But just who is Fred Thompson, you ask?
He's an actor.
He was a US Attorney.
He was a Senator for Tennessee.
And soon, he could be President. There's been a lot of talk lately about a Fred D. Thompson candidacy, and all of it exciting.
On 03/11/07, he went on Fox News to talk about that possibility:
On 03/17, he had an interview with John Fund:
It is a slightly surreal setting to be talking big-league politics. But not unprecedented. In 1965, Ronald Reagan held early strategy meetings on his nascent race for governor of California on the set of "Death Valley Days." In 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped off a plane from a world-wide publicity tour for his last "Terminator" film and immediately huddled with advisers on his own campaign for governor. Both men effectively used their celebrity status to completely transform the races they entered.
So too may Fred Thompson. When we meet on Thursday night, it's only been four days since he appeared on Fox News to merely announce he was "looking at" running. Chuck Todd, the political director of NBC News, notes in amazement how "a retired senator can show a tiny bit of interest and literally shake up the race overnight."
And he is shaking up the race. Every GOP candidate is nervously watching the reaction to his possible entry. J.C. Watts, an Oklahoma congressman from 1995 to 2003, has endorsed him: "I define Fred Thompson as AC, what's AC? All class."
Fred Thompson clearly hasn't decided whether to run for president; and he underestimates just how much the traditional fund-raising he disdains may be necessary for his long-shot campaign. But he has assets that add up to an impressive portfolio.
So many voters remain unsold on any of the current GOP contenders that Mr. Thompson just might trade his TV sound stage for a campaign microphone. As this is the first truly open Republican nomination fight in decades, the party might as well revel in the competition it claims to cherish in other parts of life.
On 03/22, this was said:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton coined the "I'm in it to win it" phrase first, but friends of Law & Order actor and former Sen. Fred Thompson say he's thinking the same thing.
"Very simply put, he is seriously considering a run," says one.
And Possible Fred Thompson Candidacy Animates Conservatives
The possibility that former Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee might run for president has animated many conservative leaders who are unhappy with the GOP choices that exist now.
They consider Thompson a strong conservative with stellar communications skills and an interesting resume that includes success and fame as a movie and TV actor. All this reminds many of Ronald Reagan, an icon of the right.
On 03/23, The "Draft Fred Thompson 2008" campaign is still gaining steam.
There are now over 4,000 committed volunteers in all 50 states that are ready to give their all to make sure that Fred is the next President of the United States. The organizers believe that they may have as many as 10,000 volunteers signed-up soon.
Bumper sticker requests are pouring into Nashville at an astounding rate.
On 03/24, Bill Hobbs thinks Fred can get a lot of support:
How many current self-professed McCain supporters will ditch him for Fred Thompson if the chance arises? Unknown - but at least some will.
A number of political observers believe the "Big Three" candidate most vulnerable if Fred Thompson enters the race is Mitt Romney - whose support might rapidly shift to Thompson as there is little that Romney offer the electorate that Thompson can't match. Simply put, conservative Republicans voters - who will decide the nomination - have many fewer reasons to worry about Thompson than they do about Romney.
[A]nalysis of recent polls suggests that Giuliani's recent surge in the polls is driven in part by conservatives who, despite his liberal social views and support for gay marriage and abortion rights, are backing Giuliani because they think he's the only candidate in the race who can defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Fred Thompson is clearly electable in November - the latest Rasmussen poll shows Thompson virtually tied with Clinton, leading her 44-43. Would his entry into the race cost Giuliani some of his support amongst conservatives looking for a horse who can best Hillary? It's hard to see how it wouldn't.
My prediction: The first reliable national polls after Thompson announces his candidacy will have Thompson roughly tied with Giuliani, and both of them at least 10 points ahead of McCain and Romney.
On 03/26, George Korda writes in Fred Thompson and the hunt for a red November:
If Thompson seeks the Republican nomination, he’ll win it, unless there is some as-yet-unknown oversized skeleton lurking in his political closet.
He’ll win for three reasons:
- He’s a southerner with conservative credentials in national government service
- He’s a personality in an age of personality-driven politics
- He will out-presence his opponents
Assuming he runs, on the immediate plus side, the man’s a movie and television star (my personal favorite: The Hunt for Red October).
