September 20, 2007

No O.J., no idiot at a Kerry speech, but what's the deal with Thompson?

Fred Thompson.

The guy strikes me as an empty suit... all hat, no cattle... no there there.

What is it about the Republican core that seems to get sweaty over people who simply (supposedly) look presidential? Why are they absolutely ga-ga for image over substance?

Personally, I think Thompson looks positively cadaverous lately, almost unhealthy. Certainly not my idea of "presidential" looking, whatever that is.

And beyond that, what has the guy got to offer, other than being another utterly fake good 'ol boy that's not too intellectually threatening to right wing boobs?

Haven't the righties learned a lesson from electing a phoney "average guy" the last two times?

Thompson is anything but a down-home grits and gravy guy, and shows up to rural meet and greets wearing Gucci loafers. The guy is known as more of a lobbyist than politician, and is up to his neck in the D.C. money and influence game.

And then there's experience. What's the guy done? Not a hell of a lot as far as I can see. If Thompson's the rightie's dream boy, they're sure going to have a hard time attacking Obama for lack of experience.

Thompson is widely rumored to be lazy as well, and that's not exactly hard to believe.

Just what the country needs, another elite millionaire who can't be bothered with details and who operates from the "gut" based on wacky conservative ideology.

The country needs that like Brittany Spears needs another cocktail.

Honestly, anyone care to speculate why Fred Thompson consistently comes in ranked near the top in polls of Republicans, even though he doesn't espouse anything but more far right dogma?

I can't help predicting that he's going to flame out sooner or later. The pundits all recited their convential wisdom after he finally announced by saying it would be very hard for him to live up to the hype and anticipation, and that he had to have a very strong first couple weeks or month to really have staying power.

What did Thompson do? Well, for one thing, a week after this long awaited announcement, he took an entire week off.

What are your thoughts on this guy?


At 9/20/2007 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thompson is the same deal as Obama - PR.

Thompson has no better credentials, no worse credentials, to be the POTUS than Obama.

Why would you make such comments about Thompson, yet go ga-ga over Obama, who has been a political lightweight, but an Oprah-heavyweight?

At 9/20/2007 5:53 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

And you're basing your assertion that I'm "ga-ga" for Obama..... on what?

Or, as is nearly always the case, are you unable to simply make your point without the burning need to try to take a shot at me, and having nothing to work with, have to rely on making shit up in order to take a swipe? Pathetic.

And Thompson isn't nearly in Obama's league, by the way. Obama has lived around the world and been exposed to and has an understanding of cultures other than our own, an attribute that has been sorely missing in our little emperor's makeup.

Has Thompson ever even been outside the U.S.? I know Bush had never gone outside the U.S. borders, other than benders in Mexico, before he took the White House. And this is a guy who could have afforded to travel anywhere on earth. He just had no curiosity whatsoever. (or was too drunk and/or high)

Obama has delivered detailed speeches outlining his foreign policy positions and views.

Thompson has.... said he "doesn't remember" the Terry Shaivo incident and hasn't said a word about any foreign policy issues.

Yeah, they're exactly alike alright.

And of course, if you're going to tout Thompson as ready to be president, you can't say a peep about Obama being "inexperienced", without being a flaming hypocrite, which of course, you'll be unable to do.

At 9/20/2007 8:25 PM, Blogger Benton Harbor said...

Dope... I was hoping Thompson wouldn't announce his candidacy because I was afraid TNT would take his episodes of Law and Order off the air. I guess they aren't going to, but I can't really see what he brings to the national political table. But then again, maybe I'm blind. You're right about his appearing to be high in polls without espousing anything. Just goes to show that polls aren't all they claim to be. My old statistics professor always said that numbers can be bent to create any meaning you want.

I will take issue with your mentioning the Gucci shoes, though. I may be wrong but I don't remember you giving some crap to Edwards about his high priced haircut.

At 9/21/2007 2:30 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Your memory is correct. I didn't have a problem with Edward's haircuts, whatever they cost.

