Discontent with Washington
Americans hate both political parties, with good reason. The Republicans are corrupt. They campaigned on the promise to reduce government spending and end corruption. Instead, from the year 1994 when they took over, federal spending has increased. Jack Abramhoff, Duke Cunningham, and others have made the GOP a party of corruption.
They told us that they would end deficit spending. They did- until Bush came into office. Then our Republican Congress and Republican President brought back deficits as big as any in the Clinton administration. (I am aware that Bush had the War on Terror to fight, but still, there is no excuse for these kinds of huge budgets).
They claimed that Bill Clinton's sexual adventures were grounds for impeachment. Then came Foley. And Craig. While the whole party can't be judged by actions of only a few of its members, I do believe that the party should weed out its bad apples. The fact that Craig was arrested only a few months after the Foley incident is not an encouraging sign.
The Republicans claim to know what they are doing in the War on Terror. While they have done some good here (it is an impressive feat to prevent any terror attack on American soil for six years), they have mismanaged the war in Iraq. Virtually every expert on the subject believes that the Bush administration had no plan for the aftermath. It would be rash to say that the surge is too late, but there is no denying that is has been too long delayed in coming. The situation in Iraq, while improving, is still dire.
The GOP has also failed us on immigration. The inane immigration bill that was proposed this summer had prominent Republicans as its most passionate defenders.
The Democrats are worse. Far worse. The Republicans at least pretend to curb federal spending. The Democrats compete with each other in finding ways to increase it, as seen by their ever expanding health care plans. And of course, to pay their expensive social programs, they will increase both the national debt and taxes.
The Democrats are worse than the GOP on immigration as well. They will not only grant amnesty to illegals, they will provide them with the much coveted "oppressed minority" status. If amnesty is allowed, as the Democrats almost unanimously wish, then former illegals will have a wealth of governments benefits at their disposal.
As to the War on Terror, the policies of the Democrats would almost certainly result in more attacks. The whole party advocates a hasty withdrawal from Iraq. Of course, that would have the result of sending the whole nation into chaos and civil war. Possibly, Iran would end up with de facto control of the country (rather like North Korea's deal with China), thus giving our foremost enemy in the Middle East a puppet state to control.
The people's dissatisfaction with both sides of the government is obvious. Recent polls put Congress' approval rating at 11%. Bush's rating is around 30%. A recent Rasmussen poll revealed that not one of the major candidates has more people for him than against him. It is obvious that most Americans are disgusted with both political parties, and government in general.
This disgust is not a good sign for Hillary, given that she has been a major part of Washington for the last fifteen years. Hillary Clinton is firmly enmeshed in the culture of Washington.
This disgust is, however, a very good sign for Fred Dalton Thompson. While he definitely has his negatives, he has at least been out of Washington for several years. In addition, he does not sound like a politician. While he "folksy" style does have negatives (it is sometimes hard to hear, and Thompson definitely rambles sometimes), it at least sounds different then the usual completely canned answers we get from most politicians.
(I am an avid talk radio listener, and thus have heard most the Republicans answer many of the same questions from different hosts. On the hard questions, they always answer in a very fast tone, as if they trying to hurry past it, which they probably are. Their answers are also notable for being virtually the same, word for word, every time they are asked.)
While Thompson's image will not necessarily win him the trust of the average voter, I believe that his non-Washington influenced act will be a definite, and possibly deciding, asset.