Tuesday, July 31, 2007

FDT is Sputtering?

Well with the "disappointing" news of Fred not raising enough money and apparently his campaign folding right now we have a new poll. Rasmussen shows that FDT is still in front by 1 point over Giuliani. Hummm. Falling apart.

Jay Cost at RealClearPolitics has a fairly good analysis of the situation (or non-situation).

By the way, Saving the GOP has a reference to the fact that FDT only spent $600K of the $3.4M that he raised. They make the interesting observation that Fred had more money on hand at the end of Q2 than McCain. Fred's filing is here. For an Indiana connection, on page 202 of the report you will find that Peyton Manning is on the list of Fred contributors.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fundraising Goals

Wow. The Politico is reporting that FDT will report $3 million raised in June. Apparently this is indicative of a major flop.

Let's put this in context and do a reality check. Here is a link to the second quarter numbers for the entire campaign. Understand that these are 3 month numbers. But even comparing Fred's 26 days worth of fund raising to the entire field's 3 month numbers, Fred came in 8th. If you prorate his numbers as one month number to a 3 month rate, he would have been sixth. And he is not in the race. My guess is that from the various fund raising events he has been going to this month, his July numbers will be significantly better.

The numbers that we don't know is how he is spending his money, but I bet it isn't going out like McCain's.

I find the opposition to FDT just an amazing phenomenon. Either he is too conservative, too liberal, hiding his contributions or not getting enough.

There is a good article at Elephant Biz that discusses the situation and puts it in very good context.

Courage, Fred Heads, Courage.

Why Does FDT's Announcement Matter?

Is he or isn't he?

Does anyone actually believe that Fred is NOT going to announce that he is running for the Republican nomination for President? Yet many supporters are concerned that Fred has not announced yet. The feel that he is leaving money on the table, though it is clear that the Republicans are holding back waiting either for Fred or someone to rise to the top. The money will be available when he announces.

There is little to gain by announcing. If you support FDT, assume he is going to run and do the things to support his run! Fred will announce when he is ready (probably about a month away). Hopefully by then he will have his campaign team structured the way that he wants it. It certainly will not be before he is ready to run the campaign.

By the way. My personal hope is that he announces at the Midwest Republican Leadership Conference that will be here in Indianapolis on August 24-26. Fred is the keynote speaker on the 25th.

Fred Getting Active

Good news for Fred Heads. FDT has started posting again. After a period of low activity Fred seems to be warming up his typing fingers.

This morning Fred has published an article on Eminent Domain. He points out an abuse of Eminent Domain from California last week. He talked about what states have done. Then, contrary to what his detractors say, he offered two very specific proposals for how to deal with it on the federal level.

Nicely done Fred. Keep it up.

Fred on Federalism

Sorry about the silence. I have been doing a lot of travel. Also not big on talking up the negatives that have been floating recently about the FDT campaign over the last week. But fortunately there is more going on.

FDT has posted a great article on Federalism over at his blog. Quite frankly from a policy point of view, this may be the area that excites me most about Fred. I agree with many other areas, but FDT understands Federalism and what it means.

Now I may take it much farther than FDT would--I would de-fund PBS, the Ad Council, National Endowment for the Arts and dozens of other areas of the budget not authorized by the Constitution. But I do think that Fred would take the idea of actually looking at the Constitution seriously.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Campaign Managers

FDT is shaping up his campaign staff. According to the AP:
Thompson spokeswoman Linda Rozett said acting campaign manager Tom Collamore, former vice president of food and tobacco giant Altria, still will advise the campaign. Collamore has helped organize the campaign for Thompson, who has not officially jumped into the race.

Thompson has established a "testing the waters" committee that allows him to raise money for a presidential bid. He is expected to formally kick off his candidacy in September, after the Labor Day holiday.

"The Friends of Fred Thompson have made a number of changes as they prepare to enter the next phase, adding new experience and political strength to the organization," Rozett said.

Replacing Collamore will be Randy Enright, who has served as Florida regional political director for the Republican National Committee, and Spencer Abraham, the former senator who lost his bid for re-election in 2000 to Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

Enright also was executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa and the Republican Party of Florida.

