Fred Thompson

Here's to You, Mr. Robinson

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Peter Robinson is by a great and scenic distance the most entertaining blogger on NR's Corner. Other bloggers use a couple of words to make their points, then move on to play catch with the young'uns or clean the Simpsons episodes off the DVR. Robinson uses twice as many words as he ever needs to, upholstering his posts with phrases that flow like notes off the harp of Heaven's most comely angel. He doesn't even refer to the blog as The Corner: It's "this happy Corner." From a recent post asking Ramesh Ponnuru if Rudy Giuliani's pledge to reduce abortions would win Ponnuru over:

Would it affect your thinking if early on Rudy persuasively hinted—or came right out and stated—that he would name as his running mate a throughgoing pro-lifer? (Michael Medved's recommendation: Bobby Jindal, whose rise in American politics I personally would walk over broken glass to advance.) O Keeper of Principle and Logic, what think?

So Sen. Fred Thompson gifted Robinson with an on-camera interview, and it is beautiful. The marriage of Robinson's heavenly blather and Thompson's tough-guy grunting is nearly worth the 15 minutes of peering into your Google Video screen. Here's how Robinson leads off one question: "Napoleon once said something about if you want to understand a man, you have to know what he was thinking when he was 21."

Here, brilliantly, is how Robinson asks about Iraq.

Is this a fair statement of your position? That as to specific policy initiatives we have to wait to see how the situation develops, day by day, week by week, especially in the coming months, I think Gen. Petraeus is supposed to report on the surge in September. So as regards specific principles, watch, wait, see, but, the overarching principle would be we must not lose. We must not leave Iraq in a way that is perceived by Iraqis or by the rest of the world, or indeed by ourselves, as a loss. Is that a fair position?

Thompson is unlikely to get a more favorable interview if he enters the race. That seems problematic if you listen to his answers, which are guff. Here's how Thompson enumerates the problems facing America:

Well, we're at a crossroads in many respects, and we're going to do what many other generations have done, and that is come together, for a change, and solve them. You know, the things that we hold most dear, that is our safety, our very survival, certainly our economic well being, is at stake, with regard not only to our own families but with regard to future generations.

I know Thompson fills a need in the GOP primary, and I mostly agree with Jesse Walker that if he runs a good campaign on the ground he'll be the nominee. But if this is what he brings into the actual race, he's going to get pulped.

NEXT: Another Isolated Incident

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  1. He doesn’t sound quite so clever without Dick Wolf in his corner…

  2. I haven’t seen a performance like that since Linda Lovelace in “Deep Throat.”

  3. Giuliani is a devastatingly effective debater. If we ever get down to real debates (i.e., just Fred, McCain, Romney and Giuliani) my guess is he is going to eat Fred alive. His grasp of detail and ability to articulate have been impressive.

    I think from a libertarian perspective Rudy is preferable between the two, as he does keep making noises about “increasing people’s freedom” and is the most socially liberal GOP candidate, even if he currently opposes medical marijuana and some other troubling positions. We can hope candidates from both sides will move toward libertarian positions as they court the middle post-primary.

    Anyone know where Hillary stands on that issue, btw? A quick Google didn’t find much. If she would lose (or at least tone down) the national health care ambitions she might get my vote.

  4. Giuliani is a devastatingly effective debater.

    hee hee.

    I know he’s come across well to most Republicans in the debates, but devastatingly is an awfully strong word to use. Especially considering that Paul and McCain pwned him in their exchanges on the causes of 9/11 and immigration reform in the last two debates. (I know Republicans liked what he was saying in both cases, but next summer those clips are going to make him look like a retard to independent voters in the general election, for not familiarizing himself with the 9/11 commission report and the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill before attacking them)

  5. Of course, it’s not going to make much difference anyhow; if the general election pits a Republican who wants to continue the Iraq War against a Democrat who wants to end it, its going to be a landslide for the latter. And unless Ron Paul wins the nomination or one of the other Repubs flip-flops on the issue, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

  6. Crimethink-

    Or if Bush suddenly decides to say we’ve “won” and bring the troops home.

  7. Cesar just solved the problem. How rapidly can we meme-ify this factoid?

    Brilliant, Cesar!

    We won! We won!

  8. [I]”Is this a fair statement of your position? That as to specific policy initiatives we have to wait to see how the situation develops, day by day, week by week, especially in the coming months, I think Gen. Petraeus is supposed to report on the surge in September. So as regards specific principles, watch, wait, see, but, the overarching principle would be we must not lose. We must not leave Iraq in a way that is perceived by Iraqis or by the rest of the world, or indeed by ourselves, as a loss. Is that a fair position?”[/I]

    WHAT???

  9. Fuck. How do you use italics here?

  10. Adam – try ‘greater than’, ‘less than’ symbols in place of brackets.

  11. we’re going to do what many other generations have done, and that is come together, for a change, and solve them.

    The Great White Hope. Heh.

  12. I didn’t think anyone could be a bigger empty suit than Edwards, but Thompson is really giving it the old college try.