But Edwards, though he pounded the "son of a millworker" thing to death and then some during the '04 election, doesn't strike me as someone who's pretending to be a "good ol' boy" to this day.

He highlights his semi-humble beginnings, and is clearly proud of his working class origins, but beyond that, I don't think he's appologizing or trying to put on an act as though he's still just a "downhome" aw shucks kind of guy.

One factor that's conveniently overlooked in the right's attempt to smear Edwards is that he made his millions largely by representing working people who had been wronged by corporations.

I personally see that as performing a vital service to the country. (the corporatocracy still gets their way 99% of the time, but the courts are about the only venue left where the people can still have at least a small shot at calling them to account. Of course the Bushies have been busy gutting and rigging the legal system, putting caps on damages, packing the courts with right wing ideologues, etc. which protects the big guy even further. But I digress...)

Thompson, on the other hand, is driven to his campaign events in a Mercedes, he parks a mile or so away, then gets into an old Ford pickup bought specifically for it's value as a prop, and then absorbs the cheers as he stands in its bed ... wearing what is supposed to be the average guys clothes, until you look at the Gucci loafers. (Someone snapped a pic of them, which is how I learned of it.) Maybe now his aides will run out and get a pair of Red Wing work boots for him.

Seriously though, the guy is an actor. What is it about the right's placing such high value on whether their guy can "act"?

Most people hate phoneyness in politicians (or anyone else)and won't support anyone they think is trying to be someone they're not.

But the Republicans seem to positively revere the ability to be as fake as possible. Just strikes me as odd.

At 9/21/2007 7:36 AM, Blogger Benton Harbor said...

Dope, in a nutshell you got it right... Thompson's an actor. A fairly good one on the screen, but not sure how good in the political realm.

And why I'll admit that lawyers like Edwards are sometimes needed to represent the working man's (I hate that term... we all friggin' work) interests, his type has also caused needless increases in manufacturing and liability costs for consumers. Many tend to defend the idiots of our species, mainly to line their own pockets. I'll give you a good example.

THe green and yellow company lost a lawsuit over one of its lawnmowers. The Arkansas jury (there's a problem right there) awarded over 2 million bucks to two guys who lost some fingers. Why? Because they started the mower, picked it up, and used it to trim a hedge. One lost some fingers and the other lost some meat on the top of his hands.

The reason they won the suit? There were no warning stickers on the mower telling them NOT to use it as a hedge trimmer. Common sense says you don't do that. The lawyers played on their stupidity.

I'm not claiming that Edwards was the lawyer in this case. And I don't begrudge a guy for rising up from humble beginnings. While he does have some good ideas because of what he's been able to accomplish, I just find him to be rather hypocritical at times. And I guess I find the fact that you'd make a point about one guy's Gucci shoes, but a couple of $400 haircuts doesn't seem to phase you a little hypocritical as well.

Perhaps two bad illustrations, however. Onward and upward...

At 9/21/2007 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama was raised in a Muslim school, and you think that this makes him more qualified to be POTUS!?

At 9/22/2007 12:21 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


While the anti-trial lawyer factions may have some valid points, I don't believe that they're in any way near the propaganda that is spewed by the corporations who are trying to essentially cut off the rights of people to sue large companies, or at the very least cap the amount of damages awarded.

Your example, I must admit, kind of smells like one of the many annecdotal stories that are either patently false and invented out of thin air and then passed around in jive e-mails and other things of the sort, or simply distortions of actual cases, such as the famous "hot coffee" suit of several years ago.

The facts of that case was that an elderly woman was severely scalded in a very sensitive area of her body, shall we say, by coffee that was far beyond a resonable temperature.

The woman initially simply asked the McDonald's franchise to help with her hospital bills, which were, of course, enormous.

They refused. She got a lawyer.

The lawyer contacted McDonalds and asked that they pay the hospital expenses and a small fee for pain and suffering.

