Bill Hobbs is very excited about Fred Thompson:
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. . . .I really like Fred Thompson, and "Law and Order" is my favorite TV show. (Well, it's really the only one I try to catch every week.) But I am mystified about his appeal as a conservative presidential candidate. The fact is, polls right now signify nothing more than name recognition. Thompson (who once was pro-choice but seems to be getting a pass on that) is unknown to most Americans who don't watch the TV show on which he stars. I admit he's a heck of a spokesman, but what real basis is there for believing he can be a good conservative president?
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.
Thompson is a Howard Baker protege (yes, that Howard Baker, who is not most conservatives' cup of tea) who served in the Senate for seven years, then left to make money as an actor. He's never been an executive. Here's a little more on his political pedigree from Wikipedia:
In the 2000 Republican presidential primaries, Thompson initially backed former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander. When Alexander dropped out of the race, Thompson endorsed Senator John McCain's bid and became his national co-chairman.Thompson's background looks very certifiably . . . moderate.
So whence cometh his conservative appeal? Right now Thompson's principal strong point, among conservatives, seems to be that he is not McCain, Romney, or Giuliani. Time will tell, but I'm not sure this is a boomlet that will last.
Thompson's record on abortion is more complex than my post here suggests. Please see the comments below by "Truth in Advertising" and "ala." Fair enough; I don't know exactly what Thompson thought about abortion earlier in his very short career as an elected official.
What fascinates me about Thompson is not his position on abortion, but his general profile as a moderate, and the "passes" he is getting that the Thompson supporters are unwilling to give Romney. So I ask Truth in Advertising and ala:
- It seems important to you that whatever Fred Thompson might have said about abortion, his voting record on the issue is perfect. Well, despite anything Mitt Romney ever said about abortion, every decision he made as governor was 100% pro-life. Do you give him any credit for that?
- If in 2000 Mitt Romney had been 100% behind Lamar Alexander, a moderate, and then had been national co-chair for John McCain, would you be ignoring those very high-profile efforts on behalf of moderate Republicans, as you do for Thompson?
- Finally, Evangelicals for Mitt is not an official Romney site, so don't blame the campaign for what a blog says. This blog is not connected to the Romney campaign either, although I am one of the Governor's a proud and committed supporters.