Tommy, Can You Rule Me?


Tommy Thompson has tossed his hat in the 2008 ring. Finally, a Republican governor with a solid record of free market reforms, an unquestionable sturdiness at the wheel, a… what's this?

Issues, such as health care, along with his appeal as a Midwesterner, make him a potentially viable candidate, Thompson said.

As Health and Human Services Secretary, Thompson played a role in drafting legislation that expanded health benefits for seniors. He said that could form the basis for a presidential campaign.

Those are his issues? Medicare Part D and geography? Wow; even the formerly useful Republicans are turning to mush.

Back in 2005, Michael Cannon caught Thompson singing a different tune about his record on health care.

NEXT: Political Cliches Are Dead in the Water

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  1. Former governor? I’d say he instantly becomes the front-runner for president, unless Cheney or Gore decides to run. 48 years is a pretty long trend when it comes to only vice-presidents and governors being elected president. Senators and mayors? Not so well.

  2. Maybe his brother Ed will run against him.

  3. What a hoot it would be if the Libertarian Party ran Tommy’s brother Ed Thompson for President.

    Since I’ll never get the (less) government I want, at least I can be entertained by the politics.

  4. wait a minnit, that’s a who reference, not south park!

    yawn. one more liberal republican tool.

  5. So my choices are Thompson, McCain, Romney or Rudy?


  6. Ed Thompson would be a convert-winning Presidential candidate for the LP — he’s a likeable guy who communicates libertarian ideas in a way that makes sense to plain folks. But I don’t think that even his many fans in Wisconsin would see him as ready for the Presidency. He might, however be seen as ready for the state legislature or US congress, or another run at governor, and I would certainly hope that the LP would put as many resources behind any such run that Ed could be persuaded to make.

  7. I would certainly hope that the LP would put as many resources behind any such run that Ed could be persuaded to make.

    If the run would be for governor again, I would certainly hope not. That is an unwinnable race. Now, for state legislature, go balls out.

  8. Thompson??? Christ, not another horseshit, blue balls, Bush Republican!
    Then again it proves my theory or whatever, and that is we need a new party and a second revolution/Civil War to restore our rights.
    How is this for a second party,
    Constitutional Republican party or
    Libertarian Republican party?
    Its a start and we have to start somewhere.

  9. Heh… Oh it’s going to be fun when the Dems start digging into Tommy’s personal life: The man is a noted lush, that it’s been heavily speculated that Tommy enjoys the naked company of women OTHER than his wife.

    Not that I mind drunkenness and adultery. I’m just wondering how God’s Own Party is going to dance around the issues when they come up… and they WILL come up.

  10. About Ed Thompson and other high-profile LP candidates who show great potential: (well, great potential by LP standards, anyway)

    Why do they always run for federal or state-wide office? If they ran for state legislature some of them could win. I’m thinking of Badnarik who raised $400k for an unwinnable Congressional race and didn’t even spend it terribly well, Ed Thompson who had name recognition and a running mate who had held office as a Dem (i.e. the support of a winning major party candidate), Judge Jim Gray of Orange County (a sitting judge!), and Carla Howell of MA who managed to get 45% support for a ballot measure repealing the income tax in MA of all places!

    Kudos to them for the campaigns that they ran, but if their talents and reputations had been leveraged on state legislative races the LP would be bragging about holding state legislative seats rather than losing by unexpectedly narrow margins.

    In the case of Gray, I guess I can see why he’d be reluctant to abandon his judicial post for state legislative office (it’s arguably a lateral career step rather than a step up), but even then, he could have run for House instead of Senate, and leveraged his local reputation.

    I just don’t get it why the people with the most potential consistently over-reach. Ambition can be a good thing (nobody ever achieved great success by setting his sights too low) but there’s much to be said for doing it one step at a time.

    Oh, well. I know it’s a tangent, but since Ed Thompson came up, I had to vent this.

  11. I actually had a chance to hear Thompson speak a few months ago and was absolutely blown away by how many liberal health care myths he believed. He did not advocate a single free market health care reform and had zero to add to the health care debate. I was also amazed at how little he had learned while, as he said, in charge of a budget larger than most countries’ GDP.
    The part he said about going outside of HHS headquarters and taking cigarettes out of staff members mouths was particularly disturbing (and incredibly paternalistic).