They refused.

This escalated until a jury, a jury mind you that has sat and heard ALL the evidence from both sides, including McDonald's side, and something tells me they don't hire crappy lawyers, and probably had a team of hundreds on the case, this jury which hear all the evidence and facts from both sides, decided to award this woman a huge amount.

Why such a huge award?

Think about it. This is meant to be both a punishment and a deterant to, in this case, McDonalds.

If you order them to pay, what, $200,000, do you think they'd even miss it? There's probably that much dropped outside their drive up windows on any given day.

How much does it take to make a giga-corporation like McDonald's actually feel it?

The jury determined that it was a very large amount.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with this at all, and feel that justice was indeed done.

But of course, that case was trumpeted and distorted to within an inch of it's life in order to suggest that some woman robbed McDonald's of millions simply for spilling coffee.

Not the case.

And yes, the warning label thing has gone past the point of ridiculousness in many instances. But what the hell? It's not really putting a crunch of companies to pay a fraction of a cent per unit for a sticker, is it?

As to your example of the yokels from Arkansas trying to use a mower as a hedge trimmer.... I'd like to try to find out more info on that. Point me in the right direction if you have a credible source on that one, as it defies belief, mainly because I can't imagine any jury, even full of Arkansans, finding that he plaintiffs weren't at least partially, if not majorly, liable in that instance.

As to the Edwards hair cuts, no, it doesn't strike me as the same sort of hypocrisy as Thompson's Gucci loafers, for the reasons I explained in my previous reply.

B.H. I always appreciate your contributions. Thanks. We may not see eye to eye, but you're a reasonable and rational person, which I value.

At 9/22/2007 12:24 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon. 3:15.

Obama was not "raised" in a Muslim School, but only attended one for perhaps two years when he was less than 10 years old.

I suppose that makes him the boogie-man to you, eh? Sad.

I think it likely provides him with some basic insight into the Muslim world, which after all is much larger than our insular little gang of fundementalists.

An insight, I might add, which would have likely prevented the destructive and volitile quagmire we now find ourselves sinking in.

So yeah, I guess the answer to your question is a definite yes.

At 9/22/2007 7:47 AM, Blogger Benton Harbor said...

Dope, I'll try to find something on the Net that cites the lawnmower vs. the hedge award. My knowing about it came from a JD purchasing manager who was irate over the jury's award at the time it happened, roughly eight years ago.

I certainly understand the need to make some huge awards to "get the attention" of the corporations. But sometimes I think the trial lawyers take this to extremes; the guy who sued the dry cleaner for $57 million for losing the pants to his suit and not providing guaranteed satisfaction comes to mind.

Anyway, I'll try to do a little research for us both on the case and thanks for your comments. We don't always see eye to eye, but you provoke thought. And isn't that what blogs are supposed to do?

At 9/22/2007 7:28 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

B.H. .... and the guy who filed that ridiculous suit over his pants was A JUDGE.... Now that's a clear example of abuse of the system, and I'm sure that there are many others. But if you put it into context with the hundreds of thousands of suits filed every year, those are far and away the exception rather than the rule.

It's nowhere near as bad as the propaganda campaign by corporate interests who seek to handicap the system in their favor would have you believe.

There's abuse in almost every area, but that doesn't mean that you have to fundementally change the system, in my view.

And the costs of legal defense is indeed likely passed on to the consumer, but then again, it always has been, and we've managed to survive and do quite well.

The instances of lawsuits and the amount of awards haven't increased all that appreciably, to my knowledge.

Again, I'm certain that the issue of "lawsuit abuse", though somewhat valid, doesn't merit at all the sweeping and massive rules rigging that those who get sued are trying to get enacted.

After all, at the crux of this issue is the fact that a JURY, made up of a cross-section of society, are the ones who make the decisions as to whether someone is at fault, and if so, what the compensation should be.

It's not the trial lawyers.

