Ron Paul

Comeback Fred!

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Michael Crowley's snapshot of Fred Thompson in Iowa will make you weep. The man no longer evokes D.A. Arthur Branch smirking and barking orders at lawers as much as he evokes Uncle Junior puttering around north Jersey in his slippers and coke bottle specs.

After leaving the coffeehouse, Thompson trudged his way through a snow-covered city park, as aides pointed out patches of snow and ice to prevent a symbolically catastrophic wipeout. He arrived at his next stop, at the town's county courthouse, on his feet, but couldn't summon much enthusiasm. Escorted by the county supervisor, Willie Van Weelden, Thompson popped into a series of dreary administrative offices staffed by a homogenous and somewhat befuddled-looking crew of middle-aged ladies. In the county tax office Thompson greeted precisely one worker. "This lady takes all the property tax money!" Van Wheelen exclaimed with the enthusiasm only a county worker could muster. "Is that right?" Thompson replied, sounding as impassive as he surely was. In the neighboring registrar's office, Thompson delivered a quick round of hellos and then cast a puzzled glance at a shaggy-haired boy scribbling at a table under a sign: "Drivers' Test In Progress." As if that were the final straw, Fred finally made a break for it back through the winter cold and into the warm comfort of his massive bus.

Crowley, in an aside, points out that Thompson's bus is painted with this slogan: "The Clear Conservative Choice: Hands Down!" Does the slogan ring a bell? Right: It's a reference to how he refused to raise his hand during the Des Moines Register debate. For about 15 minutes political reporters chewed over whether this was a Campaign Moment, the start of a Fred comeback.

Thompson is now tied with Ron Paul in Iowa. He's lost half his support since October.

But this has been a campaign of one day stories and Moments that went absolutely nowhere: the news cycle moves so fast that silly, minor events are treated like game-changers. Before the Hour of the Hand there was the hostage crisis in Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire office. You forgot about that, didn't you! Here's what then-American Prospect (now Washington Post) writer Garance Franke-Ruta said at the time:

Certainly it gets Clinton a week of positive and sympathetic coverage, featuring tearful interviews with the young men and women held hostage. But it might also have an effect on the intensity of the Clinton-bashing over the next couple of weeks, as people take a step back and re-evaluate to what an extent the misogyny directed against her by her political opponents can combine with alcohol or mental illness to lead to real violence.

Or, you know, not.

I think the only events that have proven totally immune to "this'll change everything" hysteria have been the Ron Paul moneybombs. Yet more reason for Paul supporters to grumble about the mainstream media.

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  1. the misogyny directed against her by her political opponents can combine with alcohol or mental illness to lead to real violence.

    It must be misogyny. A dispassionate analysis of her history and stated objectives could not possibly induce terror or despair in the populace.

  2. How the hell did Alan Keyes get one percent in that poll? Chad error?

  3. But it might also have an effect on the intensity of the Clinton-bashing over the next couple of weeks, as people take a step back and re-evaluate to what an extent the misogyny directed against her by her political opponents can combine with alcohol or mental illness to lead to real violence.

    Yes, because that man’s actions were indicative to all male voters. I, in fact, spent months contemplating this issue and decided I can’t consider it fully until I have been castrated, which is scheduled right before the primaries.

    Seriously though, at the risk of sounding like Rush Limbaugh, the Mainstream Media really does find some bizarre ways to try to help the Clintons. I just don’t think (…or hope) America is buying it anymore…

  4. Crap. P Brooks beat me to it, then said it better than I would have.

    Taktix? – They thought they were voting for Alicea Keys.

  5. “…the misogyny directed against her by her political opponents…”

    Yes, clearly it’s misogyny, all misogyny.

  6. It’s not misogyny, its misohillary.

  7. It must be misogyny.

    It couldn’t possibly be the, you know, mental illness or alcohol.

    I, in fact, spent months contemplating this issue and decided I can’t consider it fully until I have been castrated, which is scheduled right before the primaries.

    For the rest of us, it will be shortly after the Hillary inauguration. To prevent the misogyny, you know.

