Thursday, September 06, 2007

I can't Leap on the Fred Thompson Bandwagon

I have been unimpressed by the crowded field of candidates from both parties seeking their party’s respective presidential nomination. As a Republican, I have been hoping for a Republican candidate that could generate some enthusiasm on my part while awaiting the second coming of Ronald Reagan. Not seeing a Republican that could excite me, I have not ruled out considering a Democrat. My disgust with the Bush administration’s deceit in leading us into the disastrous war in Iraq and the abuse of our civil liberties has made me consider jumping ship. Among the Democrats however, I have not seen anyone that I would like to see become President either.

The best I can say about most of the candidates of either party is they are better than Bush. Wanting someone to be for rather than just settling for the least offensive, I have wanted another choice. I hoped Fred Thompson was it. Finally, Fred Thompson has jumped in the race making it official last night on Jay Leno. (See clip) I had been feeling a small tinge of excitement about Fred Thompson, thinking maybe he is the person I could get excited about.

I was predisposed to support Fred Thompson. He is a good spokesman for the cause of conservatism. He can articulate his position without coming across as mean-spirited or divisive. He appears to be a social conservative without being too tied to the religious right. He sounds reasonable, level-headed, thoughtful and intelligent. He seems to be a man of integrity. He has the communication skills of Ronald Reagan and has that elusive something called “charisma”.

Having served eight years in the Senate, he cannot be dismissed as “just an actor”. He has an impressive political career and like the character he plays on Law and Order, he really is a crusader against crime and corruption.

In 1973 he served as Minority counsel in the Watergate hearings and is responsible for Senator Howard Baker asking the one question that many say led to the downfall of the President: “What did the President know and when did he know it?” While Mr. Thompson played a major role in the Watergate hearings, he was behind the scene and not in the spotlight.

He entered the public spotlight in 1977 by taking on the corrupt Democratic Governor of Tennessee, Ray Blanton. Mr. Thompson represented Marie Ragghianti a former chair of the Tennessee Parole Board who had refused to release felons who had bribed aides to Governor Blanton in order to obtain clemency. For her refusal to go along with the cash-for-clemency scheme, she was terminated on trumped up charges. Mr. Thompson represented her in a wrongful termination case. Ms Ragghianiti won her case and in the process the cash-for- clemency scandal was revealed and as a result a slew of other scandals involving the Blanton administration became public and the Governor was removed from office in disgrace.

The sordid story of corruption led to a book by Peter Mass and a movie staring Sissy Spacek, both titled “Marie, a True Story”. Fred Thompson played himself in the movie and that was the beginning of his acting career. The movie is still a great, riveting movie and if you can find it, I highly recommend it. (movie review)

While I wanted to jump on the Thompson bandwagon, I just can't do it. On Leno, he had the opportunity to distance himself from the disastrous Bush Iraq policy and he did not; instead he repeated the justifications for the war. I'm disappointed. I'm back to trying to decide who is the least objectionable candidate.

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1 comment:

  1. While I have a tendency to like Fred Thompson as a person - and, a good actor, I dislike his politics as they are not that far removed from the current incumbent. The only difference being that it is obvious to observe the intellect of Fred Thompson while it is almost impossible to even notice it in George W. Bush.

    So far, I say "pox" on the whole lot of candidates as they are merely jockeying for position and none can really convey the idea they are prepared to meet the challenges of 2008 and beyond.