The Spectacle Blog

Club for Growth on Fred

By on 9.6.07 | 11:01AM

Their report on Fred Thompson is out. It praises him for his record on spending and taxes, but criticizes him on tort reform and McCain-Feingold. Here's the summation:

Senator Thompson's eight-year record in the U.S. Senate demonstrates an admirable commitment to limited government and free-market principles. His record on entitlement reform and school choice is excellent, while his support for lower taxes and free trade is very good. On Social Security reform in particular, Thompson courageously supported personal accounts at a time when few politicians were willing to risk their necks taking on the third rail of American politics.

His record on spending (save the occasional pork project) is generally impressive, as demonstrated by his votes to restrict the growth and reach of the federal government. On regulation, too, Thompson voted generally against government intrusion in the private sector. Many Republican politicians talk about limited government and the principle of federalism but Thompson exemplified those ideas, often voting against bills that would have made it easy for a political opponent to paint him in a negative light.

While this strong federalist philosophy casts a redemptive light on his opposition to tort reform, it does not fully excuse or explain a number of his votes. His persistent federalism also makes his role in the passage of McCain-Feingold all the more disappointing. It is difficult to reconcile Thompson's fervent belief in a limited government with his enthusiasm for increasing government regulation on political speech. Thompson has never adequately addressed this contradiction and will have to do so. His recent doubts over the legislation's efficacy are encouraging, least of all because all politicians make mistakes, and rare are those willing to admit their own.

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