If, after being worked by the most expensive and extensive legal teams available in the country, on behalf of corporations, many which retain their own legal staff full time, a jury is still convinced that a plaintiff has been wronged by the negligence of a company, then I'd say there's nothing unfair going on.

The system is ALREADY stacked in favor of corporate and business interests... if they lose, then in all liklihood, they deserve to.

At 9/22/2007 8:47 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

I agree with you, I think Fred Thompson is overrated.
Rank and file Republicans are looking for somewhere to go that is "safe" and Thompson fits that.

Some of them think he is "electable" but I disagree. I am not confident that Fred can carry the swing states that the GOP will need to.

For an actor, he is not very telegenic. He just looks old and bald. He comes across like Foghorn Leghorn on valium. And he's boring. Republicans better wake up and nominate somebody who can win.

At 9/22/2007 11:43 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I swear, that's the best (and funniest) description of Thompson I've ever heard!

Seriously, if there was a way, you should sell that line to one of the late night comics.

Foghorn Leghorn on valium? Priceless!

And as the saying goes, it's funny because it's true.

Thanks for that.

I am rather curious as to how Republicans are viewing their field, since it's kind of ... well... odd.

A lot of choices, and remarkably differnt ones at that. There's not many who could be said to be pretty much alike any of the other candidates.

And in this "post-Bush" era, with Republican fortunes taking a nose dive, I find it interesting to know what Republicans are thinking.

The Dems were in a similar situation in '04, and to a certain extent in '00, with a debate about whether the more important criteria for a candidate should be "electability" (whatever you think that might mean) or their stances on issues and policy.

Since it appears that my Republican readers are the only ones who give a damn enough to offer their thoughts and views on national issues, maybe I should do a post where you can chew over the Republican field?

At 9/23/2007 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Republican, I can tell you how I am viewing the field - somewhat 'Lame'.

The contenders are not Conservatives - Rudy, Romney.

McCain and Thompson do not, I believe, have a chance. Thompson is getting play in the media only because he is new into a field that no one gets excited about.

The true Conservatives can gain momentum.

However, when I look at the General Election, I have to think that Rudy can win, as it appears as thought the Democrats will coronate 'Hill' and unless she puts Obama on as VP, I think that Rudy will be a very appealing option for a lot of people in the middle who so dislike Hillary (with her great negatives).

In the end, it will be typical Presidential politics. The Dem's put forth an candidate too far to the left (and in this case - very unlikeable) and the Republicans win the POTUS almost by default.

And in this case, Rudy likely is a win for both sides, as he really is not a strong Republican.

At 9/23/2007 12:52 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Well I was a McCain man in 2000 and proud of it. He would have been a great president and probably still would. But 8 years is a long time and this time around, I sense that McCain is yesterday's news. Many Republicans I talk to, for whatever reason, are not comfortable with McCain.

I am for Rudy Giuliani because I think he is the only one who is electable by the general public. He is tough and smart and he has solid executive experience. Now I didn't say he was a saint or without liabilities. Heck, they all have a little baggage. I have learned to be pragmatic; I know that having someone who can WIN is pretty darned important. I believe that Rudy can carry some swing states and put New York State in play.

Back to Fred Thompson. Republicans think they found another Reagan. I don't question his political experience and I know full well that Fred is an insider. But just because Fred is an actor doesn't mean he's another Reagan. Now I was NOT a fan of Reagan by any means. But I will say that he was the great communicator. He was good on tv and he could sell his message. Fred Thompson is just not Ronald Reagan. I think that maisntream conservative Republicans are desperate they want somebody "safe", and so they are making Fred into something that he's not. Now sure, being an actor helps as far as name and face recognition, and it helps for a candidate to have dramatic ability on the stump.. but it's not a magic key to victory.
I remember when the actor who played "Billy Jack" Tom Laughlin tried running for president, without success.

