America Needs 'Appropriate Change,' Thompson Says

By Keriann Hopkins | July 7, 2008 | 8:24 PM EDT

Arlington, Va. ( - America doesn't need change so much as it needs to be heading in the right direction, according to former Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson.

Thompson, a former senator from Tennessee, gave delegates to the National Right to Life Convention a lecture on the historical, political, and philosophical underpinnings of true change.

Referring to Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and his now ever-present mantra, "Change We Can Believe In," Thompson said the nation's pressing need is for "appropriate change."

"There's been a lot of talk about the need for change in this country," Thompson said. "I don't understand why the call for change is so powerful right now, considering the pitiful condition that our country's in.

He added, with tongue-firmly-in cheek: "We simply have the most prosperous, [most free], and strongest country in the history of the world, and so I don't understand why the liberal politicians and their supporters see the need for change. So it's not change that concerns us, it's change in the wrong direction, and what are we changing from."

Thompson cited Edmund Burke, who wrote extensively about change and philosophy in the 18th century and who many regard as the father of conservatism.

"He said that change was inevitable, and when properly guided, change was a process of renewal. But it was his opinion that the man who loves change is disqualified from being a reformer because of his lust to be the agent of change."

"Remind you of anybody you know?" Thompson asked, amid laughter from the crowd.

The actor and lawyer suggested, as an alternative to the current idea of change, that the U.S. "change" by returning to restricted government and constitutional principles.

"Instead of the constant search for the new, exciting, and different, let's reassert the first principles that make this country great," he said.

Thompson noted that the biggest single agent of change in the United States is the Supreme Court, which is likely to add crucial new judges during the next presidency.

"The fact is, at a time when the Supreme Court is in the balance, and America is facing unprecedented national security threats, at a time when rogue nations have or are about to have nuclear capabilities, at a time when Russia is increasingly belligerent, at a time when China is engaged in a military buildup, the Democratic Party has nominated for president one of the most inexperienced and the most liberal members of the United States Senate," Thompson said.

The National Right to Life Committee officially endorsed Thompson in the 2008 presidential race, but Thompson dropped out of the race in January.

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