I do not remember the details of Collamore, but based on their language ("acting campaign manager"), the Thompson campaign expected to replace him. The other key phrase is "they prepare to enter the next phase". I expect an exploratory committee within a week or two.

Monday, July 23, 2007

FDT to Policy Organization Meeting

Fred will be attending and speaking at the American Legislative Exchange Council this week. The group seems to be a conservative, federalist type organization. We'll look for more information later this week.

Fred Fundraising

A couple of stories have come out indicating FDT's continued fund raising efforts. A brief AP blurb out of Birgingham, AL says that FDT will be there tonight at a $1,000 per couple fund raiser. That is a lot lower than his other events, but then again there is no indication on how large this event is supposed to be. Hopefully a little more on this in the next couple of days.

Bob Novak reports that Fred is organizing an event in D.C. for the last week of July--I'm not sure if that means this week or next week. Novak thinks that it is important to see how successful it is in bringing insiders into the FDT campaign--specifically how successful this event is will be a measure of how well Fred will be able to raise money going forward.


NewsMax reports that the date of the D.C. fund raiser is July 30th. The price for the event is $1,000 per seat for an individual and $5,000 for a PAC. They are establishing a fairly low expectation for the event at $250,000. I think that is low because there have been probably three events that FDT has raised more than that.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Quiet News Days

It has been quiet for the last couple of days on FDT news. There has been quite a bit of rehashing of existing stories. Here are a couple of items that I have dug up that are interesting.

First, Newshorn had some notes on FDT's visit to Baton Rouge. The only real information passed on here is that there were more than 150 people at the fund raiser. This translates to at least $345,000 raised at this event--which I find interesting.

Second, The Campaign Spot at National Review had a article including a series of articles or press releases tying FDT to the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance reform. I didn't find anything here new except the comments by the author, Jim Geraghty, about the source of the information--someone who does not want FDT to get the Republican nomination. He indicates that it is an operative for another Republican candidate. Most insightful is Mr. Geraghty's final statement on the issue:
Does this matter? Well, those following the race closely probably remember that Thompson supported McCain-Feingold. Perhaps the more interesting question is, what does Thompson think of the legislation today?
Which, by the way, FDT has already answered, though I am having problems finding the interview right now. His response is that in hindsight it has not worked well and he would propose scrapping it for a system that promotes transparency--who is giving to whom.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

FDT and the Abortion Lobby

The NY Times has dug up the billing records that show that FDT billed about 20 hours to the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (the pro-abortion organization looking for a relaxing of rules for abortion counseling in the first Bush administration. According to the records, FDT "lobbied" for about 3.3 hours and talked with the group's president.

First, I am a bit surprised that a law firm is passing out its billing records. Second, it sounds like Fred was more or less consulting more than lobbying.

McCain on Iraq

Well, I try not to fill this space with non-Fred material, but I believe that FDT would approve heartily with McCain's comments on the Senate floor this morning. A copy of those comments can be found at National Review Online. To be honest, this is one of the best speeches I have read in a long time. I hope the video of the speech shows up on the internet soon.

Red State Interviews With Fred

Here are a series of interviews of Fred Thompson by Red State from about a week ago.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

YouTube Ad for FDT

I ran across this ad today. I got a kick out of it.

Note that the music being played underneath the ad is Elvis's "A Little Less Conversation" which is an incredible choice.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rep. Wamp: Thompson to Announce Soon

The Hill is reporting that Rep. Wamp of Tennessee believes that Thompson will announce soon. We have heard this before. The item in the article that I find interesting is the estimate of his fundraiser in Atlanta a few days ago. The estimate is $400,000 in the one event.

Even if FDT does not announce the end of the month should be interesting since it is reported that he will announce the amount that he has raised. I am guessing that the report will be quite impressive.

