There is a multitude of commentaries already on the net about this. The conservative blogs have almost all claimed a big victory for Fred. I have however put up a comment below from a more centrist source. Heading above and post below from The Moderate Voice. See the original for links
The BIG story out of last night's GOP debate in South Carolina is that actor and former Senator Fred Thompson finally morphed into the Fred Thompson many conservatives had hoped to see: energetic, witty and aggressive. Will it serve Thompson - or will he be the candidate that could have been? The New York Times story sets the scene:
Fred D. Thompson tried to salvage his faltering presidential campaign at a debate Thursday night with a barrage of sharp attacks on the "liberal" policies of Mike Huckabee, the fellow Southerner whom he clearly sees as a rival in the South Carolina primary. The performance by Mr. Thompson, which including several pointed one-liners, capped a debate that showed the altered terrain of the Republican field as it moved beyond contests in Iowa and New Hampshire...
But it was Mr. Thompson's performance, in which he shook off the laid-back style that has defined his candidacy, that provided some of the liveliest moments of the debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C.. "This is a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party and its future," said Mr. Thompson, who has staked his run on a strong showing in South Carolina. The primary there is Jan. 19.
"On the one hand," he said, "you have the Reagan revolution, you have the Reagan coalition of limited government and strong national security. And the other hand, you have the direction that Governor Huckabee would take us in. He would be a Christian leader, but he would also bring about liberal economic policies, liberal foreign policies."
That effectively summarized the choice facing the GOP from the standpoint of conservatives. But what happened next is what they were talking about on all the cable shows afterwards:
Mr. Thompson then lit into Mr. Huckabee, the former Baptist preacher and Arkansas governor who won the Iowa caucus, for wanting to close the prison at Guant namo Bay, for supporting what he called "taxpayer-funded programs for illegals" and for wanting to sign a law restricting smoking. "That's not the model of the Reagan coalition, that's the model of the Democratic Party," he said.
Mr. Huckabee, for his part, responded with trademark humor. "The Air Force has a saying that says if you're not catching flak, you're not over the target," he said. "I'm catching the flak; I must be over the target."
The bottom line is that Thompson finally lived up to what many GOPers felt was his potential.
Fascism's Legacy: Liberalism
Daniel Pipes has been reading Jonah Goldberg too. An excerpt below from his comments
Liberal fascism sounds like an oxymoron - or a term for conservatives to insult liberals. Actually, it was coined by a socialist writer, none other than the respected and influential left-winger H.G. Wells, who in 1931 called on fellow progressives to become "liberal fascists" and "enlightened Nazis." Really. His words, indeed, fit a much larger pattern of fusing socialism with fascism: Mussolini was a leading socialist figure who, during World War I, turned away from internationalism in favor of Italian nationalism and called the blend Fascism. Likewise, Hitler headed the National Socialist German Workers Party.
These facts jar because they contradict the political spectrum that has shaped our worldview since the late 1930s, which places communism at the far Left, followed by socialism, liberalism in the center, conservatism, and then fascism on the far Right. But this spectrum, Jonah Goldberg points out in his brilliant, profound, and original new book, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (Doubleday), reflects Stalin's use of fascist as an epithet to discredit anyone he wished - Trotsky, Churchill, Russian peasants - and distorts reality. Already in 1946, George Orwell noted that fascism had degenerated to signify "something not desirable."
To understand fascism in its full expression requires putting aside Stalin's misrepresentation of the term and also look beyond the Holocaust, and instead return to the period Goldberg terms the "fascist moment," roughly 1910-35. A statist ideology, fascism uses politics as the tool to transform society from atomized individuals into an organic whole. It does so by exalting the state over the individual, expert knowledge over democracy, enforced consensus over debate, and socialism over capitalism. It is totalitarian in Mussolini's original meaning of the term, of "Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State." Fascism's message boils down to "Enough talk, more action!" Its lasting appeal is getting things done.
In contrast, conservatism calls for limited government, individualism, democratic debate, and capitalism. Its appeal is liberty and leaving citizens alone. Goldberg's triumph is to establish the kinship between communism, fascism, and liberalism. All derive from the same tradition that goes back to the Jacobins of the French Revolution. His revised political spectrum would focus on the role of the state and go from libertarianism to conservatism to fascism in its many guises - American, Italian, German, Russian, Chinese, Cuban, and so on
US forces' airstrike destroys al-Qaeda stronghold: "Bombers dropped 18 tons of explosives on 40 targets in an al-Qaeda bastion on the southern outskirts of Baghdad in a 10-minute airstrike. The attack by B-1 bombers and F-16 fighters on Arab Jabour village was part of a nationwide operation against al-Qaida, codenamed Phantom Phoenix, launched by US and Iraqi forces on Tuesday. "Thirty-eight bombs were dropped within the first 10 minutes, with a total tonnage of 40,000 pounds," the US military said. "More than 40 targets were hit after precision air strikes destroyed reported al-Qaeda safehavens in Arab Jabour," it said. The bombings were carried out as ground troops closed in on the area. No details of casualties were given."
The thin man goes to Washington: "In his inaugural New York Times column, William Kristol suggests Mike Huckabee may be the right Republican presidential candidate to beat 'a liberal Democrat' who will 'want to increase the scope of the nanny state.' This is like counting on Godzilla to save us from King Kong. Losing more than 100 pounds in less than a year is the former Arkansas governor's main claim to fame, and for Huckabee, the personal is political."
The "change" campaign: ""Welcome to the new year. Apparently 2008 is the year of Change. Change and Hope. Change, Hope and New Direction. Change, Hope, New Direction and Fixin' Up Washington. How? Well shame on you for asking. Isn't it enough that we're hearing speech after flowery speech promising these things? Why, I get all misty just thinking about all the change that's on its way. Confound it man, don't be asking how these fabulous Agents of Change intend to do it all. Let's just spend some time feeling good and excited about the bright and shiny changed future."
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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.
The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".