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March 11, 2007

Fred Thompson

Can someone explain to me who former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson is and why anyone cares that he's thinking of running for president?

March 11, 2007 | Permalink


Wiki much?

There seems to be some belief that he would make an appealing mainstream Republican candidate, and I tend to think there's truth to it.

To wit: the spouse and I were coming home from brunch and heard a radio report about him today. Spouse's comment - "yeah, he wouldn't be bad."

Then I smacked him.

Posted by: fiat lux | Mar 11, 2007 6:02:09 PM

Maybe he'd pick Olivia Benson to be his running mate.

Posted by: ptm | Mar 11, 2007 6:05:04 PM

People would care that he's running for president because they'd get all confused and think his resume is much more impressive than it really is. This is the genius of Fred Thompson; he's not really an actor, he just shows up and does his Fred Thompson thing no matter the role, so it all blends together seamlessly in your memory. Without referencing Wikipedia I can't tell you which of his film-jobs he's actually had in real life and which he hasn't, so I have to assume he's an admiral in the USNavy who also spent time in the Senate while moonlighting as a district attorney in NYC, and at one time may have been an air traffic controller.

He's really accomplished.

Posted by: Quarterican | Mar 11, 2007 6:06:36 PM

He's the one that always gets to play the role of gruff, no-nonsense wise person on Law And Order and on other shows, and who has therefore convinced a lot of people that's who he actually is. In my recollection, he was as dishonest a hack in the late Clinton administration as most anyone, chairing hearings to investigate Clinton etc. more for partisan advantage than for policy reasons. Curiously, a quick Google suggests that he was disliked by the far right for being less crazy than was Dan Burton, who was his counterpart in the House in some respects.

He apparently was also minority counsel for the Watergate hearings, which does not sound promising, but I don't know about his role.

Posted by: Warren Terra | Mar 11, 2007 6:08:01 PM

If you remember the Scorcese-Nolte-DeNiro remake of Cape Fear, Fred Thompson was the one drinking the whiskey and Pepto Bismol cocktails.

Posted by: kth | Mar 11, 2007 6:22:04 PM

Underneath the ego of an actor he has the ego of a politician. By this time in his life, he's probably worn out 15 mirrors.

Posted by: Mike | Mar 11, 2007 6:23:10 PM

He's tall (6'6"), he played a recognizable character on Law&Order that voters might conflate with real life, and he's sort of charismatic.

Did you think there was some other set of attributes that might make him worthy of the Republican nomination?

Posted by: Constantine | Mar 11, 2007 6:47:43 PM

Mitch McConnell was his mentor - no more need be said.

Knee-Jerk corp-con, not so much religious nut-con. Party Hack. Might be honest, but I wouldn't bet $5.00 on that. Played a war-mongering Rear Admiral commanding an aircraft carrier strike force in Red October, but gave in to the sweet reason of CIA Soviet scholar Jack Ryan when the prospect of a Soviet super-sub was offered.

Who knows if he's married 0, 1, 2, 3 times?

Among the current GOP candidates, he is probably less wacked out than Gingrich, Guliani, McCain and Brownback.

He'd make a good dictator.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Mar 11, 2007 7:01:42 PM

Oh, and his name is Fred Dalton Thompson, not to be confused with Fred Thompson who is far less impressive.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Mar 11, 2007 7:03:58 PM

"Can someone explain to me ... why anyone cares that he's thinking of running for president?"

He's good on TV. He's got an attractive persona.

He'd be formidable in the general were he to actually win the nomination, which is obviously a real long shot.

Posted by: Petey | Mar 11, 2007 7:14:13 PM

In The Hunt for Red October he plays a gruff Naval officer who stands up for CIA man Alec Baldwin.

He used to date Lorrie Morgan, but you don't know who she is...they do in the South though.

Lorrie married Sammy Kershaw. You'll want to hear the song "Yard Sale" sometime, it's a hoot.

Fred Thompson would be a much better Republican President than the current occupant. I realize that's not saying much, of course, but you at least get the sense that he might understand the profundity of habeas corpus.

Posted by: Garuda | Mar 11, 2007 7:25:37 PM

He is only on his second wife. That makes him virtuous, like you know, Dole and Reagan who also married Republican operatives

Posted by: marc sobel | Mar 11, 2007 7:26:14 PM

To be a public spokesman for conservatism these days, one has to be extremely skilled at saying things which are flatly untrue, and doing so convincingly. Thompson possesses this ability to look you in the eye and tell you down is up. As such, he's a possible Republican presidential nominee. Like Buchanan in 1856, he's considered an attractive nominee because he hasn't played any role in the disastrous stewardship of his party's President and congressional leadership.