FDT Mentioned in alJazeera

Fred has been mentioned in an article in alJazeera regarding Bush losing GOP support for Iraq. Interestingly they are indicating that FDT may not have as much support as it appears:
According to the Los Angeles Times, Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson revealed that their support for Iraq’s troop buildup doesn't mean they have signed on to keeping American soldiers in the war-torn country.
The former Tennessee senator, Thompson, made clear in an interview with Hoover Institution that with the current situation, decisions have to be made on a daily basis.
I do believe that alJazeera is misreading the quotes a bit. Anyone listening to FDT much come away with the solid belief that Fred wants to WIN in Iraq. His statements regarding decisions being made on a daily basis have to do with allowing military leaders the flexibility to do the job rather than locking them into particular strategy.

New National Polls - FDT ahead

Real Clear Politics has posted three new Republican Presidential Nomination polls today and it is good news from Fred.

The first is Zogby which puts FDT ahead of Giuliani by 1%.

The second is Ipsos who report Giuliani ahead by 2% over Thompson.

The third is Gallup which strangely has Giuliani up by 10%.

Why the difference? Gallup's poll were not likely voters and not even registered Republicans, but included "independents that lean Republican".

I find this encouraging because the Zogby is the first poll other than Rasmussen that puts FDT in the lead and the Ipsos poll shows that FDT is trending solidly toward the lead.

Good news.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Disclosing Contributions

The NY Times Blog is reporting that the Friends of Fred Thompson committee will be releasing contribution information on July 31st for the period ending June 30. One of the rising criticisms has been that Thompson has been getting around the reporting requirements by not announcing that he is a candidate. It appears that he is diffusing the situation by still NOT announcing, but releasing the information.

The AP Continues Their Efforts

A new hit piece has come out from the Associated Press. The "news" being reported here is that people are interested in his papers and supposedly these papers show inconsistencies or "nuances" in his positions. They continue their attempt to discredit FDT as a conservative and as a candidate in general.

Before I go into the insane article, I want to point out something quite inconsistent in the political wisdom being repeated these days: many keep saying that things will get more difficult for FDT when he gets into the race because at that point his positions will be put under deep scrutiny. I think the steady stream of articles being put out over the last month or so show that he is being scrutinized quite a bit. If the AP, NY Times, LA Times and Boston Globe can't find more than what they are coming up with right now, I think Fred will do OK.

Back to the AP story. The assertions are as follows:
1. Inconsistency on abortion. The basic thrust being that his papers and most statements show him to be pro-life, yet he made statements about not criminalizing abortion and he supposedly lobbied for an abortion group (quoting the LA Times). I won't cover this ground again except to say that there is no fire here.

2. He told one group that he opposed allowing federal employees to strike, but he opposed legislation allowing for the replacement of striking workers. I wonder if the legislation being discussed was even about federal workers. Do you see a difference between provisions not allowing a class of workers to strike and a provision to break a union by allowing replacement ("scab") workers? This assertion is quite devoid of any real information and context.

3. Probably my favorite in this group is that he told a group that he supported a balanced federal budget AND he voted for such a plan, but he did not support the group's plan because it contained increased taxes. I think I love this one so much because it demonstrates FDT's ideas about taxing and budgets. You do not have to raise taxes to balance the budget!!! We are currently demonstrating how lower tax rates can increase tax revenues. But more than that, you balance a budget by controlling your spending.

4. Duncan Mansfield (the author) seems amazed that FDT supports gun rights. He doesn't paint any inconsistencies here, just states that Fred is for guns for pretty much every reason. Sounds like my kind of guy.

5. He is inconsistent on the arts because he is an actor that believes that the National Endowment for the Arts should have its budget reduced and that no materials that is unfit for broadcast by the FCC should receive any federal money. Here I disagree from FDT: I think the NEA should be have its budget zeroed and the federal government has no business funding the arts anyway. For whatever reason, though, the AP doesn't understand that you can be for art and free expression and the first amendment, but not for federal funding of those expressions.

To me, this article shows FDT's federalism consistently. Unfortunately it also shows that there is little understanding of what it means. That will be Fred's challenge throughout the election and throughout his Presidency.

