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Fred Thompson Set to Run:
Politico.com reports that Fred Thompson is likely to join the Presidential race over the July 4th weekend. USA Today adds:
In an interview with USA TODAY, . . . the former Tennessee senator not only makes it clear that he plans to run, he describes how he aims to do it. He's planning an unconventional campaign using blogs, video posts and other Internet innovations to reach voters repelled by politics-as-usual in both parties.
Steve:
He's planning an unconventional campaign using blogs, video posts and other Internet innovations to reach voters repelled by politics-as-usual in both parties.

Kinda sounds like the issue is less "voters repelled by politics-as-usual" and more "candidates who don't want to travel and make speeches very often."
5.30.2007 3:44pm
Richard A. (mail):
Unfortunately for Fred, he is the nuttiest neocon of them all at a time when the neocon moment has definitely passed. "On to Iran" is not a winning slogan for 2008.
5.30.2007 3:58pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Kinda sounds like the issue is less "voters repelled by politics-as-usual" and more "candidates who don't want to travel and make speeches very often."


Particularly when the article begins with this:

Fred Dalton Thompson is planning to enter the presidential race over the Fourth of July holiday, announcing that week that he has already raised several million dollars and is being backed by insiders from the past three Republican administrations, Thompson advisers told The Politico.


How do we go from "being backed by insiders from the past three Republican administrations" to focusing his campaign on trying "reach voters repelled by politics-as-usual in both parties"?

Nothing against the man, he's heads and shoulders above any of the Democrat contenders but I don't know enough about his positions on issues like health care reform, entitlement program reform, and spending to switch from my preferred candidate.
5.30.2007 4:15pm
ChrisIowa (mail):
The internet would be a very interesting and useful tool that hasn't been used to its full effect yet. However a campaign cannot get the saturation needed exclusively from the internet. Especially in areas like Iowa that have an older population.

I suppose I'll have to get a bigger mailbox.
5.30.2007 4:32pm
Bobbie (mail):
I was just thinking the other day that the Republicans need another old, white conservative male who is in favor of the war to run for President.
5.30.2007 4:48pm
glangston (mail):
Richard A. (mail):
Unfortunately for Fred, he is the nuttiest neocon of them all at a time when the neocon moment has definitely passed. "On to Iran" is not a winning slogan for 2008.



Wow, who knew? This is certainly a surprise.
5.30.2007 4:52pm
wooga:
I was just thinking the other day that the Republicans need another old, white conservative male who is in favor of the war to run for President.

That's the Democratic party for you, judging people by the color of their skin for 150 years.
5.30.2007 5:00pm
Henry679 (mail):
Fred Thompson is the George W. Bushiest of all the real GOP contenders.

How anyone can consider this a good thing is beyond me.
5.30.2007 5:12pm
rarango (mail):
Henry679: because possibly every one doesnt think like you? Thats just a guess, mind you, unless you are channeling Pauline Kael
5.30.2007 5:26pm
dip:
He's planning an unconventional campaign using blogs, video posts and other Internet innovations to reach voters repelled by politics-as-usual in both parties.

Very innovative!
5.30.2007 5:27pm
wooga:
Fred Thompson is the George W. Bushiest of all the real GOP contenders.

And on what do you base that?

Here is a collection of all of Thompson's recent articles. These are very clear and concise statements of Thompson's political views on every major current issue. Even a cursory review demonstrates that Thompson is most certainly not like Bush, as Thompson at least pays lip service to federalism.

Bush wants an expansive, invasive federal government. I think everybody on the left and right agrees to that. Thompson, on the other hand, claims to want to keep the federal government to limited, enumerated powers. That makes him the most un-Bush Republican candidate this side of Ron Paul.
5.30.2007 5:31pm
Crust (mail):
He's planning an unconventional campaign using blogs...

Like this post at NRO in which Thompson shares his thoughts on Martian global warming? As a bonus, he seems to fancy himself a latter-day Galileo for doing so. Unconventional indeed.
5.30.2007 5:45pm
Steve2:
Thanks, Wooga. I'd been wondering what his stance on anything was.

