Q&A Friday #61: What Do You Think Of Fred Thompson?

Question: “I would like your take on Ex Senator Fred Thompson as a conservative and a possible Presidential candidate. I am curious as to what you think would be the reaction of the GOP Base and moderate electorate should he decide to enter the race. I would also like to hear your opinion on getting into the race after the current mad rush in general. I realize you may feel this would violate your vow to refrain from speaking on current candidates, but since he is not officially in the race at this point, I was wondering if you would comment. Thanks,” — blkbskt

“What are your thoughts on Fred Thompson running for president? If he is eventually going to run, should he get in now, or wait a little bit longer? Do you think that his candidacy would suck so many supporters from another candidate that he would have to drop off? Who would make the perfect VP for him (*cough* Dr. Rice *cough*)?” — jasamc

Answer: I can’t answer this question without hitting on one of my pet peeves — which makes me a bit biased against Thompson — that being the conservative reaction to Republican actors.

Conservatives incessantly complain, with good reason, about Hollywood. They trash actors, they mock the left for sucking up to Hollywood, and then the moment a Republican actor comes along, the right gets goo-goo eyes and acts like starstruck fans.

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That’s exactly what happened with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has governed California from the left-of-center, and it’s exactly what’s going on with Fred Thompson. If Fred Thompson were not an actor, there would not be a single soul on the Republican side calling for him to get in the race.

That being said, the situation is what it is and I don’t want to be unfair to Thompson just because he’s an actor. He does have a decent resume, a career 86% American Conservative Union rating (which is good), and he received 7 As and a B+ from the National Taxpayer’s Union, which again, is very solid.

Still, his illegal immigration record is spotty, he’s a big McCain backer (which makes me nervous), and since he hasn’t gotten the sort of scrutiny that a contender for the presidency would receive yet, I don’t know enough about his background to tell whether there are any glaring problems that could cause problems for him in 2008.

So, could Thompson be the guy? It’s way too early to say, but I will at least give him credit for having better conservative credentials than McCain, Romney, or Giuliani.

PS: I know Ronald Reagan was an actor, but conservatives didn’t love him because he was an actor, they loved him because he was a great conservative leader.

Note: I consult for the Duncan Hunter campaign through TCV Media.

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