Fred '08: Because Cheney's Not Available


Marc Ambinder reports that a central figure in the U.S. Attorneys scandal has found a new perch:

J. Timothy Griffin, the former RNC research whiz and Army JAG prosecutor who served, briefly, as a U.S. Attorney in the second district in Arkansas.

Griffin, you'll no doubt recall, was selected with White House input to replace prosecutor Bud Cummins in AR when Griffin returned from serving a tour of duty in Iraq.

Griffin is advising Thompson on communications and message and will probably be a consultant to Thompson's presidential campaign.

When you add to this Thompson's membership in the Libby Legal Defense Trust, you've got a theme: Thompson is the Third Bush Term candidate. Like reason pointed out in our candidate scouting report, Thompson basically agrees with the big ideas of the Bush term and eloquently defends the stupid ideas. He's polling around 15 points, which is pretty good already, but based on the conversations I've had with Republican voters I think the ceiling is much, much higher. Dozens of them said they still had faith in Bush but wished he was a "stronger leader." McCain's the candidate who represents a break from Bushism (it gets less simple when you talk about Iraq) and, no surprise, he's slipping to third in the polls.

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  1. “McCain’s the candidate who represents a break from Bushism (it gets less simple when you talk about Iraq)”

    …and immigration. Which are really the 2 biggest political issues out there in this primary.

  2. …and immigration.

    Ah, good point. McCain represents the Bush position there while Thompson and Romney (and to a lesser extent Rudy) have made that their only serious break with Bush.

  3. You know, as much as I disagree with the Administration’s position on many issues, it’s as much their way of doing business as anything that rubs me the wrong way. We could still be in Iraq, and I would feel much better about it (even with the failure to stabilize things there) if someone less inept and willing to circumvent all the rules were in office. Which is a roundabout way of saying that the big problem with Bush really isn’t the war, it’s him. And many of his appointees.

    That said, I’m still voting for Ron Paul unless Thompson gives me a few million to shut up. Yep, my all-powerful Florida vote is for sale 🙂

  4. I think about this often. This is just a hypothetical. If one President creates hell on earth for a group of people in the name of something, say “The War on Terror”, and because of his failure and stupidity he gets removed from office. Does the successor President have a moral duty to those people to make things right?

  5. Carl,

    If the president created the catastrophe in the exercise of his duties, then the United States of America as a whole is “liable” for them, and the next president has the duty to make the victims whole.

    Did the new CEO of ValueJet have a responsibility to pay the victims of the crash that happened under his predecessor? Yup.

  6. So we have a moral obligation to install a bloody fisted dictator in Iraq, who can restore order under his hobnailed boot?

  7. I don’t think that would qualify as “making them whole,” Umbriel.

    The next president has a responsibility to do what he can.

  8. The big difference between ValuJet and the U.S. of A is that a shareholder in Valujet could sell his shares if he thought the company was badly managed, and that Valujet can’t force the shareholders to pay it more money. We U.S. citizens do not have that luxury. Even if we leave the old U.S. of A, we still can be taxed for 10 years. If we renounce our citizenship, then we can never return.

    Incidentally, while Valujet made mistakes, the crash was primarily due to a company called Sabretech which fraudulently represented the oxygen canisters that they were shipping via Valujet had been rendered inoperable. Valujet was grounded when the FAA started going through its maintenance records and finding problems with their QA systems. However, these problems, while serious, did not contribute to the crash. The fire in the cargo bay was so intense that by the time the alarm was given the aircraft was doomed.

  9. That’s a difference, tarran.

    How is it relevant here?

    Do you think it’s inappropriate for the feds to pay the medical bills of a civilian injured when a military jet crashes out of tax dollars?

  10. Good point Tarran, I’ll take it one step further: Fred Thompson is Air Tran. As you may recall, Air Tran took over the Value Jet franchise and is still one of the crappiest airlines in the skies. That’s Fred Thompson: same garbage with a new paint job.

  11. Aw, ScareTran’s not that bad. No worse than Delta or Northworst or any of the other ‘mainstream’ airlines, at least.

    If I had to compare Thompson to a company, it’d be Saturn. Remember when Saturn was ‘a different kind of car company,’ if for no other reason than because they wanted to believe GM could actually build something that wasn’t crap? Seventeen years later, Saturns are now just rebadged versions of cars GM has already been selling in any number of places.

    That’s the vibe I get off Thompson: He’s done a terrific marketing job convincing people that he’s totally different from all those mainstream GOP candidates who have sucked out loud for years, but don’t look too close or you might find he’s actually not the least bit different.

  12. Well, to be fair, Delta and United had to start sucking to be competitive.

  13. I think Saturn and Air Tran are very similar. Both are offshoots of a company making crappy products. Both sought to market their way out of a bad reputation rather than improving the product. This is a great analogy to Fred Thompson because he is the same old crappy product (GWB) marketed with more flair. Same crap, but new and improved!

  14. What kills me about GOP voters is this. Two terms of GWB and we are embroiled in the longest lasting military action war since Vietnam (and it ain’t ending anytime soon), non-military government spending has increased at a higher rate than any other time in history including the New Deal era, civil rights have been trampled and stripped and yet they want MORE!?!?! Did aliens somehow transport brain slugs down and usurp the entire “conservative” population?? WTF happened?

  15. Kwix — He was on television a lot. People recognize him. And so many people actually vote on just that. No one has pointed out the Fred Thompson = GWB thing except here, in anything I’ve read. And soooo many people read Reason posts.

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