An as far as the AP is concerned, Mansfield gets it right when he summarized, "...the papers haven't revealed any bombshells so far..."

But the AP keeps trying.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

What to Make of the Attacks

JB Williams of the National Ledger has written an article on FDT naming him the "Man to Beat". His analysis is quite thoughtful and, I think, on target.

People keep comparing him (positively and negatively) to Reagan. Here is how I see him similar to Reagan: first, he can communicate in a way that connects with people. His interview on the Mark Levin show was a very good example. He comes across as a very thoughtful guy who you can respect what he believes. He is also a principled conservative. It may or may not be the particular brand of conservatism that is stated by various political pundits--it is really his own brand. Nevertheless he voted and speaks based on his principles rather than whatever is politically expedient.

For whatever reason, these qualities draw crossover votes from Democrats and Republicans.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Do the Insiders Know Anything?

Apparently insiders are a bit nutty in their predictions. 35% of Republican "insiders" (Congressmen, former party leaders, etc.) predict that Giuliani will win the nomination. 35% are predicting Romney. 18% are predicting Thompson.

The "insider" analysis seems to be at odds with what the Republican candidates, Democrats and the MSM think. Based on the fact that FDT is getting the vast majority of the criticisms and hit pieces, I think it is clear that he is the front runner from the competition's point of view.

The troubling aspect is that it is obvious that the Republican "insiders" are not understanding the state of the party, which is discouraging.

Friday, July 13, 2007

FDT On Mark Levin Show

FDT was on the Mark Levin show on Friday afternoon. He spoke about the war in Iraq--generally supporting the surge. His basic rationale for whatever Iraq policy that he will support is the security of the U.S. which depends on displaying strength.

The conversation then moved on to the economy. They talked about the news coverage not telling the story of the strength of the economy and rather trying to make the American people pessimistic about where we are going.

FDT also shined a light on the things that are good about our health care system.

They also talked about the attacks that are coming his way from both the Republicans and the Democrats.

It was an excellent interview and FDT came across very well.

FDT and Abortion, Part III

I guess this is a bad thing that the Abortion discussion keeps going on. A couple of articles appear at race42008.com talking about the issue:

The first article talks about "Thompson's Trouble With Abortion" that documents his presumably "pro-choice" position statements. More about that in a moment. The second is an email from the National Right to Life Committee documenting that their position is and has been that he is very pro-life.

In my mind, the key to understanding his statements and positions is understanding that FDT is, first and foremost, a federalist. He largely sees this issue as one that should be left to the states (therefore his statements on the bad decision of Roe v Wade). His voting record indicates that he does not want the Federal Government involved in the abortion process. His statements indicate that he realizes that the true battle regarding abortion is not a legal battle, but rather a battle of the mind and soul. The result is that he probably would not push for legislation making abortion illegal.

But let's be honest here. The President's role in abortion is largely what kind of justices he appoints. Is there any question out there about what kind of justices he would appoint?

How about Giuliani? Romney? McCain?

I think I trust FDT on abortion.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

FDT and Abortion, Part II

A post on Power Line shows a letter attributed to FDT (it certainly reads like him, so I tend to believe it). It doesn't show on FDT's site, though. Here are a couple of quotes:
A first cousin of this ploy is to associate the lawyer with the views of his client. Now-United States Chief Justice John Roberts addressed this notion during his confirmation hearings. “… [I]t’s a tradition of the American Bar that goes back before the founding of the country that lawyers are not identified with the positions of their clients. The most famous example probably was John Adams, who represented the British soldiers charged in the Boston Massacre.”

Roberts pointed out that Adams was actually vindicating the rule of law. Every person, unpopular or not, is entitled to representation. He further said, “That principle that you don’t identify the lawyer with the particular views of the client or the views that the lawyer advances on behalf of the client, is critical to the fair administration of justice.”

