Sunday, March 25, 2007

Making Sense of the Fred Thompson Boomlet

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. . . .

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.
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?

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.
Update 2: Evangelicals for Mitt provides further information. They seem to be winning this argument, if you ask me.


Anonymous TruthInAdvertising said...

Some correction on the "once was pro choice" thing.

First, it was started by opposition reseach bythe Romney campaign.

Secondly it was propagated by a shill outfit, Evangelicals for Mitt Romeny, based off a PR guy in Atlanta. Their "blog" has no room for comments and doesnt respond to emails. Its simply a cutout mouthpiced for mud throwing by Romney so he does not get splashed with the attacks they are doing on conservative candidates (check out the American Spectator blog reseach on this - its obvious they are shilling, and getting donors directed from the Romney campaign to do so).

Secondly, here is the TRUTH on the abortion issue (again courtesy of American Spectator):

This morning, I cited reports being promoted by the pro-Romney blog Evangelicals for Mitt suggesting that Fred Thompson ran his two campaigns for Senate in Tennessee as a pro-choicer. Not so, National Right to Life executive co-director Darla St. Martin just told me.

St. Martin said that she went down to Tennessee in 1994 to speak with Thompson personally when he first ran for Senate, and that she determined he was against abortion.

"I interviewed him and on all of the questions I asked him, he opposed abortion," St. Martin said. She told me that the group went on to support him in that election, and his record reinforced for her that their determination was correct.

"He has a consistent voting record that is pro-life," she said.

There you have it - since 1994 at least, and he has voted 100% pro-life on abortion rights issues and bills.

So you may want to reconsider, now that you realize you were the victim of a disinformation campaign by Evangelicals For Mitt.

Monday, March 26, 2007 12:09:00 AM  
Anonymous TruthInAdvertising said...

Also you want conservative?

Try these (all based on the Fox News interview with Chris Wallace)

Abortion: Pro Life

Guns: Pro Second Amendment, agress with the DC decision, "The constitution means what it says"

Government: Its too big and federalism is out of control. He wants to clean up civil service.

Immigration: Enforcement first - and that begins at securing the borders.

Anthropogenic Global Warming: Skeptical.

Go over to Paul harvey and listen to him over the past week.

Read NR Online and the pieces there.

There is a lot you are apparently not aware of.

Check out the news blogs that are popping up. and look over at or the official "Draft" site

You'll learn a lot, and it will cure a lot of the misinformation you are suffering under now.

Monday, March 26, 2007 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger ALa said...

I was going to say the same thing as TIA...the "pro-choice" position hasn't been documented and certainly isn't supported by FDT's voting record...not to mention it is coming from Romney's people...

Monday, March 26, 2007 6:42:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Waters said...

I just tried to post this on the Article 6 blog, but for some reason was unable to do so despite logging in with my Wordpress ID. Since you apparently have access to that blog, please pass word of this comment along.

The other blog involved, Evangelicals for Mitt, does not have any mechanism for leaving replies at all.

Today I was attacked by the Article 6 blog for allegedly questioning the "religious credentials" of those responsible for Evangelicals for Mitt, or the "genuineness" of their religion, or some such nonsense in my blog, Iowans for Fred Thompson. Article 6 made the remark, it should be noted, in passing, in the midst of a perfectly proper attack- with which I fully agree, by the way- against those who oppose Gov. Romney on the ground of his religion.

I questioned neither the genuineness of anyone's religion nor anyone's religions credentials. I certainly would not suggest that those involved with Evangelicals for Mitt are either theologically unorthodox enough or sinfully proud enough to suggest that they never sin, or that their behavior is always in perfect conformity to what in charity I must in fact assume is a perfectly sincere profession. Certainly as a professing Christian I make no such outrageous claim for myself. Were I- or they- to do so, in so doing we would be acting in conflict with the profession of faith we share.

What I questioned was whether the behavior of those involved with Evangelicals for Mitt in publishing unsubstantiated charges concerning the history of Sen. Thompson's position on abortion during his Senate campaigns on the basis of a second-hand comment by a National Review blogger, and in the face of a statement by an official of the National Right to Life Committee that she had personally conversed with Sen. Thompson as early as 1994 and knew him even then to be pro-life was compatible with their obligation toward the good name of their neighbor.

