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March 09, 2007

Fred Thompson Looking To Get Into The Race

Another rock star. Actually, a movie star, and a guy who's made a career of playing high-ranking, non-nonsense executive types.

Thompson has told allies in recent days that he is exploring seriously a bid for president in 2008 in response to what he has described as strong encouragement from Republicans dissatisfied with the current slate of candidates.

A big hurdle candidates always face is getting the public to even be able to imagine them as President. Can't help but think he'll be aided by the public's fifteen year osmotic acceptance of him as DA, Chief of Staff (In the Line of Fire), Director of the CIA (in No Way Out), an aircraft carrier group commander (Hunt for Red October), and yes, even President.

That all may seem kind of silly, but the fact is, it usually takes a crisis to even accept a new president as actually being president. Seemed to work that way for George Bush (not President until Panama) and George W. Bush (not President until 9/11 and the speech on 9/14). There may be some people in the country under the misapprehension that Fred Thompson is actually already the President.

So you just don't have the big psychological obstacle to overcome.

Plus, I hear he played a hard-charging, corruption-fighting prosecutor and Senator in real life, too.

Ever since his high-profile role as the young minority counsel in the Senate Watergate hearings of a generation ago, Thompson had been considered a heavyweight potential candidate for statewide office. As the years and opportunities passed, the once-rising political star began to look like a political Kahoutek - all hype and no happening. After playing himself in a 1985 Sissy Spacek film about a crusade against corrupt state government. Thompson launched a side career in the movies as a character actor, a move that seemed to categorize him as little more than the question to a $1,000 Jeopardy answer: "After uncovering the secret Nixon tapes, he later played a presidential chief-of-staff in the movies."

Uncovered the secret Nixon tapes? Apparently so:

He was responsible for Baker's asking one of the questions that is said to have led directly to the downfall of President Richard Nixon—"What did the President know, and when did he know it?" Also, Thompson's voice has become immortalized in recordings of the Watergate proceedings, asking the key question, "Mr. Butterfield, were you aware of the existence of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the President?"

Well, let's not hold that against him too much.

And of course he fought state corruption after that:

n 1977, Thompson took on a Tennessee Parole Board case that ultimately toppled Tennessee Governor Ray Blanton from power on charges of selling pardons. The scandal became the subject of a book and a movie titled Marie (1985) in which Thompson played himself, supposedly because the producers were unable to find a professional actor who could play him plausibly.

Plus, get this, his voting record actually seems rather... conservative. Odd, that.

The cats at DraftFredThompson obviously have an agenda, so I guess it's not a surprise they like his record:

BTW, at the bottom the site calls Thompson a "Moderate Populist Conservative." Now, looking through his voting record, I would've probably voted the same way on almost every single bill, yet the website's "VoteMatch Quiz" lables me a "Hard-Core Conservative." Did the website score FDT wrong or is the quiz messed up? I say ignore that nonsense and look at his record and some of his quotes. Look at how he was strongly supported by the NRA, how he was chosen to help with the Roberts nomination, and his positions on issues like the Senate's non-binding Iraq resolution. From that evidence, IMHO, FDT is a mainstream, Reaganite conservative.

Well, what are you going to say? He's been the "DA straight from Central Casting," in both real life and movies, the "Senator straight from Central Casting," again in both real life and movies, and even "The President from Central Casting," so far just in the movies, but his career seems to be a long string of art imitating life and life imitating art.

Good Lord, it's almost not even fair if he jumps in.

And rumors of a romantic involvement with cable-news conservative cutie Kellyanne Fitzpatrick? Again, just not even really fair.

On the Downside: Although he has some executive-ish experience, earlier in his career, as a prosecutor, he's never actually been an executive, and Senators generally don't fare well in presidential contests. You usually want a Governor or, hypothetically, the Mayor of a city bigger than many states.

Correction: I thought I remembered him attending some DC function with Kellyanne Fitzpatrick. I may be right, I may be wrong, but either way, the guy is now remarried.

To whom?

Well... to this.

I'm not sure, but I think that almost counts as polygamy.

Looking at that, I feel like Keir Dullea in 2001: A Space Oddessey, confronted with the incomprehensible vastness of space-time: My God... it's full of starrrs...

He married Jeri Kehn, a DC media consultant, in 2002, and now has a daughter with her. He has three grown children from a previous marriage.

I don't expect infidelity is likely to be a problem, at least for a good long while.

Thanks to Jan.

Fred Dalton Thompson would seem to have some familiarity with the Ace of Spades Lifestyle (TM).

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posted by Ace at 02:54 PM

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