Have that problem with almost all the declared candidates, too.
5.30.2007 5:46pm
acroso:
"This is looking more and more like the Bush administration's domestic version of Iraq: a big risky gamble, based on wishful thinking and nonexistent administrative competence that will end in disaster?"

-May16th Kausfiles from slate magazine.

Dead on analogy for this debacle. The only way Bush can cement his legacy as the dumbest president in history is with Domestic Iraq. He wants to mess up our country like he has messed up our foreign policy.

We have to secure the borders over there so we don't have to secure em over here. Where can I sign up to secure Iraq's borders??

http://www.slate.com/id/2166678/
5.30.2007 5:47pm
Crust (mail):
In case anyone is tempted to take seriously the Martian climate argument advanced by Thompson, here is a debunking from RealClimate.
They may not be Galileos, but at least they are climate scientists.

Some key quotes (emphasis added):
[S]olar irradiance is now well measured by satellite and has been declining slightly over the last few years as it moves towards a solar minimum.

[...]

Large scale dust storms change the atmospheric opacity and convection; as always when comparing mean temperatures, the altitude at which the measurement is made matters, but to the extent it is sensible to speak of a mean temperature for Mars, the evidence is for significant cooling from the 1970's, when Viking made measurements, compared to current temperatures. However, this is essentially due to large scale dust storms that were common back then, compared to a lower level of storminess now.

[...]

Thus inferring global warming from a 3 Martian year regional trend is unwarranted. The observed regional changes in south polar ice cover are almost certainly due to a regional climate transition, not a global phenomenon, and are demonstrably unrelated to external forcing.
5.30.2007 5:49pm
gab:
Well, he does have a hot wife, at least as far as candidate's wives go. That ought to be worth something...
5.30.2007 6:30pm
Eliza (mail):
Jim Geraghty has a source within the Thompson campaign who says the announcement will not be on July 4th.
5.30.2007 6:37pm
uh clem (mail):
Not just hot, but young. Jeri was born ten years after Thompson's first marriage.

Clearly a "Family Values" man all the way.
5.30.2007 6:40pm
Classmate-Wearing-Yarmulka (www):
Once Thompson enters the race, it's going to be hard for Republicans like me to play the thin resume card against Obama anymore. Just a thought.
5.30.2007 6:40pm
SMK (mail):
What thin resume? Thompson has been New York district attorney for 5 or 6 years - no mean feat for a southerner.
5.30.2007 7:05pm
Just Dropping By (mail):
What thin resume? Thompson has been New York district attorney for 5 or 6 years

Not to mention attaining the rank of admiral in the U.S. Navy before running for the Senate.
5.30.2007 7:16pm
Baseballhead (mail):
The man has already been president once, so he's got far more experience than anybody running in either party. Of course, that was about 150 years ago, but then, too, we were a nation divided!
5.30.2007 7:24pm
wooga:

Not just hot, but young. Jeri was born ten years after Thompson's first marriage.

Clearly a "Family Values" man all the way.


Uh clem, how is marrying a hot, young, fertile woman not the epitome of family values? Are family men supposed to marry women who look like Bee Arthur?

BTW, it's not like he left his former wife for the current one. That would certainly be scandalous.
5.30.2007 7:41pm
KeithK (mail):
Fred Thompson is the George W. Bushiest of all the real GOP contenders.

How anyone can consider this a good thing is beyond me.


rarango gave a pretty good answer to this, but I'll go one step further. IMO, one of George W. Bush's buggest problems as president has been his speaking ability. He rarely gives good speeches, which makes it hard to sell his vision to the American people. Now picture Bush with the speaking ability and presence of a professional actor. Suddenly he becomes a lot more effective.

Let's say that you think Bush's policies and goals were good ideas. Presumably a substantial fraction of the Republican base does. Having a candidate with similar positions who is better equipped to push that vision has to look like an appealing candidate.
5.30.2007 7:44pm
Mark Field (mail):

That's the Democratic party for you, judging people by the color of their skin for 150 years.