Like Adams, the views of attorney Abe Lincoln would have been a little hard to discern from looking at the positions he took as a lawyer. He represented the big railroad companies and on other occasions represented farmers and small land owners against the railroads.
The practice of law is a business as well as a profession. It’s the way you support your family. And if a client has a legal and ethical right to take a position, then you may appropriately represent him as long as he does not lie or otherwise conduct himself improperly while you are representing him. In almost 30 years of practicing law I must have had hundreds of clients and thousands of conversations about legal matters. Like any good lawyer, I would always try to give my best, objective, and professional opinion on any legal question presented to me.
Read the full article. It is very well written and it actually makes sense.

FDT and Abortion

Speaking of sharks...they don't always have to smell blood. The "Main Stream Media", in concert with the Dems, have been working on how to destroy a Thompson candidacy for about the last month. It is clear that both groups are quite afraid of FDT. This is probably the best evidence to date confirming that FDT is "electable". The main attackers right now seem to be the LA Times, Boston Globe and the AP--at least those are the ones that I am finding.

The most recent stuff has to do with the LA Times story regarding the possibility that FDT did some lobbying for a group supporting abortion rights (and therefore, FDT must be for abortion--logic isn't their strong suit). There was a bit of a dust-up regarding the accuracy of the reporting on the web side of the report. They changed their online version of the story, etc. Hot Air has a good explanation of what happened with links to, more or less, original sources on the subject.

But let's cut through the clutter. Let's assume that it is true--that FDT took on a lobbying gig for an outfit that wanted relaxed rules on the discussion of abortion at clinics that received federal money. Does this mean that FDT supports, or even supported at the time, abortion rights? Does this mean that FDT did not consistently vote for pro life positions when he was a Senator? Of course the answer is "no".

The good news for Fred Heads is that the MSM and the Dems deem FDT worthy of attack and are willing to go to the edge of integrity to make those attacks. It will not be an easy fight, but we have a candidate that can do it.

The Sharks Circle McCain

The NY Times is piling onto McCain. I am guessing that the activity that McCain was involved in has been done hundreds of times, but due to his situation is now a story. I don't rejoice in this for several reasons: first, there is nothing sinister going on here--no influence peddling, no arm twisting, nothing that looks ugly; second, it is a return of the "politics of destruction". The NYT sees blood in the water and are coming to enjoy the feeding. If anything here is ugly, it is the story rather than the behavior.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Where's Fred?

Been looking for Fred? He has been in Florida apparently on a short 4th of July vacation. He did make a stop in his "testing the waters" tour. Another sign of an imminent announcement:
He said the informal dinner was "testing the waters" and he plans to announce "in the not too distant future" whether he'll run for president.

The Attacks Roll On

As I read on one blog, "Fred Thompson must have someone scared." The attacks are coming fast and furious. Two attacks have come out in the last couple of days. The first came from the AP's Liz Sidoti basically saying that FDT is a stuffed suit with no ideas. Have you noticed that if the left feels threatened by a given Republican that they become lazy and idiots?

The second came from the Boston Globe that breaks the news that FDT let the Nixon administration know the day before he asked the question about the taping system that they knew. This, of course, was admitted by FDT in 1975! So this is not exactly "breaking news". Additionally I'm not sure that anyone cares.

Remember Fred's response on other attacks. They apply here as well.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

FDT Tied With Clinton

A new Rasmussen Reports poll puts FDT and Clinton tied at 45% each. In mid-June, FDT was behind by 5 point, so this is a very good trend. Romney is still behind 46-42 to Clinton, but that is also a 5 point close in the gap.

FDT/Powell Ticket

Craig Hammond of the Huntington News is floating the idea of Colin Powell being the running mate for FDT.

First, we are jumping the gun in a big way here. Let's get into the race before we assume winning the nomination. Second, this columnist states that he is a conservative. Yet his pick for a running mate is a moderate, at best. I'm not particularly impressed with Powell's time in the State Department either. You have to make your VP choice based on the assumption that he may have to take over as President--so you better like that person's politics as well as the President's!

It is nice, though, to think that FDT's nomination is inevitable. His analysis of McCain is interesting as well.

