June 13, 2007

The Problem With Primary Oppo (Updated)

Fred Thompson’s entry into the presidential race will raise the flag on another feature of the campaign: opposition research and attack. The Politico reports that other campaigns have prepared for Fred’s entry, and they are poised to dent his momentum by focusing on his professional career and his track record, certainly legitimate targets. Some of the selected topics appear overblown, however, and veer more into the nature of personal attack -- such as Thompson's status as a trial attorney and his limited lobbying career.

However, the nature of these pushbacks may backfire on the other campaigns, and calls into question whether they have forgotten the long-term goal of the primaries. At Heading Right, I ask whether this will help the party elect a Republican to the White House, and also talk through some of the points that the other campaigns hope to use as traction against Fred. In short, they may find themselves more on defense than offense if they want to use innuendo and half-truths to undermine Fred.

UPDATE and BUMP: Fred Thompson has a new blog for his campaign, The Fred File. It has CQ on the blogroll, and it looks like it will be a group blog from the campaign team as well as the candidate. Fred posted this introduction, complete with a YouTube link. It even has an RSS feed, for those who want to keep up with Fred on a constant basis, as well as one exclusively for Fred's posts. It's a basic blog, nothing fancy, but very functional. We'll see how they do on providing the kind of constant content that blogs need to survive.


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Comments (14)

Posted by Carol Herman | June 13, 2007 10:11 AM

One thing about politicians, they WANT their names in front of the public. You can't get elected without it.

In many ways to be successful requires becoming famous.

Which brings Nixon's dictum to the fore: "It doesn't matter what they say about you, as long as they spell your name correctly."

Well? Back when Nixon was climbing to the top, not all homes had TV's. And, many that did, still had black and white sets. No remotes. And, the "mainstay" of the news of the day, was appearing in print, above the fold. And, GETTING THERE WAS THE BATTLE.

We already know that Scarborough is an idiot who said Fred's married to a young wife. (She dances the pole.") So, as far as saying nasty things goes; it's out there. And, it's made its ways from talk radio to the Net. Doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

Fred Thompson is also tall. Very tall.

And, Bush is in the crapper.

At least the republican party, as a whole, ain't dead. It's got a stage, now, where men are actually doing well. (Okay. McCain fell off. But he's not gonna admit it. So, the other part of this "race to see whose gonna get the nomination in 2008: also deals with a few losers: Hillary, Ron Paul, and McCain, where you could bet on how poor their chances are? If ya felt like it.)

On the other hand? Here's the given. This site is hosted by a conservative. And, when things move in DC, it seems the conservatives still have clout.

Doesn't mean all prayers get answered.

But in politics it's all about the POSSIBLE.

I had fun reading Tom DeLay's book. He really got to DC at a good time. Dragged into politics on the rim of Ronald Reagan's coattails. In 1980. At that time? Only six republicans from Texas made it "in."

So, in DeLay's book there are the stories that he tells, first hand. Sure. Including Dick Army. Newt Gingrich. Hastert. And, Reagan, himself. Plus, what DeLay found as he climbed up in importance within the GOP congressional track.

DeLay knows all about COMPROMISE. Because he details it from his own story. How, in 1994, when Clinton hit the reality that the congress turned republican; DeLay used those opportunities to prepare a republican plank that was very far out to the RIGHT. He did this on purpose.

The key, DeLay says, to understanding DC, and politics in general, is to understand that ALL POLITICS is about COMPROMISE.

By going way off to the right, DeLay pushed Bill Clinton's presidency to the CENTER.

And, in politics, people lived with this, happily, for a time.

Now, another lesson. Repeated. FDR loved the interactions he got from reporters. It kept his name, alive, throughout his four terms. And, he only got to four terms by WINNING all his political battles. He RELISHED the game!

That's the other side of politics. How much fun can a candidate have; doing what comes naturally?

It ain't pole dancing.

But for the very talented it IS the stage. And, they come alive when they win the role of their lives! You think Reagan was "just an actor?" That wasn't his top role, ya know? And, Fred's heading there.

Doesn't mean anything one way or another, though. Since the race has to happen to know who wins the crown.

But at least the quality of the thoroughbreds can't be beat. And, for that there's a lot of stuff to make people feel proud.

