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March 19, 2007

Terrible Thompson

Chris Cillizza's case for Fred Thompson is pretty convincing. Thompson sounds like a much more dangerous candidate than anyone else the GOP has put forward, and given the obvious room for a "true" Republican candidate, I'd be very surprised if he doesn't enter the race. The big, obvious weakness is that he sat atop the Scooter Libby defense team, which means he could possibly be tied to the Bush administration's corruption, but I'm not convinced that will stick. i guess the big hope would be that if he does enter the campaign, voters will get him mixed up with Tommy Thompson, thus dooming both their candidacies.

March 19, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

If he recruits Sam Waterston as his VP candidate, we're all doomed. They'll just book us all and let the judge sort us out...

Posted by: TJ | Mar 19, 2007 11:46:17 AM

"The big, obvious weakness is that he sat atop the Scooter Libby defense team,"

It won't hurt him with the base. It will help.

By the time the election rolls around, Libby will be old news. Plus it(Libby's case) can be equated with the Martha Stewart case.

He is the most consistant conservative, has face recognition (all them Law and Order watchers will vote for him cuz he is on their favorite show, it don't matter that he is conservative, they recognise him and that is the main thing[most libs that watch those shows vote based on sound bites anyway, not a group of 'thinkers']), and he talks in a down home regular guy way. He will appeal to middle America.

As one who has an idea what the base likes, he is by far the most appealing.

He is similar to Reagan.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Mar 19, 2007 11:49:35 AM

Have the DC hospitals seen an increase in fingernail injuries? From all the bottom-of-the-barrel scraping that the GOP is doing?

Why not just nominate the corpse of Ronald Reagan and be done with it?

Posted by: Stephen | Mar 19, 2007 12:00:20 PM

Shit. I drafted a post last week and never published it that covered a lot of this. I'm actually very nervous about a Thompson run, for a lot of other reasons the Post didn't even get to yet:

He's famous in a way that doesn't cast him as a right-wing nutjob. He has high ratings from the ACU, which means he'll get support from the base. His personal tragedy with his daughter makes probing into his personal life a much harder and less-likely situation versus, for example, McCain and Giuliani. He likely has huge potential financial support from establishment in New York and California because of his film and television career. In short, he's a lot more dangerous than people think.

Posted by: August J. Pollak | Mar 19, 2007 12:07:58 PM

How can you write that the case is convincing when the last line is, "Stay tuned for the case against Thompson later this week"?? Any argument that by definition leaves out any acknowledgment of the cons is going to sound compelling.

Posted by: Martin | Mar 19, 2007 12:08:07 PM

Thompson sounds like a much more dangerous candidate than anyone else the GOP has put forward

Are we talking about in the primaries or in the general? In the primaries, maybe. In the general, I don't see what's so formidable about the guy. Yeah, he's on teevee, but his star power would be basically neutralized if Obama is the nominee.

Other than that, he's just a garden-variety Republican offering essentially four more years of the Bush administration. The campaign theme against him would be simple: if you want the US in Iraq for another four years, elect Fred Thompson. If you want the US out of Iraq, elect Obama/Hillary/Edwards/Whoever.

Hagel is the only one who worries me, but the GOPers will never nominate him.

Posted by: Jason | Mar 19, 2007 12:16:43 PM

The chief appeal of Thompson right now is that he isn't running. Let him get into the race, and see how hot everyone is for him then.

Posted by: Glenn | Mar 19, 2007 1:01:39 PM

Isn't Freddy pro-choice? If they want an electable pro-baby-killing candidate, they've got Rudy. What they need is someone's who antichoice, electable, and liked by conservatives. I think it's possible that such a beast does not exist. Jeb, maybe, though you could argue that's he not electable given his last name.

Posted by: david mizner | Mar 19, 2007 1:18:42 PM

Oh, I see; he's used to be prochoice but not he's mutiple choice, like Mitt. You know someone's serious when he starts changing his views of essential moral and political questions...


