Thompson for President? (No, Not that One, or That Other One. The Other One's Brother.)


Word is floating that Ed Thompson, who has served as both mayor and city councilman in Tomah, Wisconsin (and got over 10 percent of the gubernatorial vote in 2002 running with the LP), may end up seeking the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination next year.

If the GOP nominates Fred Thompson, who knows what mistaken identity shenanigans might ensue. Ed, by the by, is brother to former Wisconsin governor and Secretary of Health and Human Services under George W. Tommy Thompson. Tommy is himself, according to some half-remembered rumors, running for president this season with the GOP. Don't worry, you'll have many months to get it all straight.

For night owls, you can tune in tonight in the Denver area, on the Rick Barber Show on KOA, 850-AM (or live on the web), to listen to me yakking about libertarian politics and history and the rise of Ron Paul. Starts airing midnight pacific time, make the usual adjustments for your time zone. And yes, thanks for asking, I did write a book on libertarian movement history, and here is its web site.

NEXT: FBI to Congress: Murder, Wrongful Imprisonment May Be Necessary to Preserve Drug Investigations

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  1. I heard the Thompson Twins are coming back too.
    Imagine them touring next year with new hits.
    The confusion that will ensue. It will make one say their prayers.

  2. who knows what mistaken identity shenanigans might ensure.

  3. And they say we’re spoilers now.

  4. Awesome. Funny thing is, Ed Thompson will get the LP nom long before Tommy Thomspon ever gets the GOP nom.

  5. By the way, does anyone know if this guy is a real libertarian, or is he a neolibertarian, because in the link the first comment is made by an excited Eric Dondero, which is concerning for any one that calls themself a libertarian.

  6. Better than Fred Thompson.

    Fuck that guy.

  7. If Dondo likes him, then he must ensuredly be a Real? Libertarian?.

  8. Perhaps if the Republicans nominate Fred, on of the others could replace him in Law and Order remakes. It wouldn’t take much talent to play the part of Reactionary Uber-politican Fred played in the series.

  9. So, according to election rules as codified by the Democrat party, if ANY name or ballot confusion happns or is suspected or accused of happening, all votes go to Hillary?

  10. Fred Thompson vs. Ed Thompson… I think Ed might actually win it here in Palm Beach County with all the unwitting Buchanan supporters.

    I think someone with the same name tried to run against Jesse Jackson Jr., but dropped out after legal action by the Jackson juggernaut.

    What if RuPaul ran against Ron Paul?

  11. I watched Ed Thompson’s campaign for governor from afar several years ago, then paid attention to his activities as WI state LP Party chair and elected alderman of Tomah WI. I listened to nearly all of his “Just a Little Common Sense” radio programs.

    He doesn’t strike me as an exceptionally gifted actor, although he clearly is a savvy politician and a seemingly tireless crowd pleaser on the campaign trail. Ed Thompson has talked the Libertarian talk AND walked the Libertarian walk. He did what all other Libertarian pols have ever only dreamed of: He put the realistic fear of defeat into the major-party opponents. He got into the gubernatorial debates and then went on to command a solid margin of victory in a three-way race. The difference between the GOP and Demo candidates was only 3.7%; Thompson garnered 10.5% of the vote, something a press release from his campaign claimed hadn’t been done by a third-party or independent candidate for WI Governor in 60 years (the entire lives of most voters).

    I always felt that Ed Thompson should have parlayed his success at grassroots campaigning for governor in WI into a seat in the WI state legislature, or the US House or Senate. I think he could have pulled it off, and might then have run successfully for governor a few years later. I hope he is still considering such a path, but if he goes for and secures the LP Presidential nomination, I expect him to campaign as we have never seen. Whether that will be enough to repeat his impressive spoiler performance on the national stage, or even win the Presidency, remains to be seen. But Thompson has heart, and he has delivered the best electoral results for an LP run for high office that I have ever seen. So I’m not going to sell him short or otherwise bet against him.

    Do you want a dream ticket for libertarians? Ron Paul fails to get the GOP nod and decides to run as an independent, choosing Ed Thompson as his running-mate (or vice versa — it’s not unheard of for the Pres to be the heart and spirit of the Executive branch, leaving the mechanics of dealing with Congress and SCOTUS to the VP and Cabinet Officers … Ed Thompson could do that well, I think). The LP nominates the team for its ballot line, but by being nominally “independent,” the team might inspire other parties to rally around them, too. Paul/Thompson (or Thompson/Paul) could be the fusion ticket that so many have said third parties have needed for years.

    It’s worth considering, at least.

  12. I met Ed Thompson at the LP ’04 convention, and made it a point to do so since I lived across the state for many years and was genuinely surprised at his ability to garner so many votes in ’02. He’s probably one of the few people on this green Earth that I’d honestly have a problem deciding on vs. Ron Paul during this election cycle — if he ran.

    From the talk we had, he seemed to be one of those folks that lie somewhat far from the fringes of the LP; he’s more a mainstream candidate than one would expect, with his geniality, hometown style of rapport-building, and general mistrust–but not conspiratorial views–of government. I think the fact that his own town of Tomah wrote him in for City Council –and he won–stands as a pretty good testament of the kind of guy he is.

    Personally, I find Ed Thompson to be one of those diamonds who can really relate to the people that really make up the heartland. Ed’s one of those people with heart and conviction to really pull off an LP election record without coming off as some sort of batshit loony candidate in the process. After all, he was just an everyday guy who ran a small, local business until got screwed by the government and decided to do something about it.

    If he ran as a VP to Ron Paul on an independent ticket, wild horses couldn’t drag me away from voting for it.

  13. Hey, has anyone mentioned yet how much of a douchebag I am?

  14. Get used to it, it’s what happens when you sell out your ideals (or are just horribly misguided, either way)

  15. Hey, Guy Montag! Good to see you! It’s been a while since anybody told us to “Look! Over there!”

  16. Reason Editors, again, please note that someone is publishing comments under my name (above.)


    Sorry, had to be done. I know it’s played out.

  18. I’m playing for you, Eric.

  19. Above, I was less than articulate in writing the following: “or vice versa — it’s not unheard of for the Pres to be the heart and spirit of the Executive branch, leaving the mechanics of dealing with Congress and SCOTUS to the VP and Cabinet Officers … Ed Thompson could do that well, I think.”

    I just wanted to be clear that, just as Mr. Bush seems to be the front man while Mr. Cheney appears to do all the heavy lifting in the present administration, Ed Thompson could be the plain-folks, regular guy face and voice of an independent/libertarian administration — the heart and soul — while DC-experienced Mr. Paul could be in charge of wrangling Congress and SCOTUS on a day-to-day basis — the brains and hands. That is, if Mr. Paul could forgo the Oval for the somewhat lower profile of VP, which would allow him to get more nuts-and-bolts work done.

    From listening to his radio programs, I must say that I would rather hear Ed Thompson deliver the President’s weekly radio address than Ron Paul. Not to slight the congressman, but Thompson has a shoot-from-the hip delivery that reminds me of John Madden — his programs are much more entertaining than the usual DC speechifying. More to the point, while you’re being entertained and amused by Thompson, he slips in some interesting points and ideas that the audience then goes on to think about after the show ends. Thompson tries very hard to communicate the essence of political questions simply, and succeeds often, in my experience.

    Is the country ready to consider a bartender as President? They already elected a son of a bootlegger, so you never know.

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