The Ottumwa Courier

Opinion

December 26, 2007

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Fred Thompson is the unlikely candidate. Perfectly content with his status as a former senator and Hollywood actor, Thompson says he happy in his private life.

But despite the pitfalls of the rough and tumble world of politics, the Republican says Washington, D.C. needs a “consistent” conservative to lead the United States into a new direction.

Thompson is unapologetic on his views and is a straight-shooter.

“These are clearly challenging times. I don’t think we’ve fully come to terms with the kind of world we live in,” he told members of the Courier editorial board recently.

Indeed, Thompson believes work must continue in Iraq despite growing concerns American troops should return home.

We have to “finish what we’re doing,” he said, adding the United States must continue the fight there and in Afghanistan.

Thompson said the United States can no longer ignore the instability in Afghanistan and in nearby Pakistan because of issues ranging from the Taliban to the country’s economic dependence on the opium trade.

When it comes to domestic issues, Thompson again admits there are no simple answers.

On energy concerns, he believes in “a balanced approach to energy security that increases domestic supplies, reduces demand for oil and gas, and promotes alternative fuels and other diverse energy sources.”

He also seeks “an energy policy that invests in the advanced technologies of tomorrow and places more emphasis on conservation and energy efficiency.”

But the answers are not readily available.

“Oil independence, in the near future, is not to be had,” Thompson concedes, adding he thinks Americans are “willing to trade some discomfort to get some honesty.”

On economic issues, Thompson is blunt. The time is now to reform the American economy.

He says the country needs “market-based approaches to reform that guarantee benefits for those who need them and embrace personal responsibility and cost-effectiveness without raising taxes.”

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