Oh, it went on longer than that. Let's see.... 1791 or so to the early 1960s... we'll call it 170 years at least.
5.30.2007 8:25pm
Jim FSU 1L (mail):
I was initially doubtful but I am beginning to beleive he is actually the right guy. He's an electable version of Ron Paul. Sign me up for that any day of the week.
5.30.2007 8:37pm
Justin (mail):
No offense, but George W. Bush has bigger problems than his speaking ability. It's called his policies.
5.30.2007 8:52pm
Justin (mail):
Having read through his articles, we have a man here who viciously attacks Peter Fitzgerald, opposed Global Warming, makes fun of Ghandi in attacking protestors, supports Iraq and conflates Saddam and Al Queda, declares Iran enemy number 1, glowingly supports the President's "new approach" to both Iraq and Iran, attacks the investigation into the Justice department firings, plays the fear card ("Considering the times we live in, do we really want to continue to try to chip away at the traditional powers of the president?"), lauds Victor David Hanson (ewwwww), attacks the UN, defended links to Iraq, and defended the Iraq war.

Yeah, total breath of fresh air.
5.30.2007 9:02pm
Chris Owen:
If Fred Thompson is the answer, what on earth was the question?
5.30.2007 9:12pm
Mike Jaskie (mail):
He lauds Victor David Hanson....I think I'm in love
5.30.2007 9:19pm
wooga:
If Fred Thompson is the answer, what on earth was the question?

Will modern America ever elect a federalist to the presidency?
5.30.2007 9:26pm
wooga:
Justin, when was the last time you heard a presidential candidate call out Ghandi as a Holocaust fan, rather than repeating the same tired platitudes about Ghandi being a great man?

I would say this example of 'putting intellectual honesty above political correctness' makes Thompson a remarkable breath of fresh air.
5.30.2007 9:31pm
Elais:
wooga,

'Intellectual honesty' is a politically correct way of saying you're an asshole.
5.30.2007 9:42pm
Humble Law Student (mail):
Yah, Ghandi's advice to the Jews was don't run or fight back. If exterminated, then fine. Some advice. . .

Ghandi only succeeded because of the relative humanity of the British. Other conquerors or the British of old would have just killed him.
5.30.2007 9:45pm
Hewart:
Fred Thompson's 17 years as a professional Washington lobbyist will surely help him burnish those "repelled by politics as usual" credentials.

I see the Thompson lovefest as being more symptomatic of the significant dissatisfaction with the current Republican candidate field, more than anything.
5.30.2007 9:48pm
wooga:
Elais,
I think that the gentleman who criticized the jews for fighting back against the Nazis in Warsaw... is the world's biggest asshole.

Thompson is correct in ridiculing the celebration of Ghandi and Che by a bunch of activists who've never taken a history class post-high school.
5.30.2007 10:10pm
Steve:
That's the Democratic party for you, judging people by the color of their skin for 150 years.

This is kind of funny, actually. If someone points out that the Republican Party never nominates anyone but old white guys, they're the racist one, for calling attention to race!

Of course, whoever made that comment must not have paid much attention to the folks the Democratic Party has nominated over the years. Yeah, the Democratic field this year has some diversity in it, but it's a little early to start looking down at the other guy.
5.30.2007 10:17pm
Toby:
When I was in middle school, we laughed at Louisiana and Missippi for classifying octaroons.

Today, it is esablished policy of the Democratic party. Although they do like to make such an adorable show of almost nominating someone not whit every few years, until the campaign gets serious...
5.30.2007 10:28pm
Malvolio:
Whatever bad things you say about Thompson, you have to admit he can spell Gandhi correctly...
5.31.2007 1:16am
wooga:
Nice Malvolio. I know when I've been embarrassed!

Ghandi/Gandhi is one of those particular names that I will forever mispell. I don't know why, but a lot of other people do it too. I've been corrected countless times, and it still doesn't register.

Sort of like Bush pronouncing "nucular" - even though he knows that's wrong. It took me years to stop saying nucular, and even now it takes a concerted effort not to slip up on my pronunciation.

Surely there is some sort of scientific name for this sort of behavior (aside from 'stupidity'!)?
5.31.2007 1:30am
Richard A. (mail):
Anyone who could confuse neocon Fred "nuke Iran" Thompson with Ron Paul must be getting drinking a better brand of whisky than I can afford in such great quantities.
5.31.2007 1:55am
Milhouse (www):
"Nucyular" isn't wrong, it's how the word is pronounced in the South. Jimmy Carter pronounced it the same way.
5.31.2007 4:40am
Crust (mail):
Anyone who could confuse neocon Fred "nuke Iran" Thompson with Ron Paul must be getting drinking a better brand of whisky than I can afford in such great quantities.

