May 25, 2007

Fred Tries To Touch All The Bases

Fred Thompson continued his pre-campaign campaign for the Republican presidential nomination yesterday in Connecticut, giving a speech to a gathering of state Republican activists. Ryan Sager at the New York Sun attended the speech, and gives it rather high marks for both delivery and content, in contrast to his Lincoln Club speech in California earlier this month. Fred gave a rather flat delivery of a good speech in terms of content in that venue, but this time delivered on the enthusiasm that his efforts have produced among his supporters.

However, Fred seems to want everyone to love him, except perhaps Democrats. Despite scorching some fellow Republicans for the immigration reform compromise, he led off the speech by hailing Rep. Chris Shays for his work in Congress. As I explain at Heading Right, Shays hardly provides a model of conservative tenacity. He co-sponsored the House version of the BCRA, and the rest of his record doesn't appear to fit with Fred's conservative outlook.

I understand the political benefits of paying homage to the home-town politicians, but Fred may want to take care to understand the records of those he endorses in future appearances.

UPDATE: Commenters have brought up a couple of interesting points. First, I wouldn't have advised Fred to rhetorically slap Shays around while appearing in Connecticut. I just find it inconsistent for him to admonish Republicans for not being conservative enough on immigration while heaping praise on one of the more liberal members of the House Republican caucus. Maybe he could have avoided mentioning him at all.

This demonstrates how difficult it will be for everyone, Fred included, to campaign nationally in the age of New Media, YouTube, and instant national communication. One cannot tailor messages to particular audiences, which is a good development; it forces candidates to either be honest about their platform even where it may not be popular, or get exposed as a hypocrite. Part of the reason why Fred gets this level of scrutiny is because of his reluctance to commit. He gets better press than most of the candidates as reporters watch every move he makes to see if they can divine his intentions.

I like Fred Thompson a lot and am looking forward to his entry into the race. Until he does, we'll hang on every word -- and that cuts many ways.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (15)

Posted by jp | May 25, 2007 10:04 AM

what and he should go into shays backyard and insult him instead? duh.

Posted by Immolate | May 25, 2007 10:08 AM

Ed, do you really think that back-slapping and attaboys are optional when addressing a group of people who put the local politicians in office? The adage not to say anything at all if one can't say anything nice may work in most circumstances, but sometimes you have to say something nice--not for the sake of the beneficiary, but for the goodwill of those to whom the beneficiary is beholden.

I have a feeling these Inter Tubes or whatever they are, are going to make customizing speeches to the local audience far more challenging than it used to be.

Posted by CalabasasWinger | May 25, 2007 10:17 AM

Ed, your bias against Fred is showing.....

Repubs two best hopes, IMHO, are still Fred and/or Newt. All others pale in comparison.

Posted by Dan | May 25, 2007 10:25 AM

Sir, please recall that Chris Shays, whatever his failings may be, is the ONLY Republican Member of the House from all of New England. I hardly think any of the Presidential candidates would be so foolish as to give him short shrift, especially when he has been one of the most informed and stalwart supporters of the war.

Posted by Captain Ed | May 25, 2007 10:38 AM


If you think I'm biased *against* Fred, I don't think you've been reading my blog for long.


John McCain has been a loud and consistent voice on the war, too, but Fred didn't have a problem spanking him (anonymously) over immigration. Jon Kyl has been a staunch war supporter, too.

Posted by Gary Gross | May 25, 2007 11:09 AM

Based on the two articles that I read on his speech, I'd say that Fred said a number of things that Washington Republicans should pay attention to.

Posted by Gull | May 25, 2007 11:29 AM

I was about to say: "biased AGAINST Fred??" LOL

:::: running around the blog waving an impressive Mitt Romney flag ::::

Happy Memorial Weekend, Ed and all!

Posted by Jeffrey | May 25, 2007 1:40 PM

I gave Thompson credit for having more brains then he apparently does. In his speech he alluded to that stupid "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" nonsense.

Stick to acting, Fred. You're no good at writing your own lines.

Posted by Robert Speirs | May 25, 2007 3:44 PM

Right, Jeffrey, there's no evidence Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists (but I repeat myself) would ever attack anyone in this country, is there? So we are just over there fighting them for what, Jeffrey? Their oil?

Posted by Pam | May 25, 2007 10:45 PM

I hope Fred gets in soon. Was glad to see some good poll numbers for him in Florida. But you're right, the moment he announces, as Rush puts it, "the anal exam" begins.

You'll have a Blessed Memorial Weekend. Don't forget to pray for our soldiers and their families.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | May 25, 2007 11:37 PM

Thompson might be playing it pretty wise if he calls 'em like he sees 'em and sticks to his principles whatever they are. At this point America seems pretty ticked off with government, Republican and Democrat, and seemingly more agitated than usual. An independent streak might separate him from the field despite his more conservative bona fides, and I don't mean an independent streak a lá McCain that just makes the conservative base cringe.

I agree, Ed, that going out of his way to insult his host on his host's stage wouldn't be a wise tack, but to maintain his credibility and to appear as an honest broker for the bigger audience, he'll need to avoid looking like every other pandering politician that crosses the stage.

Fred can be a real force if he keeps himself honest. He'll need to get in pretty soon, though, to ensure that everyone understands he's serious and not a coy, egotist.

Posted by Rose | May 25, 2007 11:53 PM

I just find it inconsistent for him to admonish Republicans for not being conservative enough on immigration while heaping praise on one of the more liberal members of the House Republican caucus. Maybe he could have avoided mentioning him at all.


Capt, pardon me, but why is it inconsistent of Fred to praise Shays who is a Liberal GOP member, when he is mentored by Baker, and is best buds with McCain?

It looks about par for the course, to me - and is a reason why I think we have enough RINOS in the GOP slate, now.

All he really has to offer is a fresh, relatively unknown face - the better he is exposed to the public, the more the new will wear off, the more he will look just like the others we don't want, like McCain, Brownback, Giuliani, Newt, etc, etc, etc, etc....

Posted by Random Numbers | May 26, 2007 3:28 AM

Ed! I'm disappointed it you!

You seem to have forgotten Reagan's 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.
Thompson is merely following that rule.

Posted by richard mcenroe | May 26, 2007 9:15 AM

random numbers -- Did Reagan ever meet Chuck Hagel?

Posted by Random Numbers | May 26, 2007 9:26 AM

Good question! Hagel would tempt a saint to lash out! But remember that there has to be some reason Hagel runs as a Republican. Whatever it is, it is more important to him than all his points of disagreement.

I take Reagan's idea to mean that one can disagree passionately about policy while still giving suitably non-committal praise to a member of your own party, no matter who it is.

If you can't say something nice - be vague as hell!