George Will lowers the boom on Fred

posted at 12:01 pm on June 11, 2007 by Allahpundit

Has the backlash begun? The is-he-or-isn’t-he candidate kabuki, the uncanny sense that he’s playing “the Fred Thompson role” here like he does in his movies, the anxiety that his stature might be little more than some displaced longing for Reagan among conservatives, like a man who loses the woman he loves and then gravitates towards women who look like her — it’s all starting to pile up.

Plus, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t consider a southern accent metaphysical proof of strength, intelligence, and authenticity.

One does not want to be unfair to Thompson, who may have hidden depths. But ask yourself this: If he did not look like a basset hound who had just read a sad story—say, “Old Yeller”—and if he did not talk like central casting’s idea of the god Sincerity, would anyone think he ought to be entrusted with the nation’s nuclear arsenal? He is an actor, and, as a Hollywood axiom says, the key to acting is sincerity—if you can fake that, you’ve got it made…

Reagan greatly communicated ideas and agendas. What Thompson enthusiasts are smitten by, so far, is his manner. His deep-fried Southernness bears a strong resemblance to the Southwesternness of, say, Midland, Texas, and the country may have had its fill of that flavor. Thompson, a longtime lawyer-lobbyist who will run as a Washington “outsider,” lives inside the Beltway, but outside Washington, in McLean, Va.

In their haste to anoint Thompson as another Reagan, the anointers are on the verge of endorsing what Reagan’s disdainers have long argued—that Reagan was 99 percent charm and 1 percent substance. In 1968, when Reagan was 57, one of his disparagers, Norman Mailer, wrote that Reagan radiated a “very young, boyish, maybe thirteen or fourteen, freckles, cowlick, I-tripped-on-my-sneaker-lace aw shucks variety of confusion.” This style of dismissal was common then, before Reagan spent another 14 successful years in demanding executive offices and before the publication of his letters and pre-presidential broadcasts. Since then, Reagan has undergone what Alistair Cooke, speaking of someone else, called “the four stages of the highbrow treatment: first, he was derided, then ignored, then accepted, then discovered.” So far, Thompson is 99 percent charm.

Emphasis on “so far,” I guess. Exit question: Why on earth would Fred consider entering the Iowa straw poll when Rudy and McCain have already dropped out? If he holds to his plan of not entering the race until July, that’ll leave him with only one month to cut into Mitt’s lead. Anything short of a very strong second place will be spun as a disappointment and used as evidence of the Thompson bubble bursting, particularly vis-a-vis Romney, whom he’s supposed to supplant as the social conservative candidate. And what an incentive now for Mitt to really pour it on and drive a stake through the Thompson campaign’s heart by winning big in Ames.

If he does jump in, we’re essentially looking at a social-con primary in August. Awesome.

Update: Mitt really needs to drive that stake.


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csdeven,

I like Mitt! best because he has had much success in business, leadership, executive experience,

Um, there’s a $60 billion dollar leaking cement hole in Massachusetts that might disagree with you. And Mitts other accomplishments in Massachusetts aren’t exactly legendary.

What I don’t understand is why you, like other conservatives, seem to dismiss Fred! out of hand as a lightweight, yet when people point out that he displayed competence and leadership in difficult political situations such as the Watergate trials or the Blanton fiasco, these facts seem to get ignored.

Why is that?

Tman on June 11, 2007 at 4:39 PM

Here’s another reason why MITT! is more qualified for the job of CinC.

And just one more reason why fred? just doesn’t come across as presidential. Content warning!!

csdeven on June 11, 2007 at 4:57 PM

Charm? Charm?

How did I miss Fred!’s Charm. And I have been a fan of his since I first heard him speak on the floor of the Senate Lo, these many years ago.

I thought: “Wow, here is the kind of guy we NEED in office; Someone who DOESN’T have charm, not a bit of it; … Someone who talks like a ‘Dutch Uncle’, someone who stands up for what he believes and will just (verbally) slap you down if you challenge him, and big enough, tough enough to knock you on your butt if you wish to escalate the argument beyond mere words.”

Started watching him more on televised Senatorial committee meetings and senatorial investigations every chance I got. More and more impressed with not only his hard-core ‘in your face’ style but the depth and breadth of his knowledge and understanding of things important in running a country.

Then I saw “Hunt For Red October” and thought , “Dang, that guy reminds me of my favorite Senator”. And when I saw “Die Hard 2″ I said, it IS him… I’ll be darned Senator, prosecutor and Actor. Whatta guy.

By then, I already wanted him to run for President. Was disappointed when he decided not to run back in 2000. I don’t watch that Law & Order show, so, I don’t know how he is in that… But my bet is that he doesn’t act a role… He just is himself and makes the role conform to his personality.