After 8 years of any administration, either party, there is a certain "fatigue" that sets in among voters and they feel like a change. So for that reason alone, I tend to agree with Dick Morris and Newt Gingrich that it will be difficult for the GOP to hang on to the White House.

At 9/23/2007 10:31 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 7:50

Thanks for your views on the Republican field.

I'd only point out that many of Hilary's "negatives" were either made up out of whole cloth (Whitewater, where the Clinton's LOST money, and any other of the many trumped up and false tales pedaled by the right smear machine) or vastly distorted.

That's not to say that through being pounded into people's head by repeating them a million times spouted by clods on a.m. radio and the like hasn't managed to leave an almost totally false impression of Hillary with a lot of people who don't know any better.

There's plenty of areas where you can disagree with her views or actions, but most of the reasons people have for disliking her are utterly false or exagerated tales to begin with.

I've always found it laughable to hear conservatives portray Hillary as some sort of fringe liberal. What a joke! In the spectrum of Democratic politicians, she definitely fits more closely on the side of the political spectrum that Joe Lieberman inhabits than someone like... well, almost any of the other Dem candidates. She's not, and has never been, a clear liberal among Dems and has always steered a very careful and moderate political course, many, many times incurring the wrath of progressive Dems.

So the Hillary is liberal line is one that particularly galls me and I find it amazing that it's still believed by so many.

I'd also add that Rudy has a boatload of negatives, arguably more than Hillary, which if he were a Dem, the right wing would devote an entire industry to exploiting, twisting, and blabbing about non-stop 24/7 for months.

He's got plenty of negatives which can be used to tar him to the conservative base, as well as to more moderate independents.

His entire reason for existing, namely the story-line of his heroic deeds post 9-11, can be shown to be largely a myth as well.

And after all, if Bush weren't running and hiding in various hidey-holes all over the country in the aftermath of the attacks, and actually did what a leader would have done, then Rudy wouldn't have had this emotional mythology grow around him.

The country wanted leadership, they were desperate for ANYTHING, ANYBODY who could at least fool them into thinking tha things were under control.

Bush, unsurprisingly, was AWOL, and so Rudy got the role by default.

At 9/24/2007 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred is the best this country has to offer. He has plenty of military experience and is the only true conservative in the race.

You are jealous of Fred because he has a good looking wife and is successful outside politics. All you want is career politicians!

At 9/24/2007 8:24 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 9:54...

Just what the hell do you think Thompson is? Some hick who just wandered into politics yesterday?

He's the very definition of a career politician/lobbyist/influence peddler.

And if he's the best this country has to offer, then I suggest we start brewing up a huge batch of poison kool-aid, because we might as well pack it in.

At 9/24/2007 8:38 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Hillary is a smart lady and probably more qualified than Barack Obama or John Edwards... but not as qualified as the 2nd tier candidates Dodd, Biden, Richardson, Gravel. (Why is it that the best & most talented candidates seem to languish in single digits?)

Anyway, the problem that me and a lot of voters have with Hillary is not her intelligence or experience or whether she's "liberal" enough -it's just that we don't like her. Now I acknowledge that this is not a rational reason and it's based on a gut-level feeling. She is just a ballbreaker and arrogant, brassy broad. PERIOD! This was my opinion of her as a First Lady and I think the same of her now. As First Lady, she was always trying to insinuate into public policy.

What sticks out in my craw is the interview when she said, mockingly, "I guess I could have stayed home and baked cookies.." Which is an insult to all the women who did. I think that most of the women who stay home and bake cookies are just as intelligent and have just as much class...(MORE class) than does Hillary Clinton.

If Hillary Clinton would have been more of a "lady" in the first place, maybe her husband would not have been such a whore-monger.

Now this isn't to say that I would not support a woman for president. I certainly would. If Condie Rice were running, I'd support her. But right now there are no women in either party who are quite on the radar yet. Both parties have a few women, bit they are still a few years from being presidential material. The Democrats need to do a LOT better than Hillary Clinton or "Ol Brighteyes" Nancy Pelosi.

