Former Senator Fred Thompson

For those who have managed to avoid the “Law and Order” TV series all these years, the recent Presidential boomlet for Fred Thompson – who plays the DA, to whom the protagonists go for wisdom and tough choices – is probably not a big deal. But let me tell you, this guy is so palpably appealing that it is very scary.
I don’t mean just a “recognition” carryover from his being a TV star. It’s that his demeanor will be the same in a campaign; it is very natural to him: steady, wise, avuncular, likable, reasonable, the very figure of a Statesman President. So, there it is, it could just be me, but maybe not.
I think he would be a far stronger Republican nominee than any of those currently in the field, and a far more formidable opponent for the Democrat. I have no idea what he has to say about Iraq, Bush, abortion rights, gays, or anything else. Hopefully, he would get himself in trouble over something.
But it’s hard to see how such troubles could be worse than what McCain and Guiliani already face. McCain’s problem’s are going to keep on getting worse because of the war (and his lack of a Surge Suppressor). Guiliani is going to be set back hard because of himself. The better he is known, the worse he looks, including the social issues and personal history/scandals. And his honeymoon period with the press is already ending.
Thompson could beat them both. I’m hoping that he’s had dozens of divorces and sordid affairs. If Thompson is reasonable on social issues, that could complicate things within the party. But, on reflection, it may not be just happenstance that the two current leading contenders are to the left of their party’s traditions. It’s possible that if Thompson came out as a True Conservative, that would hamper him, either in the primaries or in the general election.
The other hope is that deeply entrenched powers in the Republican Party – money-sources, local political machines, influence peddlers and the companies and industries they serve – have too much at stake already, are too committed, to allow someone new to take all the marbles.



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4 responses to “Former Senator Fred Thompson”

  1. dumpster Avatar

    I have not managed to escape the Lawn Order franchise, so I’m familiar with the Gruff But Avuncular DA persona. I agree that it’s appealing, particularly to party kingmakers, but I think part of the reaction against Bush now is that he’s a figurehead. An aggressive campaign — if the Democrats finally dare to “go negative” — could just as easily paint Thompson as a lightweight who is not up to the foreign policy challenges he will inherit.

  2. David Kolodney Avatar
    David Kolodney

    I hadn’t considered that. I think he would be set up for such “lightweight” attack, but he would also have to do something that substantiates it. A big gaffe, ignorance on an important foreign policy question.
    He won’t _sound_ like a lightweight. Unlike Bush, he seems to be able to remember his lines, and he’s probably good with a Teleprompter.
    It partly depends on how much he really does know about issues, also what credibility his Senate record provides, what committees was he on, legislation he initiated, etc.
    I’m curious about Guiliani in the same respect that mention. At some point people will realize he was just a mayor. How ignorant is _he_ about foreign policy, etc.?

  3. David Kolodney Avatar
    David Kolodney

    So I see. It’s the manifest flimsiness of the frontrunners’ campaigns that leaves such a big opening.
    Thompson’s record is such an blank that there’s a relatively large chance of something blowing up right away. Most politicians have at least gotten the once-over before they enter a Presidential campaign, and he’ll get a huge concentration of “opposition research” from all sides.
    There are going to be continually repeated comparisons with Reagan’s greatness. It’s such a neat point for reporters to make that each one will make it at leas6t a dozen times. The decorous silence of truth-tellers last year may be haunting them soon.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the longest thread ever produced in Edgewise. Let’s hope Vanity Fair doesn’t Google us, because then they’ll badger us relentlessly for nude photos for their cover.