Feature

Why Thompson wasn’t qualified to be president

When Fred Thompson withdrew from the Republican presidential race last week, said Andrew Ferguson, the pundits blamed his lack of energy. He had failed to demonstrate that he had a “fire in the belly,’’ they said. At debates and in interviews, the laconic

Andrew FergusonThe Weekly Standard

When Fred Thompson withdrew from the Republican presidential race last week, said Andrew Ferguson, the pundits blamed his lack of energy. He had failed to demonstrate that he had a “fire in the belly,’’ they said. At debates and in interviews, the laconic Southerner disdained simplistic answers, and refused to campaign and fund-raise 18 hours a day, like the other candidates. Why, he even tried to get home at night to his wife and kids! In short, Thompson didn’t give off “the gnawing need to please’’ that animates most politicians, and both voters and the pundits found this “insulting.’’ But is a desperate hunger for power really what we want in a president? In modern politics, you can only win by spending endless hours every day for a year begging for votes in coffee shops and overheated gyms, mouthing the same talking points over and over, fending off predatory reporters hoping to bait you into a mistake, and saying things you know aren’t true. It’s an empty, miserable existence, devoid of dignity, and the willingness to endure it “is not normal.’’ Thompson, it turns out, was too normal to be president, and for that, he shouldn’t feel one bit of shame.

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