Move Toward FDT Announcing

Apparently FDT's "Fred Thompson Report" is no longer active. The report at ABC Radio Networks not has the following description on their website (note the tense):
The Fred Thompson Report contained the commentaries and opinions of Fred Dalton Thompson. Mr. Thompson is a former Republican senator from Tennessee, and former ABC News Radio contributor.

Fred Thompson's commentaries included his views on domestic issues ("Tax Cuts for Kids," "Common Sense on Capital Punishment," "Bringing Medical Records into the 21st Century," "The Immigration Bill: Comprehensive or Incomprehensible?") as well as his perspective on international politics ("The Darfur Genocide and Global Warming," "The Castro/Chavez Axis," "Tolerating Trafficking," "The Queen and Free Speech").
It sounds like an announcement is probably imminent.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Terrorism, Socialized Medicine and Immigration

You may think this is a stretch. As has become well known, the terrorists in the U.K. were recruited from the medical community, apparently by al Qaeda. But why were they there? CBS News reports on the recruiting of these terrorists:

Sources tell CBS News that al-Muhajir recruited the men between 2004 and 2005, while they were living in the Middle East, upon orders from then-al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Al-Muhajir was told to recruit young men who could easily move into Western countries, assimilate and lay low until the time came to attack. Britain has a fast-track visa program for medical students which makes it easier for them to enter the country.
This brings us to Socialized Medicine and Immigration. Remember about a week ago, FDT was talking about those who want the U.S. to emulate Canada or England in their health care system--aka socialized medicine.

Here is my leap in logic: The U.K. has socialized medicine that produces long waits due to a lack of service providers. So much so that they are fast tracking immigrants from the middle east to be their doctors. This makes it easy for al Qaeda to recruit terrorists that can easily immigrate into the target country. This is one reason why first, our health care system AND our immigration policy are national security issues.

UPDATE: The New York Sun's Daniel Johnson has an article with more research that comes to the same conclusion. The interesting aspect is that about 40% of their doctors are foreign trained, because the National Health Service can get them for less money.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

FDT On Scooter Libby

FDT is well-known to be a supporter of the Scooter Libby defense fund. I found a quote on MSNBC's "First Read" regarding FDT's response to Bush's commute of Libby's sentence.
Likely presidential candidate Fred Thompson (R) released this statement: "I am very happy for Scooter Libby. I know that this is a great relief to him, his wife and children. While for a long time I have urged a pardon for Scooter, I respect the President's decision. This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life."

New Polls and McCain

FDT kept his support level in the latest Rasmussen poll. He stayed at 27% while Giuliani rose one point to 24%. This is the first time recently that the poll has been fairly constant.

In a separate poll by Survey USA has FDT tied for second in California with McCain behind Giuliani (32-19-19). This is about where he was earlier.

What is unclear is what will happen if (when) McCain drops out. There are several articles circulating about the state of McCain's campaign. National Review talks about his being very low on money. Hot Air talks about how the Immigration issue is hurting him and how he is having to lay off staff. There are even rumors that his exit is imminent.

I'm not sure I agree with the idea that he will leave soon, but I think it is just a matter of time. That time may be next February, but I doubt it will be later. Will McCain's support move to FDT or to Giuliani or will it divide? My prediction is that McCain will get out and throw his support behind FDT.

Monday, July 2, 2007

More Conventional Wisdom

Mark Willen of Kiplinger Forecasts has written an article about Fred Thompson basically saying that he will be the immediate front runner when he announces his candidacy, but that he will fade after announcing. His reasons show that he has been reading the New York Times and not listening to FDT.

1. The NYT lobbying story mentioned in a previous post
2. He is not a conservative ideologue as evidenced by abortion, campaign finance reform and the Clinton impeachment.
3. He is not an outsider.
4. His legislative record is weak (in that he has little legislation in his name).
5. He is too lazy to work the long hours necessary for a campaign
6. He will have to get specific on policies which will alienate some
7. His lack of organization and funds
8. Newt in the wings

I've already talked about #1, 2, 3 and 8. FDT argues that his legislative record is weak because he was more concerned with reducing legislation. In other words, it is not important. I don't think that Mrs. Clinton or Obama has much of a record there either. His laziness is much over reported. After all, he has been managing to hold down an acting job while at the same time filling in for Paul Harvey and doing his own radio commentaries. One quote that I heard attributed to him was that he should get into the campaign so that his time commitments would be reduced. I think everyone will be surprised about how quickly FDT raises funds and gets organized. Much of the RNC money and talent has been sitting on the sidelines waiting to figure out where to go.

