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Fred's First Principles


After I expressed my support to nominate Mitt Romney, my long-time friend, Kelly, said that he's behind Fred Thomson. I respect Kelly's opinion enough that I wanted to find out more about Fred, so I perused his official web site.

I didn't seriously consider Fred because he appeared to squander a lot of good vibe that he had, and you can't do that when running for president. You can't win without organization, and so he didn't make my list of folks to learn more about.

But aside from Kelly's influential opinion, Fred also gave it to Carolyn Washburn, editor of the local Des Moines Register, at the last debate. Good for him to thump a media priestess. Running for president is not about a show of hands; it's about intelligent considerations, and we the people have a right to hear the substance due the candidates running for president.

So, I'm giving what bit of room I can for Fred's voice to be heard. On his web site, he has a list of "first principles." I'll quote Fred and comment:

Individual Liberty . As Jefferson spelled out in the Declaration of Independence, our basic rights come from God, not from government, and that among these inalienable rights is the right to liberty. We must allow individuals to lead their lives with minimal government interference.
"Minimal government influence..." amen brother! Mucho applause to that.
Personal Responsibility . The corollary to liberty is responsibility. No society can succeed and thrive for any duration unless free people act in a responsible way. All of us must take responsibility for our actions and strive to improve our own lives and to contribute to building a better society.
Oh. My. God. Did Fred just utter the words "personal responsibility" in a presidential campaign? What happened to government giveaways and wealth redistribution and a chicken in every pot? Fred's exactly right - personal responsibility is a corollary to individual liberty. I'm digging Fred's principles, lemme tell ya.
Free Markets . Free people are best equipped to order their own affairs, and the common interest benefits from and is improved by the aggregate success of all. We must reform our tax system, encourage investment, support entrepreneurial spirit, open markets abroad to American goods, and minimize burdensome government regulations to continue to expand the economy and bring increased wealth to all Americans.
Fred, my man - you're hitting it out of the park! He definitely knows what drives business and economy.
Limited Government . Government must be strong enough to protect us, competent enough to provide basic government services, but limited by the delineated powers in the Constitution.

Federalism . Our Constitution innovatively guarantees our liberties by spreading power among the three branches of the federal government, and between the federal government and the states. In considering any action by the government, we must always ask two questions: is the government better equipped than the private sector to perform the task and, if so, what level of government (federal or state) ought to do it. Washington is not the seat of all wisdom.

It's starting to feel a bit redundant, although my enthusiasm is not diminished for it.
Protecting our Country . The first responsibility of the federal government is to protect the nation and the American people. There is no more important task. We must have a strong and effective military, capable intelligence services, and a vigorous law enforcement and homeland security capacity.
"No more important task." Yes, exactly... because nothing else American matters if there is no America.
Traditional American Values . A healthy society is predicated on belief in God; respect for all life; strong families centered on the institution of marriage - the union of a man and a woman; and self-respect and tolerance of others. While we are all free to live our lives in the pursuit of our own happiness, the government has a responsibility to respect the right of parents to raise their children and to promote the values that produce the strongest society.
This one is worth delving into a bit.

"A healthy society is predicated on belief in God." Whether you believe in God or not, that's a true statement. Because otherwise, rather than having inalienable rights granted by God, you have alienable rights doled out by the whim of man. Which sounds better to you, o person of faith / agnostic person? If there is no God, then man is the supreme ruler of this world, and what man giveth, man can taketh away.

The Rule of Law . We protect our liberty, secure our rights, and promote a just and stable society through the rule of law. We owe to ourselves and our fellow citizens our own adherence to the rules, but tough law enforcement and punishment for those who do not. A free and independent judiciary that interprets the law by adhering strictly to legal text and respects its limited role in our system of government is essential to our security and freedom, and we need judges who understand that role if we are to preserve our republic and freedom.

Conserving Our Nation’s Resources . Each of us is put on Earth for a limited period of time. We must always strive to ensure that the resources we use to lead our lives are here for future generations to enjoy and use as well.

I don't disagree with these last two, but they need no comment.

(Unfortunately, Fred's web site was written with .NET, and .NET does this really irritating thing where not every page has its own web address, so it's quite hard to link to his white papers and his list of statements on issues because the link doesn't change by clicking on the tabs in the First Principles page. A little persistence through the menu at the top of the page resolves my need for links, however...)

You can read his statements on Issues here.

You can read his White Papers here.

Fred's a good guy, and his stands are very appealing to me. If the guy could show some organizational muster, I'd donate to his campaign and volunteer my help. Will that happen before January 3rd here in Iowa? Let's hope so...