    If Edwards is an empty suit, Thompson is an empty suit that used to belong to a guy who wore too much Aqua Velva.

  13. Cesar,

    Yeah, that would solve the problem too. But if he were going to withdraw he would have done so already; then again, I’ve been surprised by this administration before. They seem to have a reservoir of mind-boggling stupidity that makes the Saudi oil reserves look like a teacup.

    Of course, then there’s the Iran question, which again, all the non-Paul Republicans have taken the “bomb, bomb Iran!” stance on. Though since Hilary and Obama also are hawkish on Iran, that might not give the Dems much of an advantage.

  14. How do you use italics here?

    Before the text you want to italicize, insert
    < + i + > omiting the plus-signs and spaces, and after the text you want to italicize insert < / + i + > omitting the plus-signs and spaces. And to print boldface type, do the same, using b instead of i.

  15. the Iran question

    Speaking of which, and speaking of boldfaced and bald-faced, this little nuggest showed up at lewrockwell.com today. Sheesh.

  16. If Edwards is an empty suit, Thompson is an empty suit that used to belong to a guy who wore too much Aqua Velva.

    Oh, that’s really good. Thank you.

    TallDave, I think Giuliani is every bit the typical scum-bag, opportunistic politician that Clinton is. But he might actually be even more of an authoritarian. His time as mayor tells us everything we need to know about what kind of a twerp in tough guy’s clothing he is.

    Quoth the scumbag:

    Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

  17. I realize that Republicans have been praying for the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan, but this empty suit could only appeal to the worst, most addled, most selective-memoried.

    Elect this wombat and I can guarantee you eight years of government by homily, by proverb, by anecdote, by any damned thing other than facts, analysis and sound judgment.

  18. PS: I only just realized that someone beat me to the “empty suit” metaphor. Beg yer pardon. 🙂

  19. Just beautiful – creampuff yes or no question, and the man manages to avoid anything resembling a clear answer. With any luck, a real liberty-minded candidate will benefit from the impending implosion of his support – or is that just wishful thinking?

  20. M,

    That reminds me of the Kruschev “we will bury you” quote, which was based on a mistranslation of a Russian idiom.

  21. Les,

    You’re absolutely right. Ultimately, Giuliani believes that any freedom you have is at the whim of those in power. He might tickle libertarians with promises of support for abortion rights, gay rights, and social freedoms, but keep in mind that he won’t shrink from ruthlessly taking away those and more if he feels it necessary. I think the same is true of Romney, though he hasn’t demonstrated it with his track record to the extent that Rudy has.

    Obviously I’m not a fan of McCain in general, but at least we know where he thinks the scope of freedom ends and the scope of authority begins. I can’t say the same for Giuliani or Romney.

  22. if the general election pits a Republican who wants to continue the Iraq War against a Democrat who wants to end it, its going to be a landslide for the latter. And unless Ron Paul wins the nomination or one of the other Repubs flip-flops on the issue, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

    Unless the election is between a Republican who wants to continue and a Democrat who refuses to promise to end it. Which is entirely possible, sadly.

  23. crimethink – I’ll see you and I’ll raise you.

  24. M,

    I don’t believe that. Literally.

  25. Sure, he’s gonna get pulped–unless the Democrats come back with “Help is on the way.”

  26. crimethink, ya lost me, sorry.

    Btw, putting quote marks around a search phrase saves decades off a life.

  27. What’s so bad about an “empty suit”? Given the horrible policy proposals of the other candidates, maybe we can all get behind someone who is ineffective. It’s better than the alternatives. Personally, I would strongly endorse anyone who campaigns on a platofrm stating they will veto every bill passed by Congress. Can we get any worse?

  28. “Socially liberal” means nothing in a libertarian/authoritarian determination.

  29. M,

    Ok, here you go.

    You’re telling me that this happened, let alone went all the way to a criminal trial, without any coverage from news outlets? The only results of the search are half-remembered stories at a horse training site and geek.com with no links or references.

  30. Being “the most entertaining blogger on The Corner” is a little like being, oh, now I can’t think of anything that isn’t unnecessarily insulting to some innocent group or another, like “the best musician at the school for the deaf-since-infancy” or something. Really, it’s impossible to come up with an appropriate analogy for just how low this standard really is.

    That said, it some kind of warping-the-laws-of-physics-by-irony manner, that quote about Thompson is amazing. The only way he’ll get an easier question is if his mother interviews him, and if she’s a whole lot more of a Son Worshipper than most politicians’ mothers. Jeez, I’ve seen tougher questions posed to professors by people with bad grades wanting a recommendation for grad school.

  31. “What’s so bad about an “empty suit”? Given the horrible policy proposals of the other candidates, maybe we can all get behind someone who is ineffective.”

    Wasn’t that what we all thought George W. Bush would be?

  32. M: I think you mean and .

  33. Well, fuck.

  34. crimethink – Before Mr. Gore invented teh intert00bz, I heard on the radio a news story about an inebriated full-bladdered German passenger resisting instructions to be seated during lift-off, because he feared urinating in his pants. In an effort to extract compliance the female flight attendant, he translated literally from his native idiom that expression “The roof will fly!” intending to threaten merely great emotional upset, and was dismayed [as contemporaneous water-buffalo taxonimists might have well taken note] to learn how literally he was interpreted.