The only point that I agree with Mark Willen is that once he starts articulating policies, it will alienate some. It can't be helped. On the other hand, no one else in the campaign (Republican or Democrat) have particularly articulated anything. If you asked ten people what Hillary would do about the economy and taxes, you would get some generalities ("tax the rich"), but no one would know HOW she would propose to do so or what she means by "rich".

Mark Willen misses other things that work toward FDT's benefit. There are many who have not heard enough yet about FDT to support him yet, so in some areas he will gain support. He also will benefit as his comparative polls against Hillary and Obama improve--that is he will appear more electable and will then get votes from Giuliani. As the season goes on, candidates will drop out and FDT stands to gain the most when some of the candidates drop out (e.g. McCain).

The NYT Looking to Get FDT

Elephant Biz has posted a comment on a NY Times article discussing FDT's son FDT Jr. Basically the NYT is trying to dig some dirt on FDT and they are heading down the lobbying path. The knock here is that FDT Jr. became a lobbyist based on the fact that his dad was a senator. But, as much as they would seem to like there to be a problem, they could not find anywhere where FDT Jr. lobbied his dad or where anything even smelling a bit off could be found.

The NYT did, however, let their biases show.
In the folksy drawl that built him a lucrative sideline as a screen actor, Mr. Thompson is presenting himself as a reform-minded outsider taking on Washington, just as he did when he campaigned for the Senate as “Ol’ Fred” the “real live country lawyer,” and cruised Tennessee in a rented red pickup truck.
You can see where they are going. But as I posted yesterday in the Q&A video clip from his South Carolina, FDT is NOT presenting himself as an outsider. He is, however, presenting himself as reform-minded and taking on Washington. But the real idea here is to try to show that FDT is disingenuous.
As money pouring into lobbying firms has soared in recent years, many lawmakers have watched family members get into the business. But ethics experts say the case is all the more striking when the relatives, like Tony and Daniel Thompson, have scant qualifications other than their family ties. And the elder Mr. Thompson was one of the Senate’s most outspoken advocates of tighter ethics and campaign finance rules.
So, since they could not find any actual wrongdoing the NYT is saying it appears bad and FDT wanted tighter ethics rules, so his children should not be lobbying. Huh?

The section that really bothers me, however, deals with FDT's positions regarding the MPAA and personal injury lawsuits.
As an actor, for example, Senator Thompson was a natural champion for the Motion Picture Association of America on subjects like copyright protection and obscenity regulation. As a former trial lawyer, he was sometimes one of the few Republicans to oppose limits on personal injury suits and lawyers fees. And as a former lobbyist for certain cable television concerns, it may have been natural that Mr. Thompson supported the cable television industry’s goals in a regulatory overhaul of the telecommunications industry.
They want to imply that his positions are driven by the fact that he is an actor and a trial lawyer. I am not sure what positions they are referring to regarding the MPAA, but the trial lawyer material is well documented. The part that is misleading is that the NYT would like for you to believe that he has this huge track record of supporting trial lawyers. But the reality is that what is at issue are two votes as described in the linked file. My guess is that when you look at whatever the NYT is insinuating on these votes that you will find FDT's concept of Federalism at the core of his vote.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Fred's SC Comments

I have looked at the videos from FDT's visit to the South Carolina GOP from last week. While the portion of the speech that made the news was his single comment about illegal immigrants from Cuba, the entire speech should be viewed by as many as possible. I am sure that as the campaign goes on that people will see the Fred Thompson that I see in this speech and will be drawn to his candor and straightforward approach to very important issues.