On "nuke Iran" I think you are confusing Thompson with John McCain who joked (hopefully) about "bomb bomb bomb[ing]" Iran.
5.31.2007 10:09am
Justin (mail):
I'm not sure that Jimmy Carter says it "nucular" but it would still be wrong. Two wrongs and all.
5.31.2007 10:40am
glangston (mail):
It says Eisenhower, Carter, Clinton and Bush Jr. all used that pronumciation, and of course someone who really should know better, Homer Simpson.
5.31.2007 11:29am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I think that one reason that Thompson is popular with so many on the right is that he is articulate enough that he can take the fight to the enemy. Only Gingrich seems better able to do so, and his negatives are far higher than even Hillary's.

While many here believe that President Bush's policies are questionable, many on the right believe in those policies, but have been profoundly frustrated by the President's ability to articulate them in any meaningful way. Also, Thompson comes across as much more the true believer than the President, Mayor Guliani, or Sen. McCain in matters near and dear to conservative hearts, such as limiting the scope of government, esp. federal government.

Finally, note that Thompson spent more time in the Senate than either Hillary or Obama have yet spent. And he rose to a leadership position, which neither of them has done yet. Of course, much of that is probably because many Republican politicans seem to believe in term limits, and their Democratic counterparts don't. So, no Democratic with a mere 6-8 years of experience and senority in the Senate will come close to leadership, while their Republican counterparts often will.
5.31.2007 11:35am
Justin (mail):
"While many here believe that President Bush's policies are questionable, many on the right believe in those policies, but have been profoundly frustrated by the President's ability to articulate them in any meaningful way."

But...those people are ABSURD. Those people think that Bush is doing a GREAT job, and its just the media that is blindsiding them, and if only *they* were able to articulate how good of a job Bush was doing, everybody would see the light. They live in FANTASYLAND. They're the same people who think liberals "lost" the Vietnam war, and the same type of people as those Germans, in a non-Nazi and non-Godwin's law kind of way (natch), who blamed "elitist traitors" for losing World War I. They simply cannot admit failure when they see it, and rather than face the failure of Bush's policies, they create this world where if only Bush (or Ari Fleischer or Tony Snow, etc.) was more articulate, he *could* defend the Iraq quagmire, torture, the firings of the Attorney General in a perfectly legal and professional way, the outing of Valerie Plame in a perfectly legal and professional way, the failure to find WMDs, how great of a job Bush did in New Orleans (its all the Democrats faults), etc. etc.

It's got a psychological - almost religious or sexual quality to it - "if you could only see what I see in him," but its equally illogical. Bush's failures are obvious. And even if Bush isn't a great communicator, he's generally *not* the voice of this administration anyway. Indeed, even Clinton and Reagen were not primarily the voices of their administration. But thinking that Bush is a good President/bad communicator at best gets you to 30% of the population - these are the people who generally "approve" of Bush's job - and the idea that, with the pulpit of the Presidency and the power (and hiring ability) of the White House Communications and Press Offices - you're going to move that 30% to 45-48 (probably what you'd need to win a nationwide election, given that voters tend to be more Republican than adults as a whole), is a fanciful dream not at all grounded in reality.


Note: that's not to say that other conservative variants of explaining Bush's unpopularity - "incompetent executor Bush," "not truly conservative Bush," or even "grossly unlucky Bush" - are facially absurd, as they are far more reasonable.
5.31.2007 12:13pm
uh clem (mail):
I think that one reason that Thompson is popular with so many on the right is ...

Whatever. Look at the frontrunners:
A) A serial adulterer who dresses in drag and favors gun control &abortion rights,
B) a non-Christian who believes in the Angel Moroni, Golden Plates, resurection, and the magic goggles Urim and Thummim, and
C) a washed up serial flip-flopper who's thrown away every ounce of principle by transparently sucking-up to whatever constitiuency he thinks he has to coddle to win.