  12. Heh. Dr. T and I are going to reshape the LP’s priorities…

  13. Even though she denies wanting to run, Condi Rice has quite a few avid supporters in Republican quarters. The idea of a foreign policy wonk as president is quite appealing to many Republicans and she might break that 48 year string. After all, W broke a much longer string of non-sons-of-presidents being elected President.

  14. Sen. Chuck Hegel (R-Nebraska) would be a good man for us- a fiscal conservative (sporting a voting record to prove it) with a cautious attitude toward foreign interventionism.

  15. “45% support for a ballot measure repealing the income tax in MA of all places!”

    Speaking of over-reach, I couldn’t help thinking at the time that there must’ve been a less ambitious measure (maybe a 50% cut) which would’ve squeezed out the add’l 5% it would’ve needed to win. And then, having slipped halfway down the slope, they’d’ve been in striking distance of getting it repealed entirely.

  16. Exactly, Robert.

    Running your best people for high office works when you have a chance at high office. When you don’t have a chance at high office, run your best people for winnable offices and run your placeholders for high office.

    As far as thread-jacking, since Tommy Thompson has exactly zero chance at the White House I see nothing wrong with talking about the LP in this thread, since they also have a zero percent chance of winning.

  17. a potentially viable candidate

    Huh? I always thought the race was between him and Ashcroft as to who had the greater “deer in the headlights” look on 9/11.

  18. If Ed is hell-bent on a state position, why not try Auditor General, Treasurer or some lower office where a couple hundy thousand would really make a difference?

  19. thoreau PhD:

    …since Tommy Thompson has exactly zero chance at the White House…

    Why do you think that? Just curious…

  20. Ed Thompson facts:

    His run for Gov. was not his first try for office. He was the mayor of Tomah, WI, after all. The reason he ran for the top job was because his main issue, the state’s gaming monopoly, which was turned into Indian gaming by a federal judge, was salient to him and his supporters outside the LP. The WI Gov. negotiates gaming compacts with the tribes, without any input or confirmation by the state legislature. Then (Acting) Gov. McCallum was anti-gambling, while AG Doyle pretended to be against the expansion of tribal casinos. Once in office, flush with donations from tribe members, he negotiated extremely generous new pacts. If ET had taken a seat in the Assembly or State Senate, he would have had zero power or influence over the issue. It took a court ruling to get Doyle to rewrite the compacts to include time limits.

    Thompson had led the fight to allow taverns and restaurants to install and run video poker, so they would have half a chance to compete with similar operations attached to casinos. Note that his libertarian impulse wasn’t to close down the casinos, but to open them up to competition. And ET did not run as a single issue candidate, but beat the drum for a wide range of libertarian ideas.

    Unfortunately, Ed has drifted into 9/11 Moonbattery. That might make him a tough sell for another state-wide run, let alone a national one.

    As for brother Tommy, aside from championing good ideas such as school choice and workfare, he’s become a prototypical “big government conservative.”


    (Behind the Cheddar Curtain)

  21. thoreau, Robert Goodman: I couldn’t agree with you more about LP candidates needing to set their sights on winnable races. Apparently the Indiana LP is adopting this strategy wholeheartedly. See this post by State Chair Mark Rutherford titled “Quit Trying to Become CEO without First Getting Experience in the Mail Room.”

    As for Ed Thompson drifting into 9/11 Moonbattery: for the love of Zeus, I’m so sick of kooks being the public face of the LP. I’m convinced that the only solution is for normal folks to get involved with the state chapters and subdue the nutbars. For every nutbar who is subdued, it will probably bring 10 small-L libertarians into the party.

  22. So my choices are Thompson, McCain, Romney or Rudy? -TPG

    Or Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Feingold. Feel better now?

  23. As far as state income taxes, I tend to think the slope slips the other way. Mere cuts often are reversed and become raises. While I agree with the political chances, I think the repeal/elimination effort was the proper route.

  24. Feingold’s out, bigbigslacker.

    But Bayh and Richardson are likely.

