That’ll Leave a Mark

I haven’t posted in quite a while, but I will try to do better.

George Will wrote a blistering column today about Fred Thompson which, for me, summed up many of the things I don’t like about Thompson. First on the list is that he’s a protege of John McCain and was involved with that awful campaign finance legislation. Indeed, that seems to be Will’s primary objection as well:

Thompson said he had advocated McCain-Feingold to prevent, among other things, corporations and labor unions from “giving large sums of money to individual politicians.” But corporate and union contributions to individual candidates were outlawed in 1907 and 1947, respectively.

Ingraham asked about McCain-Feingold’s ban on issue ads that mention a candidate close to an election. He blamed an unidentified “they” who “added on” that provision, which he implied was a hitherto undiscussed surprise. But surely he knows that bills containing the ban had been introduced in previous sessions of Congress before passage in 2002.


Thompson, contrary to his current memories, was deeply involved in expanding government restrictions on political speech generally and the ban on issue ads specifically. Yet he told Ingraham, “I voted for all of it,” meaning McCain-Feingold, but said “I don’t support that” provision of it.

Oh? Why, then, did he file his own brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold McCain-Feingold, stressing Congress’s especially “compelling interest” in squelching issue ads that “influence” elections?

Well, I suppose his objection is larger; Thompson seems to have some recollection issues when it comes to things he’s said and done in the past. You really should read the whole thing.

Even apart from his support for McCain-Feingold, Fred Thompson leaves me cold. If it comes down to a choice between him and Hillary, I suppose I’ll choose him, particularly if the House stays under Democratic control. But the Republican I like best these days is Rudy Giuliani, in spite of the amateurish foreign policy piece. He generally radiates competence, which I think we need.

This is a fairly lame post after such a long absence, but I’ll try to do better over the weekend, provided nothing comes up.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Congress, Supreme Court, , , , , , , , , , ,
Robert Prather
About Robert Prather
Robert Prather contributed over 80 posts to OTB between October 2005 and July 2013. He previously blogged at the now defunct Insults Unpunished. Follow him on Twitter @RobPrather.


  1. Patrick T McGuire says:

    Thompson has also stated that in hindsight he doesn’t like how the McCain-Feingold bill has worked, that it didn’t do what he intended it to do. In other words, he expressed some regret for supporting it and would like to see it changed.

    While I am not enamored with McCain-Feingold myself, I don’t find it to be the driving issue in this political season. I like Thompson’s positions on limited government, the Fair Tax, and federalism in general. Federal government has become a monster that is out of control and I think that Thompson is the best man to rein it in.

    I also like that he is his own man. He does things his way rather than follow the “standard” procedures. This is especially true of his campaign style which has been very effective.

  2. Don Jones says:

    I started with a website for Fred before he had his own. I have followed every inch of the way. I have been wondering if it would be his $300 loafers, or what else the pundits would attack first. Well with only one week on the trail the only strings on the guitar plucked are his presentation as a candidate and the old saw, McCain-Feingold.

    As far as the latter goes, that has been around forever and you might as well quit beating that drum as it has not hurt Fred yet.

    As for his presentation I say we get blinking lights and put on George Will’s Bow Tie and let him go out and do better.

    I agree with you on Rudy. He appears to be a fine candidate. One day I saw him return a huge check to a rich Muslim and my American pride puffed. He would be an excellent choice also.

    But Fred’s my man. Come see me and have a chuckle or two. My website is noted as “hilarious”.
    Don Jones

  3. Patrick,

    I agree with his positions on federalism and like that he’s articulated them, but he doesn’t thrill me. Yes, McCain-Feingold is a big motivator in my dislike for him. The Will column really confirmed many things I already thought.

  4. romney facts says:

    The thing that gets me about Fred is his poor communication skills. Seriously.

  5. Agreed on the communication skills. It’s not so much that he can’t communicate, it’s just that the answers are vapid, too often.

  6. Patrick T McGuire says:


    I find it amusing that you like Thompson’s position on federalism but at the same time he doesn’t “thrill” you.

    Personally, I find the fact that he wants to keep the federal government out of my life to be downright orgasmic!

  7. Patrick,

    I’ll try to avoid the potential jokes related to the word “orgasmic”, but Giuliani has said he will appoint justices in the mold of Roberts and Alito and I believe him. He knows he’ll be relying on conservatives for support. That’s enough for me. Fred doesn’t seem to grasp his own positions on the issues, and that bothers me.

  8. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    George Will needs to spend more time talking about the faults of those on the left then those on the right, or we are likely to end up with another criminal Clinton as President. What ever Fred Thompsons faults are, they are minor compared to what the disloyal opposition has to offer. Obama anyone?

  9. Patrick T McGuire says:


    I have to disagree with you on the judges issue. It was Thompson himself that walked Roberts through his confirmation process. He may not have articulated his position the way Guiliani has but I believe there to be no difference between the two candidates on this issue.

    My only problem with Guiliani is his 2nd Ammendment position. He stripped New Yorkers of their right to own a gun. When asked about it, his reply was something to the effect that he wouldn’t apply the same practice to middle America because he knows it won’t work there. Now to my way of thinking that’s saying that there is one law, i.e. Constitution, for New York and another one for the rest of the country.

    Regardless of your position on the 2nd Ammendment, like all other rights guaranteed by the Constitution, it is meant to be applied equally to all persons, not just those living outside of New York City. The fact that an ex-federal prosecutor can’t understand this concept really bothers me.

  10. Don Jones says:

    For an actor and a man with confidence his apparent lack of projecting himself gives me wonderment, however i had that problem at one time and it cured itself in a few days.
    Don Jones

  11. cian says:

    One day I saw him return a huge check to a rich Muslim and my American pride puffed. He would be an excellent choice also.


    Can you clarify the above? Was the giver an American-Muslim, and if so why would your pride puff up at Rudy’s refusal to accept? If not, given Rudy’s well known position on the war on terror, why would a Muslim offering him support upset you?

  12. Don Jones says:

    Nothing sinister or no Muslim hater intended in that remark. I am fuzzy but I had heard a news bite and later got to see, after the twin towers disaster and they were still smoking a Sheik stepped up and handed Rudy a few million dollars in check form and Rudy refused acceptance. Rudy spoke his reasoning but I don’t recall except I thought it very ballsy of him and liked the whole thing very much. Someone out there can help fill in my poor 75 year old memory.

  13. LaurenceB says:

    As I recall, Rudy refused reconstruction money for NYC. Not quite the same as refusing a check made out to his name.

  14. Don Jones says:

    Thank you sir. i also admire Rudy for his clean up of the organized crime as a federal prosecutor and the drop in crime in NYC when he was Mayor.

    I do not know of any major fly’s on him and would vote for him in a heartbeat.

    Living in Tennessee and knowing how natives like Fred have been raised in his time I feel more comfortable with him than a NYC person.

    The rest of the candidates are only warm in my book. All better than the Demo’s.