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April 14, 2007

Yet More Thompson

By Ankush

Had enough Fred Thompson today?  Not yet!

I just finished reading The Weekly Standard's profile of Thompson by Stephen Hayes, quite possibly the worst journalist in America.  (Incidentally, the title of Thompson's ridiculous op-ed today -- "Case Closed" -- was also the title of one of Hayes's ridiculous articles on the supposed connections between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.  Great minds, I suppose.)

I don't have all that much to say, but I figured since we all have Thompson on the brain, it'd be worth throwing this out.  Anyway, the piece has some good material to chew over:   

  • A decent chunk of the profile is devoted to Thompson's response when he is asked by the deliberately obtuse Hayes "how it is possible that a majority of the country believes the Bush administration lied about Iraqi WMD, when the U.S. intelligence community and the world consensus was that Saddam Hussein had these weapons."  Thompson expounds at length on the subject, but, needless to say, neither Hayes nor Thompson ever mention any of the countless reasons we have to believe that Bush misled the country during the run-up to the war.  No surprise given the fantasyland in which The Weekly Standard dwells, but still grating nonetheless.
  • Thompson advocates a long-term policy of "regime change" in Iran and says that the Iranian government is engaged in "acts of war" (Hayes's words) against the US.  Thompson does argue that "we're stretched too thin" in Iraq to launch the war that he apparently wants, so that might make him slightly less crazy than other people in his party.
  • He won't outline the plan he has for social security, but you can bet it's going to be good.  Thompson believes that Bush's plan in 2000 was, in Hayes's words, "only tinkering on the margins of real reform." Thompson himself says, "We've been operating under the assumption in this country that it's the third rail and that if you talk about it, those people who are most concerned about retirement programs will kill you. I don't think that's true."  That doesn't sound like the sort of thing someone says if he plans to keep the wildly popular social security program intact.
  • Although Thompson now believes Roe should be overturned and appears to be staunchly opposed to abortion, he "finds the news reports [about his views] from his first run for Senate perplexing."  I don't know what it is that's so perplexing.  No one disputes -- and indeed Thompson himself doesn't dispute it, because Hayes never raises it -- that he said the following about abortion during his first run: "Government should stay out of it. No public financing. The ultimate decision must be made by the woman. Government should treat its citizens as adults capable of making moral decisions on their own."  That is, um, ostensibly at odds with what he says now.

I'm still sorting out my feelings about whether Thompson is actually a threat to whoever the Democratic nominee will be.  As Chris Cillizza has pointed out, he certainly has some things going for him.  On the other hand, I tend to agree with James Wolcott's assessment that Thompson "has all the sparkle, verve, charisma, and inspirational lift of Lawrence Eagleburger acting as if it's some great imposition on him to discuss foreign policy and explain subtleties to idiots." Now, I would like to believe that no one who I find to be such an objectionable personality could ever actually win a Presidential election, but then, I also thought that about George W. Bush.  Twice.

April 14, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Ezra, you missed an EXCELLENT Eve Fairbanks book review! Didn't she spam you that she was in the New York Times? A review of her review can be found on Kos.

Amazing that Harold over at "Called as Seen" missed it too.

Curious also why you are so afraid of Fred and why you know nothing of Economics while you spout about it so.

Posted by: Anonymouse | Apr 14, 2007 5:43:22 PM

I love this dynamic where Democrats create a wonderful and widely loved benefit program, and an influential segment of the GOP keeps wanting to tear it down. So every few years, the Republicans overreach and attack the program, and it's like watching one of those gruesome failed charges from World War I, with guys barely getting out of the trenches before the artillery takes their heads off.

Let's hope we get to see it again.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Apr 14, 2007 7:11:23 PM

Anonymouse,

People might be more inclined to take your comments on other's lack of knowlege seriously if you took the time to know who you are addressing.

The above was posted by Ankush not Ezra.

Posted by: W.B. Reeves | Apr 14, 2007 7:38:09 PM

Yeah, that was a wreck of a comment even by troll standards.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Apr 14, 2007 8:08:39 PM

My deep and abiding hope is that, after the Bush trainwreck, voters will be deeply suspicious of, if not actively repulsed by, faux-folksy good ol' boys peddling contempt for the institutions they want to be in charge of.

Enough voters, anyway. I don't give a damn about the bitter-enders.

Posted by: CaseyL | Apr 14, 2007 11:29:26 PM

The problem voters face is that even though they might be upset with the Iraq war and George Bush, they still don't really trust the Democrats on national security. Many are saying there is no threat and it is all made up and they certanly know, down deep, that simply isn't true.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 15, 2007 9:57:07 AM

Good to see Fred Thompson actually understands what the real issue is here. The US has a formula for growth that relies on relatively low rates of taxation. If taxes rise, as they have in the EU, econ stagnation ensues and growth stops. A rising tide.......

The Dems have no response to this eminently rational policy other than to promote class warfare by stating that some incomes grow far less than others. And a potpourri of stats that no one fact-checks. Read the New Yorker to see how far fact-checking has become lost art.

Posted by: daveinboca | Apr 15, 2007 12:24:52 PM

Believing Roe v Wade should be overturned is perfectly in line with the Constitution and a belief that the federal gov't should stay out of the abortion issue. Even if he believes states should let the woman allow women to make their own choices, he is consistent in believing that Roe v Wade was unconstitutional. Mind you, I detest Fred Thompson's candidacy for many reasons, but it isn't this one and he's hardly being inconsistent.

Posted by: John Goes | Apr 15, 2007 12:28:02 PM

The reality is that is was a poor legal decision because it's an extrapolation of the right of privacy, another extrapolation of the constitution. This decision is so questionable that we are still fighting over it decades later.

If this decision had been made via a democratic process such as a law or even an amendment instead of edict and fiat, more than likely it would be pretty much behind us now.

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