When journalists and candidates, with their typically childlike enthusiasm, suddenly began gumming the word "change" after the Iowa caucuses, Thompson pointed out the obvious: "Change has been part of every election since the dawn of elections, if you weren't an incumbent." He noted how easy it was "to demagogue" the issue of federal spending by dwelling on relatively insignificant earmarks: "All these programs that we talk about in the news every day are a thimbleful in the ocean compared to the entitlement tsunami that's coming to hit us."
Views like these might have earned another candidate a reputation for "straight talk"--maybe even the title of "maverick." But Thompson was more subversive than that; he was an existential maverick, and his campaign was an implicit rebuke to the system in its entirety. He was a man out of his time. With its reduced metabolism and procedural modesty, his campaign still might have served as an illustration of what politics once was like and--if we have the audacity to hope--might be again.
You should read the whole thing to understand the kind of man Thompson is; the kind of man we don't have time for these days. It seems the American public can only respond to the phonies--both the obvious ones and the carefully crafted ones. We don't care. As long as they say everything we want to hear and suck up to us in the most ostentatious manner possible.
Consider this anecdote about FDT:
Fundraising events scheduled to last two or three hours often guttered out when the candidate departed after twenty minutes. High-end donors complained of being uncourted, unpampered, unloved--even unphoned. At one party in a private home last year, Thompson made the rounds of money-shakers, delivered brief remarks, and then slipped into a bedroom to watch a basketball game on TV by himself.
So that's what it's come to. We want to be 'courted', 'pampered' and 'loved' by the candidates. It's all about them convincing us that it's all about us.
Narcissists in Love. Not a smidgen of reality exists between the two lovers; only dreams, fantasies, ego-gratification and mutual pleasuring.
That's why our idealized relationships with politicians (I wish there was a way I could denote spitting out the word) never last. Neither are real in their expectations of each other and when the truth finally hits the fan....
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but normal people; psychologically healthy people aren't consumed by the need to have power over others; or the need to have everyone love them all the time. Normal people are often fairly boring, sometimes (gasp!) ordinary people who do what needs to be done without the whining, and even without all the perks and kudos. That's why I can really relate to Greenspan's proposed constitutional amendment: "Anyone willing to do what is required to become president of the United States is thereby barred from taking that office."
Please come back, Fred! I'll take a 'man out of this time' any day over the bunch of hypocritical and specious blowhards--male and female--we've got to choose from now.