    Like you, I googled for the story, and like you found about the same resources. I don’t recall the outcome, so I will indeed let alone whether it went all the way to a criminal trial; I can’t vouch for any of the details beyond what I recall. The topic is too vast and too deep to expend much more effort, but I will defend to the death your right to disbelieve, and, as I’m sure you know and appreciate, in fact kann nicht anders.

  35. dr, I meant quotation marks.

    Rough crowd here today!

  36. “In an effort to extract compliance from the female flight attendant”

  37. The relevant passage from the water-buffalo link:

    >The whole case took on a new light, however, when the world-renowned Israeli scholar, Dan Ben-Amos, whose field was African folklore, replied. “What would water buffalo have to do with Africans or African-Americans?” he asked. Informed about the facts of the case, Ben-Amos asked if the student were Israeli or spoke modern Hebrew. Learning that Eden’s parents were both Israeli and that he had attended a Hebrew-language high school, Ben-Amos explained that “Behema was Hebrew slang for a thoughtless or rowdy person, and, literally, could best be translated as ‘water buffalo.’ It has absolutely no racial connotation.” When Kors asked Jacobowitz, “what’s the first thing that comes into your mind if I say ‘behema,'” Eden said, “Wow…that’s amazing. In my yeshiva, we called each other behema all the time, and the teachers and rabbi would call us that if we misbehaved.” He supplied a list of students and teachers from his school who would be glad to testify about it.<

    And that’s that.

  38. I didn’t think Thompson came off that bad in that interview (although that’s probably the tiny little part of me that’s still a conservative that despite my best efforts will never die), but his mention of Samuel Alito as one of the current Supreme Court justices he admires killed any affection I might have had for Thompson.

    That said, the key issue before us is: is he the best of a horrible bunch of potential presidents? Obviously if you consider Ron Paul “potential”, the answer is no (hell, I’d include Denny “Bankrupting Cleveland” Kucinich as a better candidate), but among people actually likely to get a nomination, is he the best?

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  40. jf,

    I hate to say it, but among the “top tier” candidates, I’d have to go with McCain for the reasons stated above. That’s definitely a least of several evils situation.

    If the choice comes down to Rudy vs Hillary, I may decide to eat broken glass and be done with it.

  41. Robinsion is all right, but how can you place anybody that writes over there ahead of Derb. First, he’s an atheist, which brings a welcome bit of sanity to that Papist Cabal. Then you have his weird obsession with buggery, which comes across as quite charming for some strange reason. And finally, the guy fought Bruce Lee. To put it in comparitive terms, around the same time in his life that Johnah was attending a girls college, Derb was in Hong Kong, getting his ass kicked by Bruce Lee. To me that’s the ultimate trump card. For however long he posts over there, Derb will always be #1.

  42. crimethink | June 17, 2007, 7:19pm | #

    If the choice comes down to Rudy vs Hillary, I may decide to eat broken glass and be done with it.

    Funny…

    I was thinking of posting “i think it might end up being rudy and hilary, and most of you are going to be eating broken glass in the near future…”

    …but then you beat me to it.

    Seriously though, it’s a very possible outcome.

    I met rudy once, outside 86st subway station at 6AM. It was raining. He was setting up a receiving line to handshake upper-east side commuters as part of his reelection campaign. i happened upon his crew before they expected anyone really. He was drinking coffee and bullshitting with his security detail. He took 5 mins to talk to me since no one else was really around to gladhand. He was surprisingly candid. He said, “campaigning really sucks”

    even though i wanted to corner him and bust his balls about using paddy wagons to round up street merchants on museum mile, and the elephant shit on the painting of the virgin mary episode, i had to say he came off as a mensch. he cursed nearly as much as me. I thought that was a nice touch.

  43. Click on my name to see a parody of the candidates. Hillary’s behavior is perfectly parodied!

  44. Fred Thompson’s slogan should be “I’m not the other guys!” because that’s where all his appeal comes from.

  45. Slightly OT:

    You know what bugs me about The Corner? Getting to old archives in a pain in the butt.

    You have to find the archives button, and then click back week-by-week-by-week if you want to get to, say, Mission Accomplished Day, to see what they were saying. If you want something from the Spring of 03, then, we’re talking over 200 mouse clicks! It’s the same way with the Weekly Standard.

    On the other hand, liberals blogs (as well as Hit & Run) have very user friendly archives – you can either enter the date you’re looking for, or just scroll until the you find the link to the week you want.

    Sorry, pet peeve of mine.

  46. He quotes Freidman? WOW! He must be really a great guy… and he said ‘stick-to-it-iveness’. That just proves how great he is.

    (Does anyone find it weird that he quotes Freidman? He has a very small amount of ‘Freidman-iveness’… it makes me think that Paul is having an effect on the race even if the words by the other candidates are pretty hollow…)

  47. If Thompson was quoting Friedman, he was almost certainly coached. 😉

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