Assuming he decides he’s willing to make the run, being a famous southerner with conservative credentials gives him the move to the inside part of the track, particularly when the Democrats seem fully intent on repeating history.
Since 1964 the only winners of the presidency are those with roots in the south and the west. (George Bush, the 41st President, has New England ties, but his eyes have been on Texas for many an election cycle. The GOP didn’t hold the 1992 Republican National Convention in Texas for no reason).
The lineup of Lyndon Johnson (Texas); Richard Nixon (California); Jimmy Carter (Georgia); Ronald Reagan (California); George Bush (Texas); Bill Clinton (Arkansas); and George W. Bush (Texas) suggests that the Democrats’ traditional selection of northern liberals just doesn’t work well. Yet, Sen. Hillary Clinton (New York) and Sen. Barack Obama (Illinois) are sucking up all the oxygen in the Democratic contest.
Another Thompson advantage is that he’s a personality in a personality-driven political culture. And with his size, voice and demeanor, he’ll out-presence any contender he’ll face.
Barring some remarkable calamity, if Thompson is at the top of the ticket it’s hard to envision red states going blue in November 2008. The reverse is more likely.
Fred Thompson and the hunt for a red November.
It could be an ending for the movies.
In the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, he took a nice chunk of support from both Romney and Guiliani:
The latest USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted Friday through Sunday, on the presidential race is out, and it's a humdinger. It's hard to say what the headline even is. Here are a few tries, though:
* Romney's support drops to within the margin of error of not existing (that's 3% support in a poll where the margin of error is 3%).
* Giuliani's support drops 13 percentage points since the last USA Today/Gallup poll, March 2-4 (that's gotta hurt).
* Fred Thompson (not running, by the way) is now the No. 3 in the GOP field, at 12%.
Ultimately, however, I'll go with the headline I've chosen above: "Thompson Takes Bites Out of Giuliani, Romney." While the usual caveats apply about the ridiculous earliness of all of these polls - and, now, the fact that voters know precisely zero about Fred Thompson past what they know of him from "Law & Order" - this is a clear data point on the question of just who is hurt by a Thompson candidacy.
On 03/27, World Net Daily writes
[W]hen former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee casually mentioned he "might" be interested in throwing his hat into the ring this summer, it seemed to rekindle hope under Republicans ever-seeking the next Ronald Reagan.
The Internet especially is abuzz with new political excitement.
A movement to draft Thompson got started. Or, more precisely, several such movements got started.
"It is becoming increasingly obvious that a growing number of Americans want Fred Thompson to join the 2008 presidential campaign," said Wamp. "Senator Thompson's ability to communicate an optimistic vision for America, coupled with his strong conservative credentials, makes him an ideal choice for thousands of our fellow citizens."
"I believe that thousands of Americans from every walk of life will join this grass-roots effort," Duncan said. "They will help us send a clear message to Senator Thompson that he should take the next step and announce his candidacy."
Wamp said Thompson "personifies strength and trust. His charisma, eloquence and exemplary public service have inspired Tennesseans and Americans alike. When I ask my conservative colleagues in Congress if Fred should run, it's like setting off fireworks above the Capitol."
One of the reasons a Thompson candidacy is so appealing is because of his successful career in Hollywood. His ability to perform reminds many of the overwhelming support Ronald Reagan had from both Republicans and Democrats.
His 6-foot 4-inch body, his deep rich voice and his country wit and wisdom immediately convinced many he was presidential timber.
Recently, Thompson has been sitting in for the aging radio institution known as Paul Harvey. The daily short-form program has familiarized him to millions of Americans who listen to it. It was short-form radio that also gave Ronald Reagan the opportunity to share his views with Americans from coast to coast.
Can lightning strike twice?
Can an actor reunite the Republican Party behind a conservative candidate known for his communication ability?
Some Republicans just can't wait to find out.
And, as of the time of this posting, he's leading a GOP Straw Poll. Not just leading, but DESTROYING:
F. Thompson 2309 (40.2%)
Giuliani 929 (16.2%)
Gingrich 697 (12.1%)
Romney 664 (11.5%)
Hunter 326 (5.7%)
Tancredo 254 (4.4%)
(none) 199 (3.5%)
McCain 135 (2.3%)
Brownback 119 (2.1%)
Huckabee 63 (1.1%)
T. Thompson 38 (0.7%)
Gilmore 10 (0.2%)
Pataki 7 (0.1%)
But in a crowded field, why am I so psyched about Fred Thompson?