Now, compare this to the russians. Or the democraps. What do they have?

Posted by RBMN | June 13, 2007 10:40 AM

Fred Thompson's best defense against character assassination will probably be the fictitious New York District Attorney, Arthur Branch. People feel like they know Thompson just from seeing Arthur Branch so often in Law and Order, and in various movies--however illogical that is. Words are so temporary in the mind compared to images.

Posted by bulbasaur | June 13, 2007 10:44 AM

If we ask the democrat party to refrain from half-truth and innuendo, wouldn't that basically be a ban on all democrat speech?

That would be wrong.

Posted by John Gault | June 13, 2007 11:37 AM

They need to be careful, Fred may be able to pull off a Reagan-isk ,"There you go again" and make them all look like the dunces they are....

Posted by Arnie | June 13, 2007 12:32 PM

Fred is a great American, with a great believe system and values, but he does not have sufficient, if any, executive experience. Nothing else need be said.

Posted by Adjoran | June 13, 2007 2:01 PM

I agree with Arnie: Fred lacks the necessary management experience to run the largest operation in the world, the US government (nearly $3 trillion per year operating budget, millions of employees). For that matter, so do McCain, Brownback, Clinton, Edwards, Obama, Hunter, Dodd, etc. - nearly all the legislative candidates are devoid of executive experience except for Kucinich, who drove Cleveland into bankruptcy.

One disturbing aspect of the spreading of bad news - if not actual "dirt" - on other candidates is that it tends to come with "not for attribution" labels. If they really want to get down and dirty, they have some low-level functionary do the real work (think Donald Segretti).

Posted by Jon Prichard | June 13, 2007 2:12 PM

Well Lincoln didn't have any executive experience either Arnie. I think Capt Ed has this pegged about right and Thompson will probably have the ammunition to fight back against rumor and innuendo. His political and professional record is fair game though but I'll bet Fred is ready for attacks on his record, at least more effectively than Giuliani has been on the abortion issue.

What's interesting about Thompson's record is that every time somebody tries to dig something up the light shone on his actual record will impress people that know so little about him politically.

Posted by Rose | June 13, 2007 3:53 PM

Fred reminds me of Dah Ahnold MAn.
Dazzling Conservati ves even though he voted DOWN the PERJURY CHARGE of Bill Clinton's impeachment, telling Sean Hannity last week that PERJURY was a TRIVIAL MATTER and didn't rise to the level of a sound foundation for IMPEACHMENT inthe eyes of our Founding Fathers.

One of FOUR (4) DOPE - er, GOP Senators to blow the House charges out of the water, even though he was a WATERGATE PROSECUTOR.


Not for me, thanks.

Posted by Rose | June 13, 2007 3:56 PM

What's interesting about Thompson's record is that every time somebody tries to dig something up the light shone on his actual record will impress people that know so little about him politically.

Posted by: Jon Prichard at June 13, 2007 2:12 PM


Yeah, I was very impressed to learn that he only voted 80% of the time with his butt buddy McCain. And only a couple of those votes were for McCain Feingold.



Posted by the fly-man | June 13, 2007 4:03 PM

I'm so glad that Capt'n Ed has decided to just admit principles will revive themselves as long as the GOP can hold on to power. Conservatives have finally tapped out. Finally some one has admitted conservatism and it's principles are expendable for the sake of expediency. Now which Pro-choice, pro Gun Control, smaller Governmant, authoritarian should i vote for?

Posted by Fight4TheRight | June 13, 2007 4:59 PM

I'm confused by the attacks on Fred Thompson due to his friendship with John McCain. First of all, I have friends who will vote for either John Edwards or Barack Obama - I couldn't disagree with them more but they are my friends and I'd put my butt on the line 1000 times for them. And in my personal opinion, Fred Thompson's choice of McCain as a friend shows a good ability to judge the character of a person - I've seen very few people get away with questioning John McCain's integrity and moral fiber.

And at the same time, 90% of McCain's flak from the Right is based on 3 things: McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy Immigration and his habitual outreach to the other side of the aisle.

Look. I am NOT a McCain supporter - his actions piss me off and I certainly am not backing him for the Presidency, but I challenge any of you to review his overall voting record in the Senate and point to his Left leanings on core conservative issues.