Posted by: Ron Thompson | Mar 11, 2007 7:46:46 PM

He's the fictional New York City district attorney on Law & Order.

That alone will get Thompson at least 30 percent of the vote.

He's also Scooter Libby's lapdog and, during his service as a U.S. senator in between acting gigs, renowned for his attacks on alleged illegal behavior of the Clinton Administration.

In all, a better actor than Bonzo. These days, that's the Conservative measuring stick.

Posted by: Mark | Mar 11, 2007 7:53:26 PM

We should probably care because it looks like the Republicans have clued into the fact that their presidential candidate bench is pretty week in 2008. I know nothing about Sen. Thompson's politics, but he's an actor who plays a somewhat noble person on TV. Since campaigning is all about image, I think he would be formidable.

Posted by: Unstable Isotope | Mar 11, 2007 7:56:06 PM

Well, the Democrats could always respond by nominating Congressman Adam Schiff.

Posted by: MattT | Mar 11, 2007 8:20:57 PM

Thompson was the guy on the 9-11 commission who ambushed Richard Clarke with Clarke's background briefing made when he worked for the Bush administration (broadcast by Fox News when the White House released them from the pledge of confidentiality to Clarke). So Thompson's allies a Fox & Bush co cheated to help him put Clarke on the spot. Nonetheless, the audience applauded Clarke when he stood up to Thompson and the big, gruff, 6'6" tough guy walked out of the hearing, ran away and chickened out.

Would make a pretty deadly 30 second spot about make believe and reality no ?

Posted by: Robert Waldmann | Mar 11, 2007 9:27:27 PM

All of Fred Thompson's commercials would begin and end with that "dunk-dunk" Law and Order noise. I feel this would give him an unfair advantage.

Posted by: Seth D. | Mar 11, 2007 10:11:45 PM

Well, Republicans do pretty well with limited-range actors... in fact, they never seem to tell them to just shut up and act.

Dunno if it's worth anything, but during the impeachment hearings a coworker of mine from Thompson's hometown (just a few years younger than him, IIRC) said that everyone there knew that Freddy Thompson was one of the meanest liars around, but he was too big to have gotten the beating he'd deserved.

Posted by: latts | Mar 11, 2007 10:23:24 PM

Also, I don't believe him- he did fire Elizabeth Rohm's character because she was a lesbian.

Posted by: Davey | Mar 11, 2007 11:28:33 PM

"If you remember the Scorcese-Nolte-DeNiro remake of Cape Fear, Fred Thompson was the one drinking the whiskey and Pepto Bismol cocktails."

Please, get your third string actors in order, that was not Fred Thompson in Cape Fear, but Joe Don Baker (the poor man's Brian Denahey). Joe Don Baker has far more dramatic range than Thompson could ever muster, with roles as diverse as the Chief of police in Fletch, the title character in Mitchell and the Felix Lighter equivelant in Pierce Brosnan's James Bond films. Now that is a man that deserves to be president. With Al Leong as the vice president, of course.

Posted by: Vermin Jones | Mar 11, 2007 11:39:27 PM

everything people are saying about his appeal is probably true.

however, nothing breeds bottom of the barrel like desperation. And the GOP is desperated. Their problem: the albatrose called Bush. Hello sea floor how are you.

Posted by: akaison | Mar 11, 2007 11:39:46 PM

Robert, Fred Thompson was not on the 9/11 commission. The Thompson on the commission was James Thompson, former GOP governor of Illinois.

Posted by: transplant | Mar 12, 2007 12:44:50 AM

John Kasich: "[Actors'] jaw-dropping bold statements against the U.S. government and President Bush leave many asking the question, who do these people think they are?"

And then he goes on to talk to conservative actors to see what they think about the U.S. government and President Bush...


Posted by: Matt | Mar 12, 2007 12:49:02 AM

If his campaign gets him off :&O, thereby opening the way for Jack McCoy to ascend to DA and hiring Paul Robinette back as executive assistane DA, I'm all for it.
I have no freaking life.

Posted by: charles pierce | Mar 12, 2007 1:57:55 AM

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