  8. God knows I’m no fan of Fred Thompson, but you have to take with a grain of salt stories that fit neatly into an existing narrative. Because of the existing narrative that Thompson is lazy, old, and tired, events which would normally be ignored (such as someone telling him not to step on a patch of ice!) are blown way out of proportion.

    The same thing happens to other candidates who have existing narratives. Every time Ron Paul says something you don’t usually hear in political discourse, such as his Sinclair Lewis quote about fascism coming draped in the flag and carrying a cross, it’s portrayed as further evidence that he’s a paranoid nutjob. Every time Mitt Romney changes his mind about what he wants for breakfast, it’s taken as further evidence of his flip-floppiness, and so on.

  9. God knows I’m no fan of Fred Thompson, but you have to take with a grain of salt stories that fit neatly into an existing narrative.

    Fair enough, but I think it’s ok to laugh at Thompson’s campaign, mainly because it was a joke from the get-go…

  10. Fred Thompson has to be one of the most enjoyably pathetic and disappointing people to enter the political scene in a long time and say what you like about any of the other candidates, but apparently just anyone can’t run for president. He looks ready for Shady Acres…

  11. Fair enough, but I think it’s ok to laugh at Thompson’s campaign, mainly because it was a joke from the get-go…

    Russians Politicians don’t take a dump, son, without a plan. And senior captains I don’t do something this dangerous laughably ambitious without thinking it through.

  12. He looks ready for Shady Acres…

    If Jeri would only let him. Think a tired, old, reluctant presidential candidate and his pushy, hot young wife would make for a good sitcom?

    Shady acres is the place for me.
    Retired livin’ is the life for me.
    Country Kitchen right on the road side,
    Movin’ to Florida and buyin’ a doublewide.

    DC is where I’d rather stay.
    I get allergic smelling Ben-Gay.
    I just adore a White House view.
    Dah-ling I love you but give me Pennsylvania Avenue.

    …The snores.
    …The stores.
    …Fresh air.
    …Mt Vernon Square.

    You are my wife.
    Good bye, city life.
    Shady Acres we are there.

  13. Weigel’s ratio of worthy/worthless posts has been about 35:65, but it looks like the ratio will reach the sorry state of 25:75 (at best) in 2008. Not the best way to start the new year, Dave.

  14. I don’t usually weep for candidates. I wait until after the election to start the wailing, weeping, gnashing of teeth, and rending of garments. And unless Fred wins, I won’t be doing because of him.

  15. Yes, there can’t be any misogyny directed at Hillary Clinton, because you can think of other reasons why people may dislike her.

    That’s exactly how it works.

    BTW, I love the references to Hillary castrating men. It really drives home the point that none of the hostility towards her is ever based on or expressed in terms of gender.

  16. joe,

    In Franke-Ruta’s excerpt above, she seems to think that the lion’s share of attacks on Hillary Clinton are misogyny (otherwise, why would she expect them to decrease?). It is that contention that I and others take issue with.

  17. crimethink,

    There are attacks (“You’re health care plan is teh suck!”) and there are attacks (“Everybody down on the floor, I have a bomb!” “This shrill, nanny-state feminazi dreams of enslaving us all and making us act like pussy-boys.”)

    Yes, it would be nice if there was less of the latter, and yes, there is more of it because the image of a powerful woman causes people with both conscious and subconscious gender issues to freak the hell out.

  18. Which is not to say, crimethink, that there are those who over-attribute Hillary-hate to sexism.

  19. There should probably be another “not” in that sentence, but damned if I can figure out how to put it in gracefully.

  20. “God knows I’m no fan of Fred Thompson, but you have to take with a grain of salt stories that fit neatly into an existing narrative. Because of the existing narrative that Thompson is lazy, old, and tired, events which would normally be ignored (such as someone telling him not to step on a patch of ice!) are blown way out of proportion.”

    That is probably a fair assessment but I think they are just overcompensating for how poorly they misjudged his candidacy. I mean when this guy finally announced he was the second coming. He was going to save the Republican party. Give the man center stage at the debates!! The press he received when he jumped in was totally unwarranted, and before he entered even more so. Why give him so much? Because he served in the senate for all of 6 years and is an actor? Seriously?