Tags: politics
by Brett Rogers, 12/15/2007 3:41:04 PM


Great post, Brett! I like how you have brought forth some of Fred's "first principles" because I think if people would take the time to learn more, as you have, they would see that what Fred believes is truly in the best interest of the country, and his thoughts will resonate well with most Republicans, and many conservative Democrats (if there is such a thing anymore.) Fred is a true constitutional originalist, and you won't find one single candidate on either side who believes anything close. (Ron Paul nuts will probably start spamming up your blog now that I've said that)

Anyway, enjoyed your comments. And I totally agree that Fred needs to spend more effort showing his ability to pull together a formidable organization here in Iowa. I think until recently, he's kind of put us on the back burner. I tried to volunteer for his campaign, but when I showed up... the doors were locked and I couldn't find any way in -- even though there were people inside. I got discouraged and went home, kind of ticked off... but I digress.

I'm planning to caucus, and you've inspired me to make sure I bring a nice list of Fred's First Principles with me when I do. Hopefully I can help spread the word, even if it is at the last possible minute. (I suppose I should call the HQ and find out why the door is locked during their office hours -- and try to give them some more of my time.)



Posted by Chris, 12/16/2007 11:43:29 AM

Very cool, Chris. It's funny how it's the little things that make a difference - like unlocking a door. What would happen if a campaign were run like a customer-service organization? If it was for a good candidate, amazing things might happen...



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 12/16/2007 11:54:30 AM

(Sorry, in advance if this is overstepping my boundaries -- I hope this isn't too much of a "plug". People get so tired of political stuff.)

I decided after commenting above, that I should donate, since I haven't yet. Seems Fred is trying to gain some momentum from the attention he got last week in Iowa standing up to the DM Reg school marm -- using that as an opportunity for us all to "send a message to the media" and raise 2400 donations in 24 hours to show the liberal media that Americans are tired of their games.

To quote the follow-up email I received after contributing: "We're in this race to win and your support is helping us bring to our fellow American the message of change and a call to return to the principles of our founding heritage. It's critical that we address our nation's challenges through the core ideals of self-governance, free markets, and the rule of law."

If you or anyone else is interested in being part of the 2400 in 24 hours, go to to learn more.



Posted by Chris, 12/16/2007 12:02:40 PM

The plug is for a good cause - no bounds overstepped.

As for people getting tired of political stuff - it's my web site, and I decide what's in or out. We're in an election season and it matters to our nation, and I'm cool with giving props to Fred.



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 12/16/2007 12:11:23 PM

One last note... looks like Fred is going to be in Iowa (except for a few days at Christmas) for a round-the-state bus tour... five stops + per day... so we can get a chance to get to know more about him. Should be an interesting couple of weeks!

He kicked it off today on (de)Face the Nation:



Posted by Chris, 12/16/2007 9:48:39 PM

With roughly 11 months to election day it will be an interesting race. Looking at the recent changes on the Dem's side I guess anything can happen. Fred has an uphill battle, for sure. If he can pull it off, that would go a long ways to showing what he's capable of on the organization front.

Thanks for posting this.



Posted by Kelly, 12/17/2007 1:36:08 PM

Do you really believe that a healthy society is predicated by a belif in god? Of course inalienable rights are subject to the whim of man. Man adapts the teachings of god to serve the needs of society at a specific time. It used to be acceptable to own slaves. Although it is still ok in the bible to do so, man has reinterpreted the bible/god's teaching and we don't own slaves anymore. It wasn't good for a healthy society.

Am I missing something here? Man IS the supreme ruler of his world.



Posted by Annette (, 12/17/2007 4:10:07 PM

If a person's rights are not above the whimsy of man, then men define freedom. But when the founding fathers took our rights out of King George's hands and put them into God's for the giving, they asserted that man was ultimately powerless to grant rights to a free man. That doesn't mean that man will not try to grab for power, but it does mean that the governed, with such instruction, can fundamentally dismiss such efforts and more easily reassert their rights again.

(And for what it's worth, I don't think that religion - aka, the adapted teaching of men - has anything to do with God.)



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 12/17/2007 7:00:36 PM

Thanks for the clarification, but yeah, I still think Fred is pretty off here. I don't think a person's rights are above the whimsy of man. I think men define freedom. The founding fathers took power from George and took it upon themselves to define freedom, using god as a silent approver. I don't see god's signature on the Declaration of Independence. It worked out pretty well for everyone, but there are no selfelss acts, and the founding fathers did what was in their best interests, taking power for themselves.

I think the powerlesness you talk about is powerlessness to take away the rights another man has chosen for himself. I think the founding fathers simply meant that a man can do whatever he wants, as long as it doesn't infringe on the rights another has chosen for himself.

(Totally agree with you on your parentetical comment though.)

It's a faux pas to discuss religion and politics. I love that we can do both in one conversation.



Posted by annette (, 12/18/2007 10:40:08 AM

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