Thursday, June 07, 2007
Mr. Slate calling Fred!
Conservatives have recently been excited about the prospect that former Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) might enter the race. The media seems to love it, going on and on about the actor and comparing him to Ronald Reagan. The fact that he is getting so much press and so many Republicans lining up to welcome him into the race does show one thing-- the fundamental weakness of the current GOP field.
Thompson's positions are what conservatives (especially neocons) would want-- except for immigration, where he goes along with the rest of the anti-immigrant hystrionics, he is essentially Bush right down the line (I consider him more Bush-like than the columnist I'm linking to, Bill Press).
He’s a big supporter of Bush’s war in Iraq, but not of Bush’s immigration plan. In the Senate, he voted yes on drilling for oil in Alaska, but no on background checks on handguns purchased at gun shows. He voted yes on amending the Constitution to prevent flag-burning and yes on banning gay marriage, but no on raising the minimum wage.
He's also more Bush-like in another way. Fred Thompson is lazy. George W. Bush has frequently been criticized for frittering away more of his term on vacation-- not to mention fundraising trips and photo ops-- than any modern President, and during a time of war when we should expect the President to be willing to work overtime, not half-time (then again, as a Liberal I suppose I should be happy about all those wasted vacation-days. Imagine how much more damage Bush would have done if he was a workaholic.)
The worst rap against Thompson is that he’s lazy. He quit the Senate because he preferred the much easier schedule of an actor. Sure, he’d like to be president, but does Thompson have the “fire in his belly” necessary to fight for and win the Republican nomination? If so, it’s not always obvious.
Although I think that actors actually do work harder than they are given credit for-- my own two eleven year olds have been attending an 'acting day camp' for the last two weeks and have really worked hard at it, and I know that in Hollywood it takes a lot of hard work to makt it look easy-- there is no question that Fred Thompson has had that rap against him for a long time. He began working in Washington as a counsel to the Watergate committee and has been in Washington for most of that time, and reputations like that don't just spring up overnight-- they are developed through decades of repeated observation.
Well, what the heck. Let Fred run. We'll see if he has the energy and drive that say-- Ronald Reagan had. Or will his lazy side come out? If so then at least we can give him a nickname that will combine his neanderthal politics, his name and his laziness: Fred Flintstone.