Is Fred Thompson really another Reagan? Probably not, but there are some obvious parallels: the strongly-expressed conservative viewpoint, the ability to communicate complex policies in understandable terms and, well, the successful acting careers. But there's another similarity that I haven't seen mentioned.
Though Reagan had always been criticized by his detractors as a shallow thinker who relied on speech-writers to put pretty words in his mouth, George P. Schultz reminded us by his book, In His Own Hand, that Ronald Reagan was not only a superb thinker but a damned good writer himself.
From 1975 to 1979 he made over 1,000 radio broadcasts in which he covered topics from the Soviet Union to the future of the United States. He punched holes in the conventional economic thinking of the time and speculated on the future of Africa and Asia. And, as the book illustrated, he wrote and edited the spots on his own -- often in the five or six minutes before he got in front of the microphone.
Little by little, during those five years, Ronald Reagan became a familiar and trusted voice in America. While he never gained any particular notoriety from the shows (he was already famous,) by the time he ran for President, he was even better-known for his political opinions than for his early-50's acting fame.
Well, for the last few weeks, Fred Thompson has been filling in for radio-icon, Paul Harvey and judging by this, the resemblance is striking.
Tony Blair’s getting angrier every day. But if past Iranian hostage takings are an indication, he may be upset for a while. The American-embassy hostages were held for 444 days, and the Israeli soldiers kidnapped last year by Iran’s Hezbollah puppets still aren’t free.
[At this point Reagan would have added, "I'll be right back."]
Blair is threatening to escalate to a “different phase,” but Iran’s leadership knows something that most Americans don’t. Two months ago, Britain’s government announced plans to mothball almost half its naval fleet due to defense-budget cuts. Much of its existing navy is already so degraded; it would take over a year to get into action. According to the British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, senior naval officers say that the cuts “will turn Britain’s once-proud Navy into nothing more than a coastal defense force.”
In fact, the British naval forces have been so neglected; the U.K. probably couldn’t pull off the Falkland Islands mission today. The world’s fifth-largest economy now supports an army that ranks 28th in size.
What are they thinking?
The 9/11 attacks should have been a wake-up call to our allies — but they seem to have had a tranquilizing effect instead. Despite a series of both successful and thwarted attacks since then, Britain, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Germany, and Canada have actually cut their active-duty forces. And the percentage of those countries’ economies spent on defense was reduced over ten percent by 2005. Many are still falling.
Unlike much of Europe, which seems to have lost the will to protect itself and its democratic traditions, many of the new aggressors are increasing military spending dramatically. And many seem willing to sacrifice masses of their own populations if that’s what it takes to force the West into submission.
Let’s be clear. Iran’s kidnappings are part of a plan to see that nothing interferes with its quest for nuclear weapons. If successful, other dictatorships will follow suit. This is not the time for the free world to neglect its own defense.
Were he still alive, Ronaldus Magnus couldnt have said it better himself -- and probably wouldn't have changed a word.
In my opinion, Mr. Thompson is already running for President. And if he wishes to channel Ronald Reagan, how better to do it than through daily radio essays that summarize so concisely his positions to hundreds of thousands of listeners. By the time he announces, he'll have become a very familiar voice to Paul Harvey's audience (not a voting bloc to dismiss lightly) and with his Law and Order character in constant re-runs, his lack of presence on MySpace will have been compensated for.
Not only do I agree with Mr. Thompson on the issues, I'm beginning to have a new respect for his media-savvy. Yes, in at least a couple ways he may be the new embodiment of Ronald Reagan.