I want to say right at the start that I like Fred Thompson, I always have. I ran into him a few months ago, right about the time all the rumors started, and asked him to run. Not because I think he’d be the best, or even that I’d vote for him, but because I think Republicans really need a wide array of choices in the primary so we would have as many choices to decide the future direction of the party. If the majority of the GOP picks another squish, another big government, big-spending liberal, an LBJ in Reagan’s clothing, then conservatives will know their party is no longer theirs and can act accordingly.

My hope is that it doesn’t come to looking for other options. All the Republicans that have won in the last 20 years ran as conservatives, they just rarely governed that way. It wasn’t until Republicans lost their way and fell in love with the fact that they controlled the purse strings, then caught that common disease called “we can buy our way to reelection” that they lost. Sometimes tough love is what is needed, and the voters delivered that last November.

It has always been my contention that Democrats didn’t win last year’s election on their ideals, after all they ran as conservatives. In many cases they ran as more conservative than the Republicans, which wasn’t tough to do based upon the expansion of government that took place under their leadership. But no one voted for Democrats because they wanted bigger government, they already had that.

That isn’t to say the war was not a factor. A lot of people were angry about Iraq and weren’t going to vote for Republicans no matter what because of it. But that statement would be just as true of 90% of those voters if you removed Iraq from it.

No, the Republicans were thrown out of office because they stopped being Republicans and became what most of them originally ran against, enablers, no perpitrators of ever-bigger government.

I say this not because of wishful thinking, but because the polling data shows Congress is about as popular as the guy who travelled the world with super tuberculosis.

ABC News is reporting the approval rating of Congress is what it was before the election, i.e., very low. They speculate the low ratings are due to the surrender monkey wing of the party being unhappy that the white flag hasn’t been hoisted fast enough. But this Congress has accomplished nothing, save for a few post office re-namings and making Teamsters look like hard working, eagar beavers.

Enter the prospect of Fred Thompson.

Since I am not running this year, there is no one in the race that completely represents me and what I believe. But most of the candidates seem good on some of the issues I care about, but not quite enough yet.

Thompson can bring some more conservatism to the race in areas where it is lacking. Will he be the guy? I don’t know, but I’m interested to see what happens.

That having been said, this story in The Politico bothered me. It’s about how many supporters of President Bush are moving to the Thompson camp.

They would appear to know how to win Presidential elections, but at what price? They presented President Bush as a conservative and won. He isn’t. So they are clearly good at spitting in your face and telling you it’s raining. That Thompson would seek their council is reason for pause.

George W. Bush didn’t expand the size and cost of government in a vacuum, and he didn’t do it alone. Actually, we all enabled him, to one degree or another. But his people are, quite possibly, the wrong people with which to surround a conservative. They appear to be specialists, in one way or another, at portraying the sun as rising in the west.

I’m not going to say Thompson isn’t going to end up being as conservative as he wants primary voters to think he is now. I’m just saying he, along with all the candidates, need to be listened to and watched very closely.

As President Reagan said, trust, but verify.

Cross posted to www.itsfirstfriday.com