When these are your choices, an actor starts looking mighty tempting. At least he's a pro at something.
5.31.2007 3:06pm
Justin (mail):
I'm not sure who you are referring to in C (arguments can be made for all 3 Republican frontrunners), but your point vis-a-vis B is just flat out insulting. I should only say that it's not my determination what the limits of civil discourse is on this blog.
5.31.2007 3:59pm
wooga:
Anyone who could confuse neocon Fred "nuke Iran" Thompson with Ron Paul must be getting drinking a better brand of whisky than I can afford in such great quantities.

Somehow I think you don't have a clue about Ron Paul or Fred Thompson, and only know about Ron Paul because you think he's anti-war. Here's something to blow your mind: Ron Paul moved for a declaration of war against Iraq.

Paul and FDThompson are the only two presidential candidates who loudly declare, and actually believe, that "the federal government is one of limited, enumerated powers."

The fact that you think Fred Thompson is a "nutty neocon" also reveals that you have no clue what the word "neocon" actually means. Why don't you just get it over with and start calling everyone to your right a "fascist"?
5.31.2007 4:48pm
uh clem (mail):
your point vis-a-vis B is just flat out insulting

I'm sorry if you are insulted. Yes, my tone was a bit snarky, but the fact of the matter is that Mormonism is theologically quite distinct from mainstream Christianity. If you're looking to appeal to Bible-belt evangelists, saying that you follow the book of Mormon is about as effective as saying you follow the Koran or the Bagvad-Gita.

If Karl Roves sucessor can sell a Mormon to the Bible Belt, I'll have to admit that he's quite the salesman.
5.31.2007 5:18pm
whit:
i think that many evangelists will vote for romney similar to how they'd vote for a jew. one can argue that mormons are or aren't christians, but jews certainly aren't. also recall that when kennedy ran, some claimed he wasn't a real christian EITHER, but a "papist" and also had dual loyalties to the vatican and the US.

regardless, evangelicals know that mormons (on the whole - harry reid an obvious exception) tend to have similar values to them and also are one of the most successful subcultures in the USA in regards to low divorce rate, low crime rate, and generally very low in anti-social behaviors - they are similar in that respect to japanese americans.

sure, the doctrine is different, but the values and the belief in faith AREN'T

they have made it big time into the mainstream from americanidolesque "so you think you can dance" (check out benji schwimmer the winner and his cousin and there were also two other mormon's in the top 20), to athletics, to governorship (see: romney), etc.

let's recall also that it was jimmy frigging carter himself who self-described himself as an evangelical born again christian. and don't you think an evangelical would prefer romney over carter?
5.31.2007 5:29pm
Justin (mail):
I'm with whit on this one. Don't worry, it won't happen often. I think its insulting - to Republicans, if nobody else - to say that they wouldn't elect someone because of his religion, absent some particular aspect of his religion that would imply he's a bad President, the way he follows it (we're not talking about some cannabalistic Religion, or where Romney is actively claiming the right to polygamy).
5.31.2007 5:50pm
JosephSlater (mail):
I think folks aren't being fair to Uh Clem's point. First he was talking about certain parts of the Christian right base, not all Republicans. Second, he wasn't suggesting that a majority of the Christian right wouldn't vote for Romney against a Democrat in the general election (or in a hypothetical race against Jimmy Carter). He was suggesting that Romney's religion might cause some on the Christian right to have some reservations about him in the Republican primaries, or at least to make Thompson attractive to them, in that if other ideological positions are roughly equal, they might prefer a tradition Christian (or someone who plays one on TV).

Beyond that, two points. First, if anybody thinks any Presidential candidate is going to get more than a smattering of votes because he or she is a committed "federalist," they are really kidding themselves (although I would be keen to hear Thompson on the medical marijuana issue).

Second, as I understand Thompson's resume, he's been a Senator, a DC lobbyist (for longer) and a Hollywood actor. Is that promising, for a rejection of "politics as usual"? And for that matter, who in this election will be taking the position, "I stand for politics as usual, yes sirree. . . ."?
5.31.2007 6:42pm
New Zion (mail):
I'm not certain that evangelists might vote for a mormon to the same extent they might vote for a jew. Jews don't claim to be Christians, mormons do. As someone who spent years in Utah, I am very curious how a Romney campaign might interact with the religion.

