Fred Thompson Too Lazy, Listless, and Lame?

Fred Thompson Too Lazy, Listless, and Lame? In yet another sign of trouble for his much-hyped candidacy, longtime Fred Thompson backer Steve Bainbridge is stopping just short of withdrawing his endorsement — but only because he still thinks the other alternatives are even worse.

His first objection is that, while he likes Thompson’s ideas for tax reforms, he doesn’t think they go far enough. Specifically, he likes Thompson’s simplified tax code but thinks the idea of allowing taxpayers to chose between that code and the existing one is burdensome, in that it would essentially require them to figure their taxes both ways.

His chief complaint, however, is with Thompson’s “lackadaisical” campaign style. He cites Michael Medved’s report of a boring interview he conducted with Thompson, wherein the former Senator sounded “disengaged, bored, flaccid and tired.” Medved opines, “Instead of relishing the opportunity to connect with several million listeners, Thompson came across like a guy forced to complete a necessary but onerous chore.”

Which, it seems to me, is a complaint about Thompson himself. Maybe his reputation for being lazy (by presidential aspirant standards, anyway) is deserved? And, if the man is already tired from the rigors of the campaign trail after, oh, six minutes of campaigning, maybe he’s not up for four years as president?

Photo credit: Mother Jones

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, 2008 Election, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    His first objection is that, while he likes Thompson’s ideas for tax reforms, he doesn’t think they go far enough.

    What does he mean by going “far enough”?

    In my book, Freddy’s “reform” plan is insane since he basically wants to raise most people’s taxes.

    Running on a “raise taxes” platform is not going to win him the nomination.

  2. Vince says:

    Before January 1, 2007, a search of the Lexis-Nexis news database found 1 document containing the word “lazy” and Fred Thompson within it- the term was used in a completely different context, and was not describing Fred Thompson. Now, the so-called conventional wisdom that Fred is lazy, unmotivated, doesn’t want to campaign hard, blah blah blah. I am stupified that many conservatives and Republicans have bitten down hard on this media-generated meme that gives no heed to the facts about Fred’s campaign (Gannett News Service ranked the number of Fred’s campaign appearances ahead of Rudy and Romney in November), and thus bears no relation to reality.

  3. Christopher says:


    How is it that he will RAISE people’s taxes? You can pick if you want the old way or the new way. What could be simpler???

    “Thompson wants to abolish the death tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax and cut the corporate income tax rate to 27% from 35%. But his really big idea is a voluntary flat tax that would give every American the option of ditching the current code in favor of filing a simple tax return with two tax rates of 10% and 25%”

    That is why it is a “simple” tax plan. Only liberal extremists have a hard time understanding it.

  4. Triumph says:

    How is it that he will RAISE people’s taxes? You can pick if you want the old way or the new way. What could be simpler???

    sorry, didn’t realize it was voluntary. In that case it’s not so much insane, but just stupid. A scheme like this would cost billions of dollars—particularly since he wants to abolish the alternative minimum tax!

    it looks like he is a big-government conservative in the Bush mold–cut taxes and increase spending. That is a recipe for disaster.

  5. John425 says:

    I’ve donated to Fred’s campaign twice this year and am beginning to wonder if there is a Fred ’08 campaign.

  6. Bithead says:


    If raising taxes is insane, does that mean that you don’t support Charlie Rangel’s plan? You remember, the one the flooded for Hillary Clinton a couple weeks ago?

    That point aside, let’s just say I’m less than convinced that the Thompson campaign is in any degree of trouble at this point. Neither, apparently, is today’s Wall Street Journal:

    Fred Thompson’s Presidential campaign has been struggling, in part because of a sense that he lacks passion and an agenda. But late last week he unveiled a tax reform that is more ambitious than anything we’ve seen so far from the rest of the GOP field.

    It strikes me, that this comment puts Mr. Thompson directly on line with what I had mentioned previously at my place, and here, I think, about him not wanting to keep too early in the campaign. the one it comes to campaigns, Fred Thompson is a come from behind a sort of fellow, and so he feels comfortable there, I think.

    And if you wanna destroy the democrats chances in a really big hurry, simply toss the Thompson proposaland the aforementioned Charlie Rangel /Hillary Clinton proposal up side by side. Tell me the democrats have a snowball’s chance, after something like that. (Given Triumph’s comments, even he’d agree to that, right? )

    Liberals are already objecting that the plan is not “paid for,” by which they mean it doesn’t raise taxes the way they hope the next President will. But Mr. Thompson is right in refusing to play by the “static revenue” scoring game that demands that one dollar in estimated tax cuts be offset by one dollar in estimated tax increases somewhere else. “The experts always overrate the revenue losses from tax cuts,” Mr. Thompson says, and history supports him going back to the Mellon reductions of the 1920s, the Kennedy tax cuts of the 1960s, the Gipper’s in the 1980s, and this decade’s success with President Bush’s reductions.

    Pardon my saying so, but it seems to me that this is precisely the kind of company that Fred Thompson wants to keep, and the names he wants to invoke. This was a natural, guys. What it means, essentially, is yet another come from behind race being won by Mr. Thompson.

    And frustrated Democrats.

  7. Ki says:

    Every candidate proposing tax simplification threatens the rice bowl of the tax counsel and accounting lobby.

    90,000 firms with combined annual revenue of $65 billion, with estimates of %30 of that revenue based on tax return preparation.

    This is why the media’s GOP darlings won’t touch the issue. At all.

    If you really want permanent tax cuts and simplification, I seriously suggest you look at the only candidate with the grass-roots backing to make it happen. You know who.

  8. Christopher says:


    Remember that it was the Dems that voted for the increased spending as well, nearly all of them in fact.

    And it is because of the RE lobby that you have to allow both. They would never allow a flat tax because of the RE interest deduction. So you gotta have both and let people decide.

    Yes, repubs have to do a better job to control spending. But cutting taxes IS the way to raise revenues. The proof is in the pudding. Revenue continues to roll into the treasury like never before. Libs want to raise taxes, and it is NOT AT ALL wise to think that this would not be devastating to the economy.

  9. Christopher says:

    Ki: who? Fred?

  10. floyd says:

    Are you saying you FAVOR the alternative minimum tax, and consider it fair?

  11. Ki says:

    Chris, I like Fred, but I’m talking about the guy that over a thousand people showed up to support outside the youtube/cnn debates.

    Did Fred have a plane up in the air? A boat in the harbor? A hard core rally after the debate? Overwhelming.