"In the same interview last weekend in which he admitted to thinking about a possible White House bid, former Sen. Fred Thompson (R) also said he’s pro-life and would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned. In past interviews and news clippings, however, Thompson was identified as being pro-choice and against making early-term abortions a crime -- although he did favor strict limits on abortion (like parental notification, being against partial-birth abortion, and being opposed to the federal funding of abortions).

Pro-life Thompson
WALLACE: … So let's do a lightning round -- quick questions, quick answers, a variety of issues -- to see where Fred Thompson stands.
THOMPSON: Um hmm.
WALLACE: Abortion.
THOMPSON: Pro-life.
WALLACE: Would you like to overturn Roe...
THOMPSON: You said lightning round, now. If you want...
WALLACE: Well, let's go.
THOMPSON: ... more, give me another question. I'll work through it.
WALLACE: Do you want to overturn Roe vs. Wade?
THOMPSON: I think Roe vs. Wade was bad law and bad medical science. And the way to address that is through good judges. I don't think the court ought to wake up one day and make new social policy for the country. It's contrary to what it's been the past 200 years. (Fox News Sunday, 3/11/07)

Posted by: david mizner | Mar 19, 2007 1:24:18 PM

Hmmm. I really don't see it.

Posted by: Sandals | Mar 19, 2007 1:25:27 PM

He's scary from the progressive point of view because he isn't obviously nuts or have a history of wildly swinging positions on the issues (or being a wild swinger), so some people who don't want a woman or black or trial lawyer in the WH might feel comfortable with him.

Since the polls on trial heats between Dem and Repub candidates show near parity, it appears as though the electorate hasn't learned much about NOT trusting GOP leaders to perform as advertised.

He gets the advantage of having been a Senator, without the baggage of recent GOP senatorial voting records, and he has the aura of being near the nexus of all the GOP power blocks: neocon wingnutia, religious fundamentalism, corporate power enabling, and old-fashioned GOP know-nothingism.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Mar 19, 2007 1:39:25 PM

Doesn't Fred Thompson support the war in the same way the current big three do? If so, then why is he a much stronger candidate than Chuck Hagel?

Posted by: Brian | Mar 19, 2007 1:46:54 PM

polls on trial heats between Dem and Repub candidates show near parity

This is worrying to me. I'm not sure how much it should worry me, though. As recently as January, an unnamed Democrat was outpolling an unnamed Republican by 21 points. So why does Mr. Democrat lose his twenty-point advantage when he becomes Mr. Obama or Ms. Clinton, and when Mr. Republican becomes Mr. McCain or Mr. Giuliani.

With Obama, this phenomenon can perhaps be chalked up to name recognition, which McCain and Giuliani have in spades. But this certainly isn't the case with Hillary, or arguably Edwards (who was, after all, the Democratic VP candidate last time around).

So bottom line is that you have to wonder why people seem in the abstract to want a Democratic president in 2009, but when the names get filled in they seem to prefer the Republican.

Posted by: Jason | Mar 19, 2007 2:38:49 PM

bottom-of-the-barrel scraping

Despite the acting career, he actually has more political experience and qualifications than the main Democratic candidates.

Posted by: Sanpete | Mar 19, 2007 2:39:51 PM

If so, then why is he a much stronger candidate than Chuck Hagel?

Because since he's no longer in the Senate, Mr. Thompson didn't vote against the Reid withdrawal resolution, or in favor of the Gregg resolution repudiating cutting off Iraq funding, the way that Senator Hagel did.

And I wouldn't overlook Mr. Thompson's role as co-chief counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee, which could lend an aura of putting good government above partisanship. Or his substituting for Paul Harvey, darling of many low-information voters.

And let's not forget, as has been pointed out above, his extensive political experience and qualifications as, um, an attorney, an actor and a one-and-one-third-term US Senator. Why, none of the main Democratic candidates has been a professional actor.

