Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fred Thompson's Phony Red Pickup Truck

Ok, I know I’m the Virginia Democratic blogger whose been pushing the Fred Thompson for President idea here in the Old Commonwealth. I really was intrigued by Arthur Branch running for an office higher than the television DA of New York City. I mean how realistic is the premise that New Yorkers actually voted for Bubba for any office in New York City?

It’s not that I support Thompson. Just the opposite. I actually think he’d be a terrible president. But I also believe he’s going to be an attractive candidate to a lot of the Republican right because the already announced candidates just haven’t caught their enthusiasm yet. Certainly the three frontrunners have not excited the Republican base.

Because of that it would be a mistake for Democrats to write Thompson off. On paper, he can be a credible candidate, as this shows:

"He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a former member of the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission and a Visiting Fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, researching national security and intelligence. Thompson is also a public speaker with the Washington Speakers Bureauand is a special program host and senior analyst for ABC News Radio. He publishes a daily blog and podcast on ABC Radio web site."
I’ve seen him at National Airport doing the NYC to DC shuttle. On paper he can appear to be a credible candidate.

But the rumor has gotten out that he is famously lazy – not a good trait for a candidate let alone for a president. I think that in the placid years of the Clinton administration, back in the halcyon days of 1999-2000, when America was at peace and had a truly good economy, one where the benefits actually filtered down to ordinary working people, Thompson’s lack of serious engagement wouldn’t have been a liability. In fact, back then, the most serious political issue seemed to be with whom it would be more fun to throw back a beer. The likeability factor got more serious media attention than an actual foreign policy debate did.

But these are serious times. The sizzling economy is not trickling down past the corporate boardrooms of Halliburton or the floor of the Wall Street trading floor. Ordinary Americans are losing good job, pensions, health benefits and their pay is mostly flat. And at the same time, we are in a seemingly endless war in Iraq with no exit. People may be losing their patience for the "aw shucks" folksy persona of rich phonies.

In Sunday’s Tennessean, Larry Daughtrey, one of Tennessee’s best political writers, has this devastating piece on Fred Thompson. Here’s the money quote:

"In the Washington world of workaholics, Fred is remembered as a virtual teetotaler. During his eight years in the U.S. Senate, an insertion into the Congressional Record amounted to heavy lifting.

His high school yearbook sized him up early: "The lazier a man is, the more he plans to do."

Sliding back and forth between the fantasy worlds of the silver screen and politics is nothing new for him.

Back in 1992, the Gucci loafers, Lincoln Continental and high-dollar lobbying fees of Fred D. Thompson, Esquire, weren't playing too well at the political box office in Tennessee. So, he bought an old red pickup and a pair of $100 boots, tuned up the drawl and beat a Harvard man for the Senate in Big Orange country."

In addition, I’ve known the rumors for a while that even while campaigning in that red pickup truck, Thompson would ride a few miles out of town and the limo would be waiting, which Daughtrey sort of confirms in his article.

Frankly, in National Airport, when Fred Thompson wasn’t thinking about future voters, he didn’t seem very friendly either. The exact word to describe him - when the klieg lights weren’t on for a Law and Order scene and the political press wasn’t around to sing his praise - is “dyspeptic.”

Of course, because running for president is hard work, Thompson might not do it. As an actor, it may be the ratings for next season and not the votes.

But, as Daughtrey put it, “if he buys a used Boeing 707 and paints it red, watch out.”


Winghunter said...

I completely agree with your assessment, lets concern ourselves with Guiliani as he is constantly attacking the democrats.

I don't even know why Daughtrey spends so much time talking about an actor, a lazy one at that.

Andy From Roanoke said...

Just keep telling yourselves that. We Thompson folks and conservative Republicans have you right where we want you: overconfident, stupid, and eyes shut. Keep listening to those commentators who reinforce your biases and ignore contrary facts (like the national Rasmussen poll that showed Thompson beating Hillary).

You did it withe Reagan too. "Too Lazy" "Just an Actor".

Just stay right where you are, losers.

brimur said...

Andy- I don't think AIAW was underestimating Thompson as a CANDIDATE- quite the contrary. But she was revealing that he is quite fake and lazy- not what we want in a PRESIDENT.

I totally agree with your assessment on this AIAW and I've said as much on Mason Conservative.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Brimur is right Andy. I may be stupid but never overconfident. I think Fred Thompson is a serious threat exactly because he has the Reaganesque folksy charm. And like Reagan, he'd be a talented leader who would lead us down the wrong path.

After 8 years of Reagan's presidency and 4 years of Bush I's administration - 12 years of Republican rule in DC, America had a whopping deficit, tax cuts for the wealth, and an economy that purred along for those on Wall Street while those on Main Street had flat wages, threats of loss of pensions and health benefits - gee, exactly like today.

I lived through the 80s, it wasn't just something I read in a history book. I would prefer not to return to those bad old days. Fred Thompson is a threat precisely because he could do so well in an election and so badly as an actual leader.

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ChippySwans said...

lazy people don't work and put themselves through law school, become a successfull lawyer, win a US senate seat, become a successful actor working 14 hour days while also filling in on shows such as paul harvey...they just dont. people call me lazy but i dont think a lazy person works 35 hrs a week while putting himself through business school. i just manage my time well so that i can relax when i'm not working, going to school or studying.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

You have a point and you are probably not lazy, just working smart.

However, Fred Thompson may or may not be lazy. Certainly, his weekly role on L&O really amounts to a cameo. He gets star billing but only is on for a few minutes on each program, where he makes a pithy statement as DA Arthur Branch. He certainly doesn't carry the show. It's probably only a couple of days filming.

Thompson also manages to shuttle back and forth between NYC and Wash, DC to serve on those think tanks, etc.

He may not be truly lazy but he seems to be happier popping in for brief appearances than in focusing and deeply engaging any one task.

While he was in the Senate, he seemed to have had an actor's typical love of the spotlight more than a real commitment to doing the hard, unglamorous work of government.

I think, given the troubled times the next administration will be inheriting from the Bush administration, we may need a president who has more than simply charisma and a smart mind, though any president will certainly need those gifts too.