  21. Hmm, joe, there may be some marginal increase in hostility to Hillary because of her gender, but do recall the high level of hostility in the same quarters to her husband, who, as I recall, was of a different gender.

    I think that, on this board anyway:

    a powerful womanpower-hungry person causes people with both conscious and subconscious gender freedom issues to freak the hell out.

  22. RC Dean,

    And yet, I’ve never seen a single statement linking Bill with castration.

    There are two ways misogyny comes into play here: in the level of hostility towards Hillary, and in how hostility towards Hillary is expressed.

  23. And yet, I’ve never seen a single statement linking Bill with castration.

    Considering his history, you’d have to be a fool to believe he’s in support of that.

    It has more to do with HRC’s style, and her naked lust for power. No one (that I’m aware of) calls Nancy Pelosi or other women in high places “castrating bitches”, because they don’t strike people that way. If you want a woman who strike people that way (from the other side of the aisle), think of Margaret Thatcher. Had someone called Thatcher a castrating bitch, would you have viewed it as misogyny, or would you have said “yeah, I know what you mean.”?

  24. BakedPenguin,

    I would have viewed such language directed at Thatcher as misogyny.

    Was Bill Clinton’s lust for power any less naked?

    As for Nancy Pelosi, well, it’s a term hurled at women who have POWER. 😉

  25. joe – fair enough, then.

    And yes, Pelosi wasn’t the best counter example I could have mentioned…

  26. FRED THOMPSON is the best person to lead this country. He is a true conservative and has been his entire life. All one has to do is check his record to see this.

    During my time in the Army as an Intelligence Analyst, I served under both Presidents Carter and Reagan (as my commanders in chief). Without argument, President Reagan was the best commander-in-chief a military person could ever have served under. Fred Thompson possesses the same qualities and vision as President Reagan in that he is strong on national defense and sees a dire need to secure our borders and control immigration.

    I can think of no better person to lead this country and fix the problems we have. He is the only candidate from either party who has specific and detailed plans on border security and immigration reform; revitalization of America’s armed forces; saving and protecting Social Security; and tax relief and economic growth. These are detailed on his Web site at http://www.fred08.com . I challenge you to find any other candidate who has laid out specific plans to fix anything.

    Fred Thompson has published his first principles, some of which are mentioned above. In addition to those, he strongly believes in individual liberty, personal responsibility, limited government, federalism, traditional American values, the rule of law and is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment – all concepts established during the birth of our country and documented in our Constitution.

    Again, try to find any candidate who has laid out their plans to “fix” this country. You will find they all speak in vague and abstract terms on their plans.

    For those who have heard Fred Thompson speak, you will usually hear him say that the Fred Thompson you see today is the same Fred Thompson you saw yesterday and is the same Fred Thompson you will see tomorrow. He stands by his principles and values and doesn’t shift his positions based on polls or public opinion; in other words, he doesn’t say what the voters want to hear just to get elected, but remains steadfast on his views and convictions.

    During his time in the Senate he focused on three areas: to lower taxes, strengthen national security and expose waste in the federal government. Fred Thompson has foreign policy experience, having served as member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Intelligence committees.

    As chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, he opened the investigation in 1997 on the Chinese government’s attempt to influence American policies and elections, and this investigation identified connections with the Clinton administration (documented in the committee’s report).

    As a member of the Finance Committee, he worked tirelessly to enact three major tax-cut bills. Fred Thompson remains steadfast and even though a person may not agree with all his views and he understands some may disagree with him, you can count on him to be consistent and unwavering.

    Don’t be fooled by his laid back approach and what critics call his “laziness.” As a former assistant U.S. attorney, he earned a reputation as a tough prosecutor and he possesses the toughness this country needs in order to tackle today’s and tomorrow’s issues.

    I ask that you take a hard look at what this country needs, then take a hard look at all the other candidates’ views, policies, their records and their track record on consistency. Fred Thompson possesses integrity, loyalty, commitment, energy and decisiveness, all traits of an effective leader, and will emerge as the best person to take this country boldly forward.

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