If Duncan Hunter was ‘ready for prime time’ I’d be throwing all my support to him. He is just about the perfect Conservative candidate for President. But I don’t think he has a ‘snowball’s chance’ this time. (But 4 years as Fred!’s VP, and he would get the name recognition he deserves and needs to become President)

Mitt & Giuliani are possibly, BARELY electable and I would vote for either one of them if they get the nomination, but not happily. Neither one would get any financial support from me. Fred! is the only one that I think is electable that I trust to make the right decision the most often.

Let’s see him in a debate… I think he will surprise you guys that think he can only read from a script. I’ve seen him speak ‘off the cuff’ many times and he is pretty darn convincing… You don’t get to be a successful prosecutor going against the entrenched ‘powers that be’ if you can’t think on your feet. And that skill as a prosecutor is what got him started in politics AND the acting gig.

LegendHasIt on June 11, 2007 at 5:01 PM

Don’t bother clicking on the links CSdeven provide just above.
Colossal waste of time and insulting to anyone with the slightest bit of maturity and class.

LegendHasIt on June 11, 2007 at 5:12 PM

Um, there’s a $60 billion dollar leaking cement hole in Massachusetts that might disagree with you. And Mitts other accomplishments in Massachusetts aren’t exactly legendary.

I’ve been waiting for some articles enumerating Mitts! responsibility for the Big Dig. All I have found are articles upon articles praising him for pushing forward investigations into it.

What I don’t understand is why you, like other conservatives, seem to dismiss Fred! out of hand as a lightweight, yet when people point out that he displayed competence and leadership in difficult political situations such as the Watergate trials or the Blanton fiasco, these facts seem to get ignored.
Why is that?

Tman on June 11, 2007 at 4:39 PM

Well, frankly, those events are not the kind of things I count as leadership skills that translate into running this country. His weaknesses far outweigh any successes I have read about.

csdeven on June 11, 2007 at 5:13 PM

Well, I got the quotes mixed up, but i guess that’s obvious.

csdeven on June 11, 2007 at 5:14 PM

[csdeven on June 11, 2007 at 4:57 PM]

You want Mitt to have cred? Quit supporting him, dude.

Dusty on June 11, 2007 at 5:15 PM

Anyone that likes to laugh should click the links I left. Hilariously funny stuff!

csdeven on June 11, 2007 at 5:23 PM

All I have found are articles upon articles praising him for pushing forward investigations into it.

Yeah, that’s great and all, but must not be from Boston. Mitt was never around enough in Boston to really be noticed for anything. That was the big joke going around- people asked Bostonians what they thought of Mitt the Governor and they answer “Mitt who?”. And getting praise for investigating the big dig? That’s like getting praise for investigating the mafia. When you have concrete slabs falling from the ceiling killing people, um, yeah- you might want to look in to that.

those events are not the kind of things I count as leadership skills that translate into running this country. His weaknesses far outweigh any successes I have read about.

Really? Taking down two big corrupt political machines doesn’t count as leadership?

And what are these weaknesses of which you speak? The pick up truck? You realize that he really does drive it, right?

Council on Foreign Relations? Fellow with the American Enterprise Institute? Chairman of the Committee on Governmental Affairs?

Not skills that translate into running this country? Jeebus, sound like you want him to be president before you’ll vote for him.

Tman on June 11, 2007 at 5:25 PM

That’s like getting praise for investigating the mafia. When you have concrete slabs falling from the ceiling killing people, um, yeah- you might want to look in to that.

Already have and I’m still waiting for your links. Unlike the fred?heads, I am not gaa gaa over any candidate and welcome any and all proof that any candidate is lacking.

Council on Foreign Relations? Fellow with the American Enterprise Institute? Chairman of the Committee on Governmental Affairs?

Those are all talking head positions. This country doesn’t need a talking head. It needs a CinC who has executive experience. Juggling many, many, programs, leaders, and other whatnot that goes along with it. fred? has never done any of that. He would get run over by leaders who are better prepared and more experienced. He knows not of which he will be expected to speak and those who are under him will have nothing but contempt for him. fred? just hasn’t earned his stripes.

csdeven on June 11, 2007 at 5:48 PM

According to “On the Issues” freddie boy is a moderate that ranks in the exact same spot as Mitt!.

Which Mitt? Governor Mitt, Senate candidate Mitt, or Republican candidate Mitt? As far as I can tell, they’re not the same people though they have the same slick-talk down pat.

When it comes to what matters- a Federalist point of view in favor of personal liberties, small government and upholding the Constitution, Fred is far more conservative than anti-gun, pro-Big Government Flipper Mitt.