First, let's consider the current leaders for the Republican nomination:
John McCain - He's more in love with himself and the adoration of the news media than with conservative values. His "maverickism" has earned him the adulation of journalists but the enmity of the party. He won't have the support he needs from conservatives, and the people he seems to be actively courting are going to vote for either Obama or Hillary. He's not conservative and unelectable.
Rudy Guiliani - He has the electability and the popularity, and conservatives hate him less than McCain. However, he's more liberal than John is. Rudy's done a great job of leading NYC after 9/11, and cleaning it up before that, but conservatives will be put off by the fact that he was the mayor of an extremely liberal city, and as such, had likewise liberal positions on gun control, abortion, gay marriage, etc. He's electable, but a RINO.
Mitt Romney - He seems to have decent conservative credentials, however, his records show several flip-flops regarding gun control and abortion, which will hurt him. Also, his Mormonism will probably be an issue for a lot of folks (Christian and atheist alike), however benign it may be. He suffers from the same problem that Rudy does in that he's the governor of an extremely liberal state.
There are other runners who are actually conservative, such as Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, and Newt Gingrich; however they either lack the popularity, the experience, or have too much baggage to be a serious contender.
So we need a candidate who is a) an honest-to-God conservative and b) electable.
That's where Fred Thompson comes in. Let me tell you why.
He's actually conservative
[tosok] Thompson’s record as a U.S. Senator from 1994 to 2003 shows that he was on the right side of every critical issue. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs from 1997 to 2001, he voted for national-debt reduction, the all-important balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, a presidential line-item veto to eliminate congressional pork and efforts to privatize elements of Social Security. He supported legislation in the interest of free enterprise and opposed many regulatory and tax measures. He opposed growth in social-welfare programs, including expansions in Medicare and welfare for immigrants. He supported efforts to decentralize or disenfranchise unconstitutional government programs.
Fred voted for limits on death penalty appeals, product-liability punitive-damage awards and class-action lawsuits. He opposed decreasing restrictions on wiretaps. He supported increased oil exploration, including ANWR drilling permits, and is an advocate of free trade, understanding well the underlying national security implications. He supported an amendment to prohibit flag burning and voted for numerous measures in support of Second Amendment rights. (Charlton Heston campaigned for him in ‘94.)
On family and social issues, he opposed "marriage" between homosexuals, partial-birth abortion, cloning, the addition of "sexual orientation" to hate-crimes legislation and legislation prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. He voted for many education-reform measures, including the provision of school vouchers.
Most important, Thompson’s support for Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom was, and remains, steadfast. Thompson has the authoritative grasp of national-security issues necessary for a commander in chief, particularly with respect to the long-term jihadi threat.
He's a champion of the Right
[wiki] Thompson did voice-over work at the 2004 Republican National Convention. After the retirement of Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in 2005, he was given an informal position by President George W. Bush to help guide the nominated John Roberts to the confirmation through the United States Senate. He also is the chair of the International Security Advisory Board, a bipartisan advisory panel that reports to the Secretary of State and focuses on emerging strategic threats. In 2006, Thompson signed on with ABC News Radio to serve as a host, commentator, and fill-in for Paul Harvey.
He's a straight-shooter
[tosok] After earning his J.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1967, Thompson had a private law practice and later served as an assistant U.S. attorney-making his mark weeding out corruption. After his prominent role as Republican counsel during Watergate, it was Thompson’s 1977 investigation that toppled the crooked administration of Tennessee Democrat Gov. Ray Blanton. In 1980, Thompson was tapped to serve as special counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and in 1982, special counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
[wiki] In 1977, Thompson took on a Tennessee Parole Board case that ultimately toppled Tennessee Governor Ray Blanton from power on charges of selling pardons.
He's right on the 2nd Amendment
[fox] WALLACE: Gun control.
THOMPSON: Well, I'm against gun control generally. You know, you check my record. You'll find I'm pretty consistent on that issue.
WALLACE: So this federal court - appeals court ruling this last week, I guess Friday, in the case of D.C. - you'd be perfectly happy to have people have handguns in their homes?