Here are the links to the video:

FDT at SCGOP Part 1
FDT at SCGOP Part 2
FDT at SCGOP Part 3

Now a bit of a review on what you will find on these links:

In Part 1 FDT talks about what I would think the Dems would really focus on regarding Fred--his support of the general War on Terrorism. He is unashamed in his support of the War. He does not necessarily come down in support or opposition to specific approaches, but rather he is emphatic on the need for the U.S. being strong in this issue. He is supportive of waiting to hear from Petraus and is optimistic about the results that will be reported. FDT is highly critical of the weakness that was shown during the Clinton administration--though he is careful not to name him. He has a belief that terrorists' ultimate target is the U.S. and that they start with other countries first. In this topic, FDT is probably out of step with many in the U.S. (though he is right), but he makes a stronger case than what we have seen Bush make for the efforts.

Part 2 has the quote that has been talked about regarding Cuban immigration. The larger context in this section is talking about the problems with immigration. He points out that the government is not particularly efficient in what it has to do now with immigration and the Senate proposal would have made things much worse. He wants to focus on securing the border and doing things that will strengthen the country. In this area, FDT is in line with the thinking of well over 60% of the U.S.

He continues by talking about the growth in government bureaucracy. He moves onto the tax rates. He points out that the lower tax rates have benefited the economic growth of the economy and thereby increases tax revenues. He points out that the Democrats are targeting these tax cuts which will be detrimental to the economy of the U.S.

Part 3 continues the discussion on runaway spending within the government. He mentions the need for Social Security reform within this context. He mentioned that the results of the 2006 election had less to do with opposition to the war than it had to do with corruption and spending, where the Republicans had problems.

He concludes with a discussion of "what do you believe in" because there will always be issues that come up in a Presidency that were not discussed in the election. FDT points to the founding documents and ideals of the U.S.--the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the concept of Federalism, the separation of powers. These are aspects that make us the greatest nation in the world.

In the Q&A section he answers questions that have been brought up in the media over the last few weeks: abortion record, the length of the election cycle, the idea of whether or not he is an "insider", some discussion (hard to hear) about campaign finance reform.

As you can tell, he covered quite a bit of territory in this speech. It was a very good speech. He communicated clearly. He brings out his conservative (and maybe "populist") beliefs. More importantly he doesn't just make his opinions known, but makes the case for them.

Take the time to take a look at these clips. You will be glad you did.

More Newt

Robert Novak is providing more information on the thinking of Newt regarding getting into the Presidential race. The essence is that if FDT runs an effective campaign then he will stay out of the race.

This sounds like a sound strategy to me. It also indicates what Newt's real thinking on FDT is (as compared to the previously mentioned article).

In his next section, Novak mentions that FDT seemed to be unprepared for being asked about the fair tax. Interesting that this would throw him for a loop. Once again, there was no mention about what his actual answers were. That would have been nice.

Newt on FDT

Drudge Report has the title of the article "Gringrich disses Fred Thompson...", but the article is from the Washington Post and called Ever the Speaker. It only has a couple of paragraphs on FDT as follows:
As for former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, expected to announce a run for the presidency this week, "I think he becomes the establishment alternative," Gingrich says. "I've been fond of Fred ever since 'The Hunt for Red October.' I think he was totally convincing as an admiral."

What about Thompson's reputation for being the opposite of a workaholic? "I don't think it's a matter of working all that hard and being all that intense if he can put together a fairly bold, Sarkozy-like program," Gingrich says, referring to the just-elected center-right president of France. "Fred is not Ronald Reagan, but he could be Dwight Eisenhower." But could he have organized D-Day? "No," Gingrich chuckles, "but Eisenhower couldn't have been in 'The Hunt for Red October.'"

I'm not sure that I agree with Drudge's analysis of what Newt is saying here. Though Newt is not heaping great amounts of praise on FDT, I don't read it as dissing him.

The most important comment is the one that Newt talks about FDT needing to put together a fairly bold, "Sarkozy-like program". I agree. At some point (i.e. after his formal entry into the race) FDT will start presenting his actual program. To this point FDT has been doing a good job layout out what his principles are--next is what those principles translate to regarding policy.