Posted by: mds | Mar 19, 2007 3:15:52 PM

Be my guest republicans. I reiterate: Giuliani and McCain leave me poopless. Which is to say, I think either one would wipe the floor with anyone brewing on the dem side, save, maybe, big maybe, Richardson or Clark.
Look, they just appeal to the center, people who aren't ideologically driven tend to like them. People who disagree with them will vote for them because they occasionally take a reasonable position and seem like a sure hand. HRC, Obama, and Edwards are struggling to pull even with them in the single most impressively Democratic moment since Watergate. And twenty months is a long time...

Posted by: RW | Mar 19, 2007 4:42:06 PM

Thomspon is currently winning the poll at hannity.com, for whatever that's worth (I voted for Huckabee because he plays bass, like me!).

Posted by: Fred | Mar 19, 2007 5:33:17 PM

The gop has been looking for 20 years for Reagan. I think they even thought of digging him up and just propping him in a chair. A Weekend at Bernie's sorta thing.
Thompson is the illusion for them. Actor and pol. Just like ronnie! He enters and the nomination is his.
I've gone trolling thru Freeperville to see what they thought of their candidates and found out something interesting about ours. They are praying we chose hillary. They believe she is the one dem they can beat. They are also praying we don't pick Obama as they see him as too hard to beat with the current crop of gop contenders.

Posted by: vwcat | Mar 19, 2007 8:19:02 PM

The gop has been looking for 20 years for Reagan. I think they even thought of digging him up and just propping him in a chair.

Dead voters has been the exclusive domain of the Democrats for decades. It's their turf.

I've gone trolling thru Freeperville to see what they thought...

Of course you have. It's the standard at most liberal blogs because what is said there is important. If is wasn't, you wouldn't be going there.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Mar 19, 2007 11:12:11 PM


Turning off italics......

Posted by: Fred Jones | Mar 19, 2007 11:13:19 PM

Thompson seems like a decent, intelligent human being. There's a certain dignity to him (a quality that's, er, lacking in certain other unnamed personages), and that's why he's so popular in GOP circles. It's not just fear of losing the White House and a consequent desire to nominate a strong candidate -- it's a reaction (conscious or otherwise) to the almost surreal awfulness of the current administration.

That said, I doubt Thompson is the GOP's best bet. He might well prove formidable in the primaries (that is, among registered Republicans) but I think in the general election the GOP is headed for real trouble in places like Ohio, Colorado and Florida (ie., purple states). They need a centrist, or someone who can at least be spun as one.

Popularity among dispirited right wingers should not be confused with appeal to the broad middle.

Posted by: Jasper | Mar 19, 2007 11:18:28 PM

Actually, I do see him there. I've heard more than one rumor Gore will run, but I think he's waiting on Thompson (or perhaps they are playing chicken) to see if Gore does.

If Thompson runs, Gore probably will not run unless he has a makeover, not of looks, but rhetoric. There isn't one person except some GOP's who may post here that can say Gore is "dumb." Gore's testimony tomorrow will be worth watching and disconstructing thereof.

As much as I appreciate them, Northeastern candidates will have a challenge on their hands to run against a smooth talking RW southerner. Thus, John Edwards is the only one to take someone like Thompson on because he is only consistent one since Big Dawg in public or on TV to use language the general populace understands. Moreover, they [Edwards and Thompson] are both very experienced with juries. It's a matter of MSM deciding if they are the match-up or not. I think it is the potential match-up.

Posted by: Benny | Mar 21, 2007 12:20:36 AM

The chief appeal of Thompson right now is that he isn't running. Let him get into the race, and see how hot everyone is for him then.

Isn't that what they said about Obama before he jumped in?

Posted by: Don | Mar 31, 2007 5:14:18 PM

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Posted by: judy | Sep 27, 2007 3:42:47 AM

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