  25. For every nutbar who is subdued, it will probably bring 10 small-L libertarians into the party.

    You know, if those of us with more, well, sane viewpoints who are libertarians would abandon the major parties or independent status and actually join the LP, we might be able to make it a quasi-rational alternative. The ratio of non-LP libertarians to Libertarians has got to be quite high. Marginalizing the wackos would be a piece of cake if enough normal people joined.

  26. So my choices are Thompson, McCain, Romney or Rudy?

    Duncant Hunter…don’t forget him…

    that should help.

  27. Thoreau said, “As far as thread-jacking, since Tommy Thompson has exactly zero chance at the White House I see nothing wrong with talking about the LP in this thread, since they also have a zero percent chance of winning.”

    Interestingly enough, Ed’s “A Little Common Sense” radio program for November 6th announced his 2nd run for governor, with the punchline that it didn’t matter at all that he was announcing the day before the election: he had as good a chance of winning this time as last time he ran for the office. Whaddya know: common sense AND a senseahumor! Seems to me that Mr. Ed is pretty well grounded.

    Regarding his alleged “moonbattery”: You people want to be mainstream so bad it hurts to watch. Adequacy issues, much? Anything that steps outside what you have declared “the norm” — a blue complexion, mere open-mindedness to 9/11 “inside job” allegations, taking the lemon of being called “the cleavage candidate” and turning it into a publicity wedge to get airtime to discuss a much more serious platform, etc. — and the knives come out. Look how well the “suit and tie” candidates have done — not very.

    If you want to be part of a big crowd of “winners,” the Demos and GOP are waiting for you. If you want to fight for liberty, you have various options, improving the LP with your ideas and effort among them. What makes NO SENSE to me is the continual and frequently uninformed, shallow carping I read in these threads. Those who do this waste their own time and squander this blog as an opportunity to explore ideas and make connections that might actually move the cause of liberty — including the Libertarian Party — forward.

    Terminally hip makes you a wannabe Pynchon. Fine if that works for you, but see Gillespie’s entry concerning that writer’s new novel, and take a lesson. Continuous carping, slicing, and dicing at people who are out there trying to make a difference, just so you can score “hip” points in a blog thread, is not going to help anyone be more free, but if that is not the underlying theme of Reason, then why the hell is it here — certainly not to sell copies, by all circulation reports I’ve ever seen.

  28. “As far as state income taxes, I tend to think the slope slips the other way. Mere cuts often are reversed and become raises. While I agree with the political chances, I think the repeal/elimination effort was the proper route.”

    Obviously it was not the proper route — it lost! And apparently no momentum was developed, because no further effort in that direction was made.

    Of course the slope slips both ways — all slippery slopes do. (The metaphor isn’t so good, because there’s never actually a direction to “gravity”.) You saying a tax once repealed can’t be re-enacted? Nothing is permanent, so don’t imply that something is.

  29. Mr. Thompson supported efforts by The american Society Of Interventional Pain specialists to insure that many invasive injection procedures for chronic pain got re-imbursed.

    As a Lifetime member of that society-I have no problem with this position, in general.

    However, as a proponent of moderate to high dose opioid treatment for REFRACTORY neck and back pain-I question the motives of many pain specialists, a good number of whom are also members of this society [ ASIPS ], who insist on repeating and repeating injections when there is little or no likelihood that they will effect long term cure or improvement in chronic pain states.

    I thought that as a group of Libertarians that you might be interested in this – as their motives often times conflict with affording patients the opportunity to receive these medications-and even more importantly- their right to obtain accurate medical advice on this issue.

    The society has, in an unfettered manner, supported the passing of NASPER, on the assumption that they don’t want patients to obtain multiple prescriptions. I agree with that in principle–but the question then becomes; do they want anyone to have access to opioids?

    Perhaps you should start reading a little more between the lines.

    Physicians are as responsible for letting their colleagues get burned at the witches bonfire almost to the same degree as federal and state prosecutors–but then, I’ve mentioned this to you before and you don’t seem interested-despite the magazines lip service to the contrary.


    william Mangino II, M.D.

  30. I’m tantalized by what was raised above by Dr. Mangino, but missing the background; looks like a letter taken out of context. What’s NASPER? What types of injections are these?

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