Benny's World

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Will It Be This Be the Matchup in the 2008 Election?

Last Sunday, I was watching a little of Faux Snooz. Normally it is a snooz, but one of the guests caught my attention. It was an actor from Tennessee and who used to be in the US Senate: Fred Dalton Thompson. He's well known for his role on as Arthur Branch on Law and Order (a show that I like very much, but confess I wait for the reruns) and actually, if one clicks the link to the Wikipedia entry, one can see he's been in a few movies too.

On FNS, Thompson more or less said he was flirting with the idea of a run, and was keeping the door open.

"I'm going to wait and see what happens," Thompson said. "I want to see my colleagues on the campaign trial, what they say, what they emphasize, whether they can carry the ball next November."

"I think people are somewhat disillusioned. A lot of people are cynical out there. They're looking for something different," he said.

Time magazine did a pretty good job of summarizing the segment, so I will post some snips here about his " lightening rod" issues (as Wallace termed it on the show):

—Is "pro-life," and believes federal judges should overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision as "bad law and bad medical science."

—Opposes gay marriage, but would let states decide whether to allow civil unions. "Marriage is between a man and a woman, and judges shouldn't be allowed to change that."

—Opposes gun control, and praised last week's 2-1 federal appeals decision overturning a long-standing handgun ban in Washington, D.C. "The court basically said the Constitution means what it says."

Supports President Bush's decision to increase troops in Iraq. "Wars are full of mistakes. You rectify them. I think we are doing that now," he said. "We've got to give it a chance to work."

—Would pardon former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice now, rather than waiting until all his appeals are exhausted.

Well, I can see why he would say that about Scooter since Thompson raised money for Libby's legal defense. But we all believe Scooter will get pardoned sooner or later. I don't think he deserves the pardon, but reality is reality here.

So why am I paying attention to him more than I am to Newtie, who recently, asked for forgiveness for his indescretions--so far 3 majors and a number of minors--and said so on James Dobson's show not long ago? (Yeah, Newtie focuses on his family. Right.) It's because I think Fred D is right. I don't think the Republican party faithful are going to stick with Rudy, even though he is the media's front-runner at the moment, although I'm not certain they are looking for something different. They are still looking for Ronald Reagan. I also think that Newt cannot compete easily with Fred. Newt is a policy wonk. Fred is too, as he has a consulting contract with AEI, but he talks friendly. Newt is a loose cannon, as someone on Chris Matthews' show said today.

So, while Fred D is not my choice for President, he presents an interesting challenge to Dems running in the primaries next year, if he jumps in. What are the implications of a Fred D run?

  • Obama will not be seen as a heavy hitter against Thompson after Rep Harold Ford's loss in Tennessee for the Senate (not to mention Ford is DLC chairman at present, which is Clinton's and Obama's crowd)
  • No one from the NE or New England can carry off a win against a Southerner with strong and positive name recognition (sadly, it includes Chris Dodd, but I heard this morning he can speak Spanish fluently)
Conclusion: only ones who would be very competitive in the general election would be John Edwards, or possibly Bill Richardson, but I cannot see Richardson pulling it off either.

I think Dems will see that only a Southerner like JRE could possibly win against a Fred D Thompson, no matter how much money Clinton has to buy ads. Good ol' Bill cannot help her either. Biscuits and gravy voters (meaning those who are from red to purple states) are likely to support Edwards, especially if the war in Iraq continues to go badly. Thirty Sooner state legislators hopped on the Edwards train on Friday and are offering ground boots support too. That means he is competitive now not only in Iowa, and NC, but Oklahoma too.

Edwards understands their language, just as Rep Morgan and State Sen Morgan of OK said in their letter on behalf of JRE:

After a thorough review of our many qualified candidates it is clear that Senator Edwards has earned our support. Senator Edwards has the ideas and vision to lead our country and restore America as the moral leader in the world. He will always fight to improve the lives of working Oklahomans and every working American.

Senator Edwards has been a friend to our state and to the causes we hold dear. He has spent more time in Oklahoma than any other announced or potential candidates, and he understands and can effectively communicate with our values-driven, populist electorate. During the 2006 election cycle, he worked tirelessly to support our efforts to elect Democratic majorities in the State House and Senate. He attended fundraisers on behalf of both the House and Senate caucuses, profiled our members on his website, and repeatedly offered his personal time and service when it could be of use for fundraising, candidate recruitment and messaging.

Edwards and Thompson are both lawyers (and Thompson a US Attorney) who have a lot of experience being in front of juries. And Thompson chose to not to run for re-election in 2002, thus only serving two more years than Edwards.

But here's one asset Thompson should consider very carefully that JRE has and he doesn't: Elizabeth Edwards. She's the same woman Edwards been married to for 30 years.

(photo credit Lindsay Beyerstein on Flickr)

Thompson married a second time to a much younger woman.

More l8tr...

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