truly conservative Republican leader who had a proven track record of standing firmly on the principles at the core of the once conservative Republican Party. A billion dollars for a single political campaign season is obscene to begin with… There’s the first clue of just how screwed up we have allowed it all to become.

Impossible? How hard is it? It takes only 4.5 million conservatives willing to invest $100 a piece, or 2.25 million willing to invest $200 a piece, or 1 million willing to invest $450 a piece. Doable? You bet! How much is saving your nation worth?

A few days and hundreds of reader emails later, we launched the first ever Regular Reader poll asking conservative readers to choose a “people’s” presidential candidate from an open field of prospects, both announced and unannounced candidates. The poll results were amazing and undeniable…

Immediately, 43% of readers named Fred Thompson as their preferred choice, with Gingrich running second at 16%. There had been literally no public talk of a Thompson run at that time.

So I wrote about those results in a March 19, 2007 column titled It's almost official ... Fred Thompson Could Be the New Reagan! The people were beginning to make the example in the earlier column, a literal reality… Party contributions were way down, along with public support for party golden boys and the people were moving in their own direction, independent of party powers.

We continued running reader polls and writing about the results and Thompson just kept looking stronger and stronger. Within less than two weeks, nearly every conservative blog on the web was asking if Thompson might be the new Reagan and if he was indeed going to run… The Draft Fred ’08 campaign was in full swing and every conservative talk show host in the land was talking about Fred Thompson.

By mid-April, 13,000 voters had chosen Fred Thompson on the Dick Morris site, Vote.com, nearly 80,000 members of the American Family Association had chosen Thompson and so had 62.5% of almost 100,000 NewsMax readers…

NewsMax Poll: Americans Want Fred Thompson in ’08 – “Our “Should Fred Thompson Run for President” poll of nearly 100,000 people also disclosed that the former senator from Tennessee and “Law & Order” star would trounce all leading Republican candidates in a primary. The results are surprising considering that Thompson has not even announced that he would run for the White House next year.”

So, now we ask the next logical question in the current Regular Reader Poll, and the early returns are equally unambiguous…

If Fred Thompson is the RNC presidential nominee for '08, you will...

Gladly vote FOR Thompson 89%
Gladly vote AGAINST Democrats 2%
Reluctantly vote AGAINST Democrats 2%
Reluctantly vote AGAINST Thompson 2%
Switch to Democrat 2%
Vote for another Republican 2%
Vote third party 0%
Abstain from the '08 election in protest 0%

Clearly, real people power is in action and the process of drafting a real people’s presidential candidate might just change how American leaders are chosen in the future.

93% of the conservative base of the Republican Party seems united. Not behind any of the committee anointed, press supported, partisan temporary RNC front-runners, but rather behind a candidate not yet officially in the race. A candidate being drafted by the people, of the people, for the people…. The people do still have the power…!

Thompson has yet to ask for or spend a penny, or even agree to run. Yet he is setting political circles ablaze… and making political nonsense out of political conventional thinking…

Mainstream political pundits don’t know what to make of it all just yet. They don’t even know how to deal with a candidate who is not on any handlers’ leash, not carrying any committee cue cards and not making any apologies for his gentle home-spun but traditionally firm conservative position on any issues.

Fox Show host Cavuto might have made the most interesting observation of Thompson to date.

“It's a little thing, said Cavuto… but it struck me and my executive producer Gary Schreier as we greeted him this week: He came alone. Alone — no handlers, no enablers, no key people, no any people. Just Fred, by himself. And Gary and I are thinking, hey this guy is tracking sometimes second in GOP polls for president.

For president! Of the United States!! And we're looking for his entourage, his hangers-on, you know, the guy who holds his briefcase. Another, his cell phone, still another, his coat. Someone who polices his words, advises him on statements to the press. Nope. No briefcase guy. Or cell phone dude. No policy wonk or statement checker. No people at all.

Get this: I had more people than he had people. Which tells you something about Fred, I guess: The image things that seem to matter to others don't much matter to Fred. Surely, I'm thinking to myself, this will all change if he runs for president. Even the loserest of candidates has loser lemmings. Lots of them!

But I wonder: Maybe Fred would be the guy who puts less stock in handlers and more in himself. He'd be different, that's for sure. His people weren't saying that — Fred was. Before he shook my hand after our interview and walked out of this building... alone.”

The people wanted to shake things up… and that they have, in spades! However, not without a clear purpose - which they obviously have as well.

Thompson is expected to formally announce in May while speaking in California and visiting the Jay Leno Show…

Personally, I can’t wait to see all 6’ 6’’ of a real-deal people’s candidate face off with, well - you name them, on the debate stage…

The 2006 election debacle might just be the best thing that ever happened to the usually silent American majority. It appears that they are willing to be silent no more!

It’s even becoming fun to be a conservative again

J.B. Williams
JBW@JB-Williams.com


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