Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Principles are what guide you

Last night Charlie Rose interviewed Sen. Fred Thompson, the most consistently conservative GOP candidate for President. I've embedded the interview over at Standfast.

Rush Limbaugh played and commented on a portion of last night's interview on his show today. Toward the end of the 50 minutes, Charlie Rose asks Thompson what "conservative" means and Thompson responds:
Fred Thompson: It means things that are consistent with God's design for man, is consistent with human nature, it's consistent with the lessons of history, the lessons of ages. They found form in the Constitution I think and what our founding fathers believed. They understand that man can do great and wonderful things, but man is prone to error and sometimes do terrible things. That too much power in too few hands is a dangerous thing. That power is a corrupting thing.

Charlie Rose: In all of that you didn't mention abortion, gay rights, all things that have been part of recent presidential elections.

Fred: Those... Well you are talking about different things there. Those are issues that are before us, which derive FROM principles. end clip

Rush Limbaugh: Now this is just fabulous to me. This is just great. Here Charlie Rose asks Fred Thompson 'Well what is a conservative today anyway?'. And so Fred gives his definition of a conservative and Charlie says 'Well wait a minute I didn't hear anything about abortion or gay rights, all the things that have been a part of recent presidential elections.' Here's how Fred answered that, because Charlie Rose came back and said 'Principles? What do you mean principles?'. start next clip

Fred Thompson: Principles are what guide you in coming to positions with regard to issues. You know the Declaration of Independence said that our basic rights come from God and not from man. The founders talked about you know life, liberty and the importance of that. And that everything is based on those basic principles. And I take those principles and you know for example I come to a pro-life conclusion there. And when we had issues you know for 8 years when I was in the United States Senate about whether or not the federal government should be funding, for example, abortion related activities and things of that nature you know, the application of those principles in that instance told me the answer was no properly. end clip
Principles are foundational. Everything else is based on them. If you are reflective enough to have thought about what you fundamentally believe, and have any integrity, those beliefs will determine what you do. Thompson is obviously someone who has read and thought about what he believes. Few politicians, in my experience, have the time or inclination or ability to do so. Thompson's favorite among the founding fathers, he tells Rose, is John Adams - someone else who read and thought - and wouldn't have had a chance in the modern political arena.

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