Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson is the empty vessel into which Republicans dissatisfied with their dissatisfying leading contendors have pooured their hopes and desires.  I'd been meaning to blog about this, but lost my enthusiasm.  Now that conservative columnist George Will (gotta love that he compares Thompson to the tulip bulb craze) is even pointing out the absurdity of all the Republican love for Thompson, its time for me to get to the topic.  From Will:

Some say he is the Republicans' Rorschach
test: They all see in him what they crave. Or he might be the
Republicans' dot-com bubble, the result of restless political investors
seeking value that the untutored eye might not discern and that might
be difficult to quantify but which the investors are sure must be there, somewhere, somehow.

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…

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….

But as Thompson ambles toward running, he is burdened by a reputation
for a less-than-strenuous approach to public life, and that opaque
thought he voiced about immigration looks suspiciously symptomatic of a
mind undisciplined by steady engagement with complexities. If so, a
sound you may soon hear from the Thompson campaign may be the soft
“pop” of a bursting bubble.

I'll leave with this nice snippet from the Carpetbagger:

That said, Thompson?s base of support is perhaps the quintessential cult of personality. Consider this gem from Rep. Zack Wamp (R-Tenn.), one of Thompson?s boosters on the Hill.

?We need a president of the United States after the 2008
election who will rise above the partisan challenges ? That person is 6
foot 6. He has a commanding voice. He has a commanding presence. He
makes people feel secure. He makes us feel confident. He is slow to act
but he is resolute. He is the kind of leader innately that the United
States needs today.?

If there?s a more inane basis for supporting a presidential candidate, I can?t think of it.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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