THOMPSON: Yes. Absolutely. The court basically said the Constitution means what it says, and I agree with that.
He's politically savvy
[tosok] In 1993, Tennessee’s Republican leadership convinced Thompson to return to public service in a campaign bid to fill the unexpired Senate term of then Vice President Albert Gore. Fred then demonstrated his formidable skills on the campaign trail. Despite all the support Bill Clinton and Al Gore could muster for popular six-term Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper, Thompson won a landslide victory in 1994, garnering 61 percent of the vote to Cooper’s 39 percent-the largest victory margin in any statewide political contest in Tennessee history.
Thompson’s success in his first campaign for national office did not pass without substantial note from the Democrat National Committee. He won by an even wider margin in his 1996 re-election bid. Rest assured, the DNC fears a Thompson draft for the presidency.
[tosok] In 1985, the Blanton scandal was the subject of the film "Marie," in which Thompson played himself-because the director could not find an actor who could capture Thompson’s power and determination. His success in that film led to his roles in more than 20 other big-screen hits including "No Way Out," "The Hunt for Red October," "Class Action," "Cape Fear" and "In the Line of Fire."Let's not forget Die Hard 2, as well as regular role on all the various Law and Order series.
He's electable, or at least people can easily imagine him as president
[wiki] A 1994 New York Times profile described his roles as ones that portray authority: "The glowering, hulking Mr. Thompson has played a White House chief of staff, a director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a highly placed F.B.I. agent, a rear admiral, even a senator. When Hollywood directors need someone who can personify governmental power, they often turn to him."
[tosok] While there are conservative candidates for the GOP nomination, any of whom could deservedly win the Republican primary, none of whom would be likely to carry a majority in the general election. This list includes some true luminaries of the conservative movement: Sen. Sam Brownback, Gov. Jim Gilmore, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Rep. Duncan Hunter, Rep. Ron Paul, Rep. Tom Tancredo, Gov. Tommy Thompson and possibly former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
However, if conservatives and the rest of the Republican electorate want to line up behind the most capable, qualified and electable candidate in the ‘08 presidential race, a man who can carry the Reagan mantle and draw an enormous crossover vote (as President Reagan did in 1980 and 1984 see 1984 election map), then call out Fred Thompson.
He's got good taste in movies
[pjm] "300," shows a small band of Spartans saving the lives of their countrymen AND the seeds of modern Democracy by kicking the much larger Persians forces effectively in the backside at Thermopylae until the sheer numbers overwhelmed them. If I remember my history, that’s exactly what happened.
I must say that I’m impressed that Hollywood took on a politically incorrect villain. Must have run out of neo-Nazis. So now these sensitive souls in Iran think that Hollywood is part of a U.S. government conspiracy to humiliate them into submission. I can only wish we were that effective.
He kicked Gandhi's ass
[nro] [W]hen Saddam Hussein was being given a last chance to open Iraq to U.N. weapons inspectors, posters appeared around America asking "What would Gandhi do?"
And that’s a pretty good question. At what point is it okay to fight dictators like Saddam or the al Qaeda terrorists who want to take his place?
It turns out that the answer, according to Gandhi, is NEVER. During World War II, Gandhi penned an open letter to the British people, urging them to surrender to the Nazis. Later, when the extent of the holocaust was known, he criticized Jews who had tried to escape or fight for their lives as they did in Warsaw and Treblinka. "The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife," he said. "They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs." "Collective suicide," he told his biographer, "would have been heroism."
The so-called peace movement certainly has the right to make Gandhi’s way their way, but their efforts to make collective suicide American foreign policy just won’t cut it in this country. When American’s think of heroism, we think of the young American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, risking their lives to prevent another Adolph Hitler or Saddam Hussein.
Gandhi probably wouldn't approve, but I can live with that.
[imao] * Fred Thompson has blasted more people in the face with a shotgun than even Dick Cheney.
* The masked executioner of Saddam Hussein: Fred Thompson.
* Not only does Fred Thompson cut taxes, he cuts tax collectors.
* The reason Fred Thompson didn't want to stay in the Senate for long is because all the extra scrutiny kept him from doing his favorite hobby: Prowling the streets at night killing drug dealers.
* Fred Thompson took over what was Al Gore's Senate seat, thereby dramatically reducing the Senate's carbon footprint. Fred Thompson then created carbon offset offsets by wastefully burning hippies.
