4:00 PM UPDATE: At the time of this writing, this was the only thing I could find about Thompson’s feelings on the recent amnesty legislation. To this writer, it lacks clarity and doesn’t go far enough in condemning the bill:
Former Sen. Fred Thompson flatly rejected the deal as a “bill of goods,” while writing separately on a political blog that Congress needs bipartisanship. “Too often, what we are seeing isn’t an effort to find solutions, but rather insults and purely partisan politics.”
Aside from being unclear, Thomson lapses into tired platitudes about “partisan politics” that have become stale and trite to my ears.
The left-leaning Slate magazine makes the following observations, which I find to be accurate:
The myth behind the Thompson quasi-candidacy is a dangerous one that bedevils both parties: If we just get a better communicator, people will love our policies. But once Thompson enters the race, he will have to either embrace or distance himself from GOP policies, which will either ruin his chances in the general election or hurt him with his conservative supporters. In short, he’ll become just like any other candidateâ€”something he might not like after such a big buildup. Thompson also has a reputation for not enjoying the grind of campaigning.
That last comment is something I’ve been able to intuit from having observed him lately. Moreover, this business with Thompson makes me think of what happened with John Breaux here in Louisiana. One version of the story is that Breaux opted out of the governor’s race when he learned that it would not be a cake walk.
Thus ended Breaux’s non-candidacy.
I wonder if there isn’t something similar going on with Fred Thompson.
Link Opens in New Window
Mr. Thompson, who has yet to say whether he will be a candidate, has all the attributes that diehard conservatives can love: hawkish on defense, tough on spending, a Reagan tax-cutter to the core, and good on social issues.
But there are disturbing parts in his record, too, that bother many if not most conservatives, especially his support of the McCain-Feingold bill that prohibits issue advocacy groups from running TV or radio ads to express their opposition or support in the midst of an election.
On this issue, Mr. Thompson was joined at the hip with Mr. McCain….
The other disturbing part of Thompson’s record is what else he did in the Senate: virtually nothing. He led no great crusades, nor did he win any medals for leadership. In fact, when he was called to lead the investigation into illegal campaign contributions from China to President Bill Clinton’s 1996 campaign, Mr. Thompson was rolled by the Democrats.
So there you have it. My skepticism comes from the fact that Thompson has many superficial characteristics that appeal to people: he’s nearly seven feet tall with a big booming Southern drawl. But in terms of substantive policy arguments I have seen virtually nothing that leads me to believe that he’s an authentic conservative.
–Chad E. Rogers