I regret that Evangelicals for Mitt has continued to repeat its charge on the flimsy basis that such a pro-choice position was "widely attributed" to Sen. Thompson during his campaigns. As to Article 6, I believe that its authors owe me a public apology for their libelous and false description of their comments. This is especially the case since I have consistently defended both the bona fides of Gov. Romney's pro-life credentials despite the late date of his conversion to the side of the angels, and Gov. Romney himself against the un-American and reprehensible suggestion that his religion ought to disqualify him from the presidency.

In some ways, what I resent most of all is being associated by the Article 6 blog with the bigots who think otherwise.

Monday, March 26, 2007 3:16:00 PM  
Blogger John Schroeder said...

I am the Article 6 blogger that Mr. Waters apparently has a problem with. From Mr. Waters comment:

I questioned neither the genuineness of anyone's religion nor anyone's religions credentials.

To be followed next paragraph with:

I questioned neither the genuineness of anyone's religion nor anyone's religions credentials. I certainly would not suggest that those involved with Evangelicals for Mitt are either theologically unorthodox enough or sinfully proud enough to suggest that they never sin, or that their behavior is always in perfect conformity to what in charity I must in fact assume is a perfectly sincere profession. Certainly as a professing Christian I make no such outrageous claim for myself. Were I- or they- to do so, in so doing we would be acting in conflict with the profession of faith we share.

If that is not accusing the EFM people of being less than good Christians, I don't know what is. Sounds like a direct challenge to their religious credentials -- "Oh, I'm sure their good Christians, they just don't act like it." Give me a break.

Monday, March 26, 2007 3:49:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Waters said...

It is accusing the EFM people of being less than perfect Christians, as I am myself. Or rather,It is a criticism of behavior- or, more precisely, a single instance of behavior- andnot of either the quality or the sincerity of their religions convictions.

And if you persist in being so disingenous as to try to make anyone believe that you don't understand the distinction between the two, give me a break. And apply to the bloggers over at Evangelicals for Mitt, whom I'm sure would be happy to explain it to you.

Monday, March 26, 2007 4:38:00 PM  
Blogger Rhapsidiomite said...

Waters, I think, again, what Schroeder and others are saying is going over your head.

When you said that you "questioned neither the genuineness of anyone's religion nor anyone's religions [sic] credentials," you then go on to elaborate quite well what could possibly be wrong with the Evangelicals for Mitt bloggers' religious beliefs.

For anyone with any kind of background in the art of verbal abuse tactics, it is apparent that your veiled religious attacks were aimed at the Evangelicals for Mitt bloggers. Your disdain for these individuals is evident, and it is unfortunate because it is not reciprocated by anyone on this blog, at Article6blog, or at EFM, as far as I can observe.

It is also unfortunate because it draws into question your ability to execute objective reporting. Frankly, I am more inclined to disbelieve your sources, though I am interested in the facts as they are sure to come forth. You may unintentionally be painting yourself into an awkward corner. The religious "litmus test" that so many have appropriately fought to avoid has been observed by many not just because of a potential Romney candidacy, but to protect a constitutional and fundamental human right for all and any to observe religious beliefs as they will, within the safety and bounds of the law, but independent of governmental intrusion.

There are many things at stake, but you may never clue into it. Even though your political allegiances sway towards Thompson (who I would argue is the more moderate candidate), I suggest a good thorough reading of Hugh Hewitt's recent book, "A Mormon in the White House?" While the book is obviously pro-Romney, it is also a very good crash course on the constitution's defense against any sort of religious test for office, and what's at stake for any person of any religious persuasion. It may help you realiign some of your rhetoric.

After all, we all want what's best for our country. Does it have to come to religious blows?

Monday, March 26, 2007 7:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Norm said...

A lot of comments center around the candidate's stand on abortion. I welcome all candidates who favor life over abortion. But in addition to the abortion issues I admire Mitt Romney for many other stands as well. I greatly admire his record on Health Care and on Iraq/Iran. His performance in industry shows extreme executive/leadership skills. His personal life shows sound moral character. I see nothing from Thompson's record that indicates any innovate or disciplined approach to problem solving. What has Thompson done to make America better? Who has Thompson worked with to improve the world?

Monday, March 26, 2007 11:15:00 PM  

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