At 9/25/2007 8:49 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Sounds like you simply don't think a woman is qualified to be president.

I'd also point out the maddening double-standard you and others impose on women. If a guy acts tough and determined, he's a stand-up guy, a real go-getter. If a woman does the same, she's a "ball-buster" or a "bitch".

And if Hillary adopted a softer stance on issues, then you'd be the first one to dismiss her as not tough enough.

At 9/26/2007 8:30 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Yes it is more difficult for women, to balance between these qualites, to come off just right with the right poise so that they appear smart and strong and professional while at the same time appearing ladylike and charming.. and not coming across as brassy like Hillary or looking like a buffoon like "ol Brighteyes" Nancy Pelosi.

Here are some women politicians in both parties who CAN "pull it off" whom I could see voting for: Rep. Heather Wilson, Rep. Stephanie Herseth, Gov. Sarah Palin, or Sen. Blanche Lambert Lincoln; there are probably some others. I think Elizabeth Dole is past her prime but she would have been a good presient. Susan Molinari dropped out of politics but I liked her. Here in Illinois, Sen. Christie Radogno was good and ran a respectable statewide race and I hope to see her run again.

So yeah, there are some women, in both parties, who are moderate and electable. Women do not have to be screeching ultra-liberal partisans. After all, that is just a stereotype!

At 9/26/2007 10:01 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

But nico, that comes off so sexist.

What is this "ladylike" quality you think is necessary?

Is it what they wear? Whether they have long nails?

Or most likely, is it simply the particular tone of their voice that you use to determine whether they'd be an effective leader or not?

None of those are valid criteria.

Now maybe if we're discussing cosmetic issues, then fine.

Let's discuss the looks of say, Thompson or Giulliani, or maybe Ken doll Romney.

Or better yet, let's not. It's petty and largely irrelevant.

At 9/28/2007 12:26 AM, Blogger tiz said...

Hi.. Little late to this one I see..

I would argue you *have* to have the qualities (somewhat arrogant, ball-breaker, etc) to even consider running for president, regardless of your gender. I don't care much for Hillary either - I think she's too polarizing to win and I'm still pissed at her about Iraq. But giving the same reasons for disliking her that, as was already said, are said to be good traits in men is a little sexist don't you think? Michelle Obama is another wife that doesn't "know her place." She is an amazing and accomplished lady. When she becomes first lady I'm sure the right will hate her for many of the same reasons they hated (and continue to hate) Hillary.

The quip about Bill being a whore-monger annoys me. Maybe if Guliani, McCain, Thompson and Ronald Reagan were better "men" they wouldn't have been divorced. Or maybe all of their personal lives are none of our damn business. My vote is for the latter.

Fred Thompson - I agree that he's not the new Reagan everyone wants him to be. The closest thing the GOP has to Ronnie in both in history and likability is that guy who is the governor of California and he can't run for president. At least not yet.

At 9/28/2007 7:36 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Laura Bush is a REAL "first lady".

At 9/29/2007 1:39 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

"Pickles" seems nice enough, but apparently your definition of "real" is a woman that wears rather drab outfits, isn't too attractive, and pretty much shuts up and stands there looking adoringly at her husband.

She can make busy work with issues, but they dare not be anything too serious. Leave that to the men, and don't worry your pretty little head about it, eh?

That's pretty much a male ideal of a woman I guess. (if you regard women as pets) But it doesn't work that way.

The fact is that any wife of any president would be a "real" first lady, whether she fits into your stereotypical 50's ideal of what a woman should be or not.

At 10/02/2007 6:44 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

You've used the nickname "Pickles" before. Where did you come up with that one?

My favorite first lady of the modern era is probably Rosalyn Carter, with Betty Ford a close second.

At 10/02/2007 10:49 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

"Pickles" is Laura Bush's nickname. I think it goes back a long ways. Don't recall where I first heard it, but I've heard it used a lot of times.


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