The Four-Point Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson's unannounced but in the race. He's going to be a contender for the Republican nomination. What does he bring to the table for the Republican nomination? There are four big items.

1. THE SOUTHERN SLOT. There was no major Southern candidate for the GOP nomination. So Tennessee-born Fred Thompson filled a hole in the Republican field. Of course, Mike Huckabee, James Gilmore, and Ron Paul are Southern as well, but they're all minor candidates. From Thompson already had more support than the other three put together the day after he announced that he was thinking about running.

But the South is bigger and more heavily populated than most people think? As a result, Thompson's regional base is much larger than McCain's, Romney's, or Giuliani's. Generally, the South is thought of as the eleven former Confederate states plus the border states of Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland. But the stereotype is wrong. The South includes much of southern Ohio, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. Of course, some parts of the cultural and political South have defected, including the Washington, DC suburbs and the Miami region in Florida. Nevertheless, Fred Thompson's regional clout would be extensive in both the primary and the general election.

2. THE CORPORATE SHILL. Thompson was a corporate lobbyist for eighteen years and there are already reports that reducing corporate taxes is a significant part of his agenda. Like Mitt Romney then, Fred Thompson would be a candidate of big business and could be expected to pursue the tremendously profitable agendas of social security privatization, free market health plans, shifting the tax burden from capital to consumption, big-ticket defense spending, and reducing business regulation.  Certainly, a Fred Thompson presidency would follow the Bush administration in making sure that unions, consumer groups, environmentalists, and victims of business abuse did not have a seat at the table. With this combination of big region affiliation and corporate backing, Thompson starts from a stronger base than the Arizona maverick John McCain even though McCain has a much more impressive political record.  Although not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Fred Thompson inherits much of his political support.

3. THE RED-MEAT CONSERVATIVE. Thompson has also shown a lot of gusto for attacking conservative bogeymen like Hugo Chavez and Michael Moore in his radio commentaries and op-eds for TownHall.com, and blogging.  Thompson tosses out red-meat to conservative activists better than the other Republican candidates. Pressing the pleasure buttons of the right will be a big advantage in Republican primaries because it's the right that provides a big chunk of the passion, the money, and the ground troops for Republican campaigns.  

4. THE ACTOR. Conservative commentators focus a great deal on Thompson's charm and the idea of Thompson "looking" and "sounding" presidential. And Thompson's prospective candidacy is being pounded for its superficiality in the liberal blogosphere. Nevertheless, a candidate's ability to sell himself as a "man" is important to Republican chances in 2008. With the war in Iraq going badly, the on-going Justice Department and Jack Abramoff scandals, and the Bush administration's poor over-all reputation, any Republican candidate is going to have to sell something besides a Republican agenda to general election voters. With his actor's ability, Thompson stands a chance of selling his manly personato enough weak Republicans, independent voters, and wayward Democrats to off-set popular hostility to the Bush administration. Selling themselves as "men" was important to the success of Ronald Reagan and George Bush (although Bush promoted himself more as a "guy"). It will be even more important to any Fred Thompson candidacy.

Needless to say, Fred Thompson has a lot of negatives. Thompson had an indifferent Senate career and a reputation for a weak work ethic.  Much of Thompson's lobbying career was spent chasing skirts and he's married to a woman who looks like a bimbo stereotype and is 25 years younger than him.  Above all, Thompson would have the Bush albatross hanging around his neck.  Whatever weaknesses Thompson has, however, he does have significant strengths and people on the left need to be aware of those strengths.

Tags: Business, Election 2008, Fred Thompson, Republicans, South (all tags)

Comments

4 Comments

Re: The Four-Point Fred Thompson

On point #4, Mitt Romney seems to be much better at "looking" and "sounding" presidential. If I didn't know any better, I would say Romney is the actor in the race.

by scaryice 2007-06-10 11:06PM | 0 recs
Re: The Four-Point Fred Thompson

Like Reagan and Bush, Thompson has phony authenticity written all over him.  Romney just has phony.

by Ric Caric 2007-06-11 04:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The Four-Point Fred Thompson

Hi everyone, I'm going to start this post with a disclaimer. I'm a conservative and I usually vote Republican. I know it's unusual for me to even visit this site, but I still believe our two sides can have meaningful discourse (I may be wrong, but I still believe it).

That said, I'd like to discuss a few points you have made about Fred Thompson. You are trying to paint this broad brush that Thompson is the next Tom Delay/Jack Abramoff. That is simply not the case. Thompson was a US attorney and brought down a corrupt governor's administration in TN for selling pardons. (They made a movie about this which his how he got started acting) While in the Senate he investigated the DNC AND RNC for election corruption. He worked with McCain and your friend Russ Feingold to help get rid of soft money contributions. He also voted against nationwide tort reform on several occasions because he believes not only it is a state issue, but that regular people should have the right to stand up to large corporate interests. The man was a trial lawyer besides a lobbyist. He helped "the little people" that you folks are always supportive of.

I'm not here trying to sell you on Thompson. I'm not even committed to a candidate. All I'm saying is that you should research the man a little more  before you draw broad conclusions that he's just another Bush/Cheney Neocon. Thompson has several things that make him very different and it is going to be hard to peg him (try as I know you all will) as an evil member of the big coporate halliburton loving elitest republican class.

Oh and lastly, Thompson's new wife is no bimbo, she's a very respected GOP operative and had high level positions at the RNC and Senate Republican Conference. That attack may backfire as well once she get's out on the campaign trail and starts speaking.

Just a little insight for you all, flame away or if you have any meaningful comments, those would be cool too.

Cheers,

Will

by TheonerightwingeronMyDD 2007-06-11 10:11AM | 0 recs
Re: The Four-Point Fred Thompson

You misread my diary.

1.   I said that Mrs. Thompson "looked like a bimbo stereotype."  That's very different from saying she's a bimbo.  Mrs. Thompson's appearance will hurt him because it will remind people of his skirt-chasing days and general lack of conventional morality.

2.  Saying that Thompson is a corporate shill is not the same as saying that he's another DeLay/Abramoff.  What DeLay and Mitch McConnell have been about is extorting money from corporate lobbyists and turning the corporation world into an arm of the Republican Party.  Thompson is much more of a traditional corporate shill in the sense that he'll represent business interests.  

3.  Thompson has the same foreign policy ideas as the Bush-Cheney neo-cons and would appoint the same kind of people if he were elected.  At the same time, he's running as a ruggedly handsome, red-meat tossing "man's man" who will make everybody forget about Bush-Cheney.  I can see where the various elements of Thompson's candidacy can combine to win the  Republican nomination.  I also see where he could be a strong general election candidate because of regional loyalties in the Greater South.  Still, outside the things I mentioned, I don't think he brings much to the table.  Certainly, Thompson wasn't anywhere near the prosecutor that Giuliani was.  

by Ric Caric 2007-06-11 04:43PM | 0 recs

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