Who Is Fred Thompson?
Published By: All Right Magazine on July 1, 2007
By FAIRFIELD PINPOINT
The former Senator undoubtedly looks the part, but as
everyone knows, looks can be deceiving.
In the post-Clinton and post-9/11 eras, we must be very careful to
choose substance over style. Can this
man, who was typecast so often as a politician or military officer, truly lead
our nation in these consequential times?
There is no question about his commanding screen presence, and the media
would surely prefer his polished oratory to the fumbling, knotted-tongued,
delivery of the current President. His
meteoric rise in the polls is reason enough to suggest that he is a viable
candidate, especially as John McCain’s support of the immigration debacle has
caused him to sink more quickly than Captain Edward John Smith at the helm of
the Titanic. That aside, however, is
Thompson the conservative Moses that some claim him to be, capable of leading
the nation to safety by parting the liberal waves of 2006?
Order and Die Hard images are
attractive, the only true source that exists for evaluating Thompson is his
Senate record. As with all politicians,
Thompson must be treated with suspicion, and his actual past votes are the best
way to predict his future behavior in high office. Below is a breakdown of Thompson’s critical
votes in the late 1990s and early 2000s:
Voted YES on sending U.S. forces
Voted YES on the Patriot Act.
Voted YES on authorizing force in Kosovo.
Voted YES on military base closings.
Voted YES on restoring attempted military project cuts under
Voted YES on cutting nuclear weapons levels.
Voted NO on banning chemical weapons.
Voted YES on allowing more foreign agricultural workers
into the country.
Voted YES on limiting welfare for immigrants.
Culture and Heritage:
Voted YES to support the Pledge of Allegiance.
Voted YES on flag-burning amendment.
Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage.
Voted NO on cutting off federal money for contracts
awarded based on affirmative action.
Voted NO on raising the minimum wage.
Voted YES on welfare reform.
Voted YES on Internet sales tax moratorium.
Voted YES on eliminating the marriage penalty tax.
Voted YES on reducing spending to protect Social Security.
Voted YES on bankruptcy reform.
Voted NO on ending special funding businesses owned by
women and minorities.
Voted YES on drilling in ANWR.
Voted NO on sending $17.9 billion to the International
Voted YES on capping foreign aid.
Voted YES on “bipartisan campaign reform” of 2002
Voted YES on McCain-Feingold.
Voted YES on the line-item veto.
Voted YES on No Child Left Behind.
Voted NO on increasing tax deductions for college
Voted YES on educational savings accounts.
Voted YES on abstinence education.
Voted YES on school vouchers in the nation’s capital.
Voted NO on allowing tax–deductible medical savings
Voted YES on prescription drug benefits under Medicare.
Voted NO on allowing consumers to sue HMOs.
Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortion.
Voted YES on banning human cloning.
Voted YES to increase drug trafficking penalties.
Voted YES on limiting death penalty appeals in state court
Voted NO on background checks at gun shows.
The Clinton Impeachment:
Voted NO on the count of perjury.
Voted YES on the count of obstruction of justice.
Overall the record is fairly consistent with what one
would expect from a man who owed his job to a Tennessee
constituency. He is pro-gun and
anti-abortion, much to the chagrin of Rudi Giuliani or Mitt Romney. On the other hand, his record seems to agree
with the increasingly unpopular McCain on campaign finance reform. One major bright spot is his support of the
line-item veto from the Gingrich Revolution, but one major caveat was his
unwillingness to acknowledge perjury in the Clinton
impeachment, which was a case of perpetual perjury from start to ignominious
finish. Ontheissues.org rates him as a
moderate populist conservative, which is a valid assessment, though he may be
slightly more conservative than that description suggests.
In any event, Thompson appears to be positioning himself
as the conservative alternative to the broadly popular Rudi Giuliani. But beware.
Deep-sixing Rudi for the image of D.A. Arthur Branch could might not be
the best idea. Thompson’s personal life
is not as squeaky-clean as Mitt Romney’s, which is no advantage against Rudi
Giuliani. He hangs his hat in Tennessee, but his
ex’s are not just in that state alone.
The former senator is on his second marriage and has had high profile
celebrity girlfriends such as Lorrie Morgan, though she at least still speaks
highly of him.
The one thing that might put him over the top is a
socially conservative base that simply may not be able to cast ballots for the
former mayor of New York when the
vote is actually on the line. On the
10-point scale of conservative satisfaction, Thompson rates about an 8. Giuliani probably rates somewhere in the
neighborhood of a 6.5. However, if
the climate for Republicans in 2008 is
anything like the atmosphere of 2006, don’t expect the Exodus to be led by Fred
Thompson. It could be Guiliani’s year
with or without the rock-solid conservative credentials.