I do not suggest that mormonism is a cult or that its followers are any more or less rational than anyone else on the planet. I do not know whether Romney is what some in Utah call a "jack mormon", less interested in doctrine and more interested in lifestyle. I do, however, wonder whether the overlap of "family values" and "traditional" leanings would survive the not-too-hidden differences between their religions.

The more the world knows about the mormon faith, it may be more likely that they would vote for a jew having some political similarities than than a mormon who, in accepting the DOC, Pearl of Great Price, Book of Mormon, et cetera, believes Jesus was a good man--not the only God in the celestial kingdom, but also the brother of Satan, the son of a god who came down from his celestial heaven (as opposed to the other heavens and out darkness, and realm of spirit babies, et cetera, et cetera) to have physical sex with Mary to make Jesus who later died on the cross showing humans a perfect example of how your works get you into heaven ("works and the glory").

Who knows with the EV freers-- not the Volokhs.
5.31.2007 10:35pm
Richard A. (mail):
Wooga: Get a clue. Neocons are to the left of us conservatives.
You seem to be one of the many clueless types out there who thinks "neo" is an intensifier. No. It means "new," as opposed to us old-time conservatives.
Their philosophy was born in Trotsky's thought.
Ours began with Hobbes, Locke, Burke et al.
5.31.2007 11:53pm
Justin (mail):
To be fair to uh clem's point the other way,

1) the post appears to be normative, not positive. It explains *his* dissastisfaction with the GOP field, not the general dissatisfaction. See, e.g., "at least he's a pro at something."

2) You can strain yourself to read his post as positive, but you cannot possibly interpret those things as "minor flaws that might lower their ability to win a GOP primary." They're designed to show substantial flaws that would make the candidates nonstarters in the GOP primary. And if it's a positive statement in that light, I think its an insult to the GOP.

In any event, what is hurting Romney right now is name recognition, a "flip-flop" criticism, who comes across as centrist (for the GOP, thats leftist) on economic issues, and is the former governor of a northeastern state who had to not run for re-election to avoid losing (badly). If being a Mormon was truly his problem, then you'd see Brownback doing a heck of a lot better. Those evangelicals aren't exactly flocking to McCain or Giuliani.
6.1.2007 11:37am
wooga:

Wooga: Get a clue. Neocons are to the left of us conservatives.
You seem to be one of the many clueless types out there who thinks "neo" is an intensifier. No. It means "new," as opposed to us old-time conservatives.
Their philosophy was born in Trotsky's thought.
Ours began with Hobbes, Locke, Burke et al.


Richard A,
What do you mean, 'get a clue?' You are the one claiming Thompson is a 'nutty neocon.' That alone demonstrates an astounding level of ignorance of the term. Put simply, "neo-con" means a hell of a lot more than "new conservative," as you put it. As explained by it's godfather, it connotes a very specific political movement, which is - at its core - a statist movement:

Neocons do not feel that kind of alarm or anxiety about the growth of the state in the past century, seeing it as natural, indeed inevitable. Because they tend to be more interested in history than economics or sociology, they know that the 19th-century idea, so neatly propounded by Herbert Spencer in his "The Man Versus the State," was a historical eccentricity. People have always preferred strong government to weak government...

This does not fit Fred Thompson, as perfectly exemplified by the American Enterprise Institute (an openly neocon outfit - with which FDT has associated) attacks on him. Fred Thompson is opposed to the growth of the federal government and glorifies individualism, and that marks his departure from the neocons.

Plus, check out this line from Kristol, explaining the common interests of the neocons and social conservatives:

They are united on issues concerning the quality of education, the relations of church and state, the regulation of pornography, and the like, all of which they regard as proper candidates for the government's attention.

How is the world can you honestly believe that Fred Thompson fits either the neocon or social conservative branch? Both of these branches, as made plain by Kristol, are diametrically opposed to any 'limited government' strain of conservatism.



Incidentally, I agree that Locke is a key thinker of true conservative thought, but I find it particularly odd that you would pick someone like Hobbes (over say, Hayek) as a means to distinguish yourself from the neocons.
6.1.2007 2:38pm