Gotta give Flipper credit on one thing though- in convincing people that he’s actually a conservative instead of the RINO he’s been his entire political career, he’s clearly a better actor than Fred is.

Hollowpoint on June 11, 2007 at 5:51 PM

Exit question: Not sure what he is thinking but doesn’t seem like a good move.

In the Fred love fest it would be a good idea to remember his role as a lobbyist
http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2007-06-06-thompson-resume_N.htm

Definitely puts a shadow on his Washington outsider personna.

Bradky on June 11, 2007 at 6:12 PM

I’m still waiting for your links.

To what? That Romney investigated the fact that the big dig was falling apart and killing people? Search “Boston Globe, Mitt Romney, Big Dig”, and you’ll find plenty.

Unlike the fred?heads, I am not gaa gaa over any candidate and welcome any and all proof that any candidate is lacking.

So Mitt is spotless, and despite evidence to the contrary, Fred! is an unqualified liar?

fred? just hasn’t earned his stripes.

Neither has Mitt by your standard.

Tman on June 11, 2007 at 6:15 PM

csdeven, your harping on executive experience, which you’ve boiled down to, what, having been a governor, just shows that your judgment has no historical perspective.

Kennedy, Truman, Eisenhower, Bush I? How about Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush II, FDR?

You grasping for the torch of Causation and burning your fingers on Correlation, or worse, lighting your hair on fire with Coincidence. You need to work on your fundamentals. You may well be right about Mitt instead of Fred, but your executive experience argument is pitiful.

Dusty on June 11, 2007 at 6:27 PM

Yeah, Fred’s really lazy.

RIIIIIght

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on June 11, 2007 at 6:40 PM

Hollowpoint on June 11, 2007 at 5:51 PM

I didn’t look. I was responding to a person who was using “On the Issues” as a glowing recommendation of freddie boy.

csdeven on June 11, 2007 at 6:51 PM

Come on Huckabee…knock Mitt out….

Tim Burton on June 11, 2007 at 7:13 PM

fred? the lobbyist? OH NO!! SAY IT AIN’T SO FREDDIE BOY!! Are you friends with Abramoff?

Dusty on June 11, 2007 at 6:27 PM

fred? ain’t no JFK.
Truman was thrust into the Presidency and got three years of experience before being elected for his second term.
Dwight ran WWII, governed Germany after the war, and was chief of staff of the army.
Bush I, congressman, UN ambassador, Chair of the RNC, “ambassador to China, VP for 8 years.

The rest of those presidents were all governors.

So, as you can see fred? is not qualified to be mentioned in the same history book as those presidents. He’s a fake.

csdeven on June 11, 2007 at 7:17 PM

To what? That Romney investigated the fact that the big dig was falling apart and killing people? Search “Boston Globe, Mitt Romney, Big Dig”, and you’ll find plenty.

Didn’t you just claim that the Big Dig was a blemish on Mitts! record? I can’t find any articles to back that up. So I’ll assume you don’t have any either.

So Mitt is spotless, and despite evidence to the contrary, Fred! is an unqualified liar?

I blame Mitt! for that which Mitt! does wrong. My issue is with fred? and the facade he is hiding behind. He talks a good game, but he has no experience to back it up.

Neither has Mitt by your standard.

What standards are those? My issue is with freds? absolutely vacuous resume of experience to qualify him as the CinC. Mitt! has no such problem. He is well qualified, perhaps the most qualified candidate in the entire race. It’s pretty clear when you stand fred? up against any other candidate, except for maybe Ron Paul.

csdeven on June 11, 2007 at 7:24 PM

All his speeches etc are just empty rhetoric he steals from the real candidates who have experience.

This is demonstrably false. His position on issues has existed longer than any of the declared candidates. His strong belief in federalism is what turned him into a lobbyist in the first place, fighting for reversal of improper corporate regulations imposed by first Johnson, then Nixon. That’s right, he fought both a Democrat then a Republican administration because he believed they were wrong. What a coward, hiding behind empty rhetoric. What a fake.

Freelancer on June 11, 2007 at 7:36 PM

Didn’t you just claim that the Big Dig was a blemish on Mitts! record?

Anyone who was at that level of office during the Big Dig is responsible. The Big Dig is arguably the worst-run public works program in the history of public works programs. You aren’t “finding any links” because you are ignoring them the way that you ignore Fred!’s credentials.

He talks a good game, but he has no experience to back it up

.

According to you, Neither does Mitt. I’m not sure what would consitute experience by your definition.

You are not a serious person to debate with, and you ignore facts that don’t go along with your agenda. You would fit better making this argument at Democratic Underground.

