From the Waveland:
ISO a 'Real' Republican
Kevin Littleton, 52, has been coming to the Waveland Cafe in Des Moines, Iowa for years. A retired federal worker who now works for a defense contractor, Littleton was sipping a cup of coffee there Wednesday afternoon, talking about politics.
"I haven't seen a real Republican since Reagan," he said as the GOP candidates for president gathered in New Hampshire and Fred Thompson headed to Iowa to formally launch his presidential campaign in a three-day tour of Iowa.
Not even Thompson, who often presents himself as an authentic Reagan-style conservative?
"I don't have any positions from him, because he's so vague," said Littleton, who describes himself as a "constitutionalist." He opposes gun control, wants smaller government and is angry about what he sees as a slide toward "socialist" medicine.
"I don't want somebody taking half my paycheck off the top just to pay for healthcare," he said.
The Waveland is a gathering place where political discussions are common as the presidential campaign of 2008 plays out over the next several months. The Iowans who come here for the famous hash browns are exposed to presidential candidates more often than most.
Littleton said he started his political awareness as a Democrat who later supported Nixon and eventually became a Republican. He knows he won't support a Democrat, but he's still undecided about who to vote for this year and is waiting to hear more from the candidates.
He may get his chance soon enough. Today, Thompson begins a tour that starts in Des Moines and makes stops in Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Mason City, Cedar Rapids and Davenport.
What would Littleton say to Thompson if he came upon him later this week?
"I want to know I won't lose my guns," Littleton said. "I want him to tell me the IRS is going to be reined in."
On the Iraq war, Littleton says America must continue to battle there, but he says America's leaders must "unshackle" the troops by sending many more into the country and letting them fight more aggressively against the enemy.
"I can't fathom why they've tied the hands of the military," Littleton said. "You've got to beef it up. You've got to get ugly. I mean ugly. Why didn't they turn that place into a hole that smokes and glows and then you tell people in that community, stay home and stop bothering us or we'll vaporize [you]."
--Michael D. Shear
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