* Fred Thompson reconsidered running for reelection after 9/11 but later decided to handle things on his own. He was soon seen entering the Middle East with a bottle of tequila in one hand an a handgun in the other. They're still counting the dead.
* Though Fred Thompson left the Senate in 2003, Harry Reid still hasn't stopped wetting his pants.
* Fred Thompson's gaze can kill small animals.
* Fred Thompson once ended a filibuster by ripping out a Senator's heart and showing it to him before he died.
* The actual cause of global warming: Fred Thompson's burning rage.
* The budget to Law & Order was dramatically increased when Fred Thompson was added to the cast because he has to be digitally inserted into the scenes since anytime he's near Hollywood liberals, he kills them.
* Fred Thompson once stood on our south border and glared at Mexico. There was no illegal immigration for a month.
* Fred Thompson vows not only to win in Iraq but also to forcefully free Vietnam from Communism, thus giving America a perfect win/loss record for wars again.
* Webster's Dictionary defines "conservatism" as "how closely one's views resemble those of Fred Thompson."
* Fred Thompson's sense of strategy is so great that he can checkmate you using only a pawn and a knight.
* Fred Thompson can know both the exact position and momentum of a particle. Furthermore, he knows Schroedinger's cat is dead because he personally strangled it.
* When terrorists get to the afterlife, they'll find that none of their seventy-two women are still virgins. Why? Because of Fred Thompson.
* In a butterfly ballot, no matter where you punch it the vote goes to Fred Thompson.
Now, all that being said, he does have some things going against him:
He doesn't have the history of executive leadership that other Republican candidates do
[elephantbiz] Romney's one clear advantage over Thompson may be the fact that he's been both a business executive and a "chief executive" in government (as a governor), while Thompson has been a senator, attorney, prosecutor and actor but never has served in a conventional executive role leading either a large private-sector organization or as a governor or big-city mayor.
[rwn] A Fred Thompson candidacy seems to leave me with a suspicious grin, saying, "Okay, what's the catch?" Aside from his superficial qualifications, he's got a sterling, conservative record while he was in the Senate. The only flaw I can see is that the most dependable candidates for as long as I can remember have been former governors. ("dependable candidate" means those with the most hope of winning) Bush2, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, all former governors. Bush1, Ford, Nixon and Johnson were all vice-presidents. You have to go all the way back to JFK to find a president who wasn't either a governor or vice-president. If you dismiss those not initially elected (Ford and Johnson), or had a shoo-in election following an already popular president (Bush1), Nixon was the only former vice-president that was elected "on his own" (so to speak) and in that case it was actually eerily similar to this upcoming election: the DNC torn apart by anti-war idiots, leaving them with a moron for a candidate.
[ace] Although I like Thompson, it should be noted he only served one full term in the Senate, and wasn't considered particularly influential, innovative, or even hard-working. His "executive experience," such as it is, came long, long ago as a corruption-bustin' prosecutor. Good experience, to be sure, but he hasn't managed anything lately except a senatorial staff and the small corporation that forms around a working actor.
And Vox Day doesn't think Fred has the will:
But the silliest idea is the notion that a man who can't even decide if he wants to run for president or not can defeat a woman who is perfectly willing to devour alive every puppy and kitten who happens to find itself in between her and the Cherry Blossom Throne.
But will he run?
These negatives aside, Fred Thompson still stands head and shoulders above the current crop of candidates on both sides of the aisle. He certainly seems like the best man for the job. How can we help him decide to run?
Check out the following sites:
Draft Fred Thompson
An online petition
Finally, Frank J. has some tips on improving the chances of a Fred Thompson candidacy
* Eat Breakfast: Fred Thompson knows that breakfast is the the most important meal of the day. If you don't care enough about yourself to eat breakfast, why should Fred Thompson care about you? Fred Thompson will not be the president of just any country.
* Control Your Children: Make sure your children are well behaved. Fred Thompson is not going to run a country full of screaming kids running around.
* Clean Your Guns: Guns are an important right, and if you don't care enough about that right to maintain your guns, then Fred Thompson is going to wonder whether you deserve his leadership.
Other Fred Thompson links
Bud Simmons makes The Case for Fred Thompson