Fred! has experience, and it is documented. That you don’t see this is your problem, not mine.

Tman on June 11, 2007 at 7:51 PM

Nice try, csdeven. You make no comparison to their efforts and/or success in office.

Kennedy? Don’t drag out the ghost of Bentsen to do your work — no executive experience though Kennedy did well, was effective, and, some say, pretty darn successful. Remember we aren’t talking charm, shrewdness, likelability and good looks, dude. The argument is executive experience and yours just took a hit.

Truman, no executive experience yet did very well in his beginning term. Terribly under-recognized for Presidential leadership. Another nail in your coffin.

On Dwight, you’re right in noting other executive experience, but your arguments has been based primarily, if not solely, on governorships being the great source, and that is belied by Carter and, arguably well, by Clinton. See this is what I mean, your argument is governorship = good presidential material and then you shoot yourself with it.

You missed Bush I’s executive experience at the CIA, which seems a better source for that than being parked at the UN or in Beijing. And the House of Reps? Don’t be silly. Finally, one good quality in acquiring executive experience is learning what works which makes me think Reagan shouldn’t have been the one accused of taking too many naps for 8 years.

Like I said, correlation isn’t the same as causation. It’s what you bring to the party, not where you bought it, that’s important. Your perspective needs work.

Dusty on June 11, 2007 at 8:03 PM

The NRO candidate. The defense rests.

JackStraw on June 11, 2007 at 12:24 PM

Is this snark? Seriously. I want to know.

Bill C on June 11, 2007 at 8:24 PM

The demands that we spoon feed all the doubters with the same information everyday until we get tired of it and stop responding so they can say “ah-ha!” is disturbingly similar to the tactics used by our pure left wing trolls here. Not sure what that says about either of them but I have my own theories.

TBinSTL on June 11, 2007 at 10:32 PM

Is this snark? Seriously. I want to know.

No. It’s not snark.

And now I want to know. If you think Fred is the second coming, exactly what do you know about him accept he is a divorced, pro-abortion (check his record vs Rudy), champion of McCain Feingold, McCains co-chair last election, etc., etc.. what exactly is the draw other than his sitting in the bleachers tossing Fredisms?

For all you guys who love a guy who refuses to get in the race and get dirty and debate, tell me why he is so great other than he sounds like Deputy Dog. Stop being an automaton and actually make a case for this guy.

JackStraw on June 11, 2007 at 10:49 PM

Dusty on June 11, 2007 at 8:03 PM

Nice try. Deflecting freddie boys dismal record as a public servant by attacking some of the greatest public servants of the last 70 years.

Fred? isn’t worthy to lick their boots much less be mentioned in the same sentence with them.

And that’s his problem.

csdeven on June 11, 2007 at 11:09 PM

Anyone who was at that level of office during the Big Dig is responsible. The Big Dig is arguably the worst-run public works program in the history of public works programs. You aren’t “finding any links” because you are ignoring them the way that you ignore Fred!’s credentials.

Well, I guess we’ll just wait for some candidate to point that out when things get tough. But don’t think the group hasn’t noticed that you refuse to leave the link you claim exists. The Big Dig was under private oversight and Mitt! stepped in after a woman was killed. He kicked a$$ and took names.

According to you, Neither does Mitt. I’m not sure what would consitute experience by your definition.

No, according to me, MITT! has plenty of experience. Tons more than freddie boy.

csdeven on June 11, 2007 at 11:15 PM

Freelancer on June 11, 2007 at 7:36 PM

Well, fred? may has some original ideas from years ago, but lately he’s been a day late and parroting the real candidates opinions days after they make them. Yet he comes off like he’s the one who thought it up. I view that as more fakery on his part.

csdeven on June 11, 2007 at 11:18 PM

I’m attacking SOME of the greatest pubic servants of the last 70 years?

I complimented four, took shots at three, and the only one of the latter that qualifies for your comment was Bush I but it was hardly an ATTACK.

As for your “greatest pubic servants” category, pick your bar off the floor, will ya.

Dusty on June 11, 2007 at 11:38 PM

Well, I guess we’ll just wait for some candidate to point that out when things get tough.

Yeah, because apparently everyone except you is incapable of using google.

But don’t think the group hasn’t noticed that you refuse to leave the link you claim exists.

“The group”? The group is capable of using google.

The Big Dig was under private oversight and Mitt! stepped in after a woman was killed. He kicked a$$ and took names.

That’s funny. You know nothing about the Big Dig, and that tells me you know nothing about Mitt, or Fred.

Which would coincide with the argument that pitiful Will put up in this thread.

Brilliant!

Tman on June 12, 2007 at 12:21 AM

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