The way I look at it is this....Fred Thompson's friend is a celebrated war hero, a man who never broke after years in a POW situation that would have killed most of us.

And on another note, congrats to The Cap'n for making Thompson's blog roll list!

Posted by Jon Prichard | June 13, 2007 5:32 PM

That Thompson voted 80% of the time with McCain is impressive if you're a Conservative Republican. I don't support McCain for the Presidency but his Senate voting record is 95% Conservative. The question for your Rose is, who do you see as fit to be President?

Posted by Rose | June 14, 2007 3:57 AM

Right now, I like Duncan Hunter the best, so far.

That being said, I dont' know a whole lot about him, either, except he has Chuck Yeager's endorsemetn.

But he is second teir, and at this point, even Conservative bloggers are discounting the ability of Second Teir to climb any higher.

My problem wi th Fred has nothing to do with who I am for, however.
My theory in such races is that by the time y ou weed out all you refuse to vote for, then you can more easily see and distinguish who is left to choose from.

The more I have chewed on the fact that Fred is a former prosecutor, tapped to work on the Watergate hearings, who goes on to be ONE OF FOUR GOP Senators to vote AGAINST the House charges of Perjury against Bill Clinton....
Then a few nights ago, he told Sean Hannity that it was because PERJURY just doesn't rise to the level of import for IMPEACHMENT, and he kn ew that it was TOO TRIVIAL A MATTER to meet the Founding Fathers' impeachment standards.

I watched the Watergate hearings, every single day, and we all poured over the newspaperrs and their accounts and transcripts - DAILY.

We had all voted for Nixon, reluctantly - the competion was most ugly - I don't mean the campaigns - I mean the candidates.

Nobody was terribly shocked wh en he got caught - we watched to see IF THEY HAD THE NERVE TO DO JUSTICE.

THAT is why Ford lost to Carter - HE didn't care about JUSTICE and he THOUGHT he'd palm his garbage off as an "ATTEMPTED HEALING" of the nation!

That is why as bad as I hate Carter, I do not regret not voting for Ford at all.

Can you imagine a "LAW AND ORDER" Character on the prosecution team voting that PERJURY doesn't rise to the level of being IMPEACHMENT WORTHY??????

We watched Clinton for 8 years, too - hoping to see justice there, as well - and we all saw his deposition onlive INTERNATIONAL TV.

But Fred proudly stands by his vote as one of only 4 GOP Senators to shoot down the House case for Clinton's removal.

That could have been done for many reasons - not wanting to see Algore get ascended tothe Presidency at that time...


Well, I spend a lot of time reading some of the writings of our Founding Fathers.

They would have impeached McCain over McCain Feingold and the anti-torture bill, too! They would have had conniption fits over his Gang of 14 - of which Fred would have obviously been gladly a member, if he had not had Presidential aspirations - sop, being a little smarter than Fred, he went back to polishing his "Law and Order" reputation and IMAGE.

All I see in Fred is LBJ and Dah Ahnold Man.
Another "GOOD OL'BOY" who doesn't care about anything but his own personal agenda.

Our Founding Fathers would cut off their own nose to spite their face ANY TIME to choose PRINCIPLE OVER CONVENIENCE or INJUSTICE, or political gain, or to do a favor for another good ol' boy - rapist or not!.

I will not vote for Fred in the General Election, no matter what.

I will not pretend that the man who ENABLES such as Bill Clinton is BETTER than Bill's wife or anyone else.


I live just 1 1/2 hour from the Mexico border in Texas.

The GOP at present is far enough left to sink the boat, what difference does it make that the DIMS would sink it, too?

I'll vote for a wright in, it seems.

I am a primary voter, which is something most Conservatives and Christians do not do - but I won't reward a Liberal for either party in the General election.

Look at Dah Ahnold Man - no advantage at all to the hard work that Tom McClintock did to get Gray Davis out of there.

Posted by Rose | June 14, 2007 1:16 PM

That Thompson voted 80% of the time with McCain is impressive if you're a Conservative Republican. I don't support McCain for the Presidency but his Senate voting record is 95% Conservative. The question for your Rose is, who do you see as fit to be President?

Posted by: Jon Prichard at June 13, 2007 5:32 PM

BTW, are you aware that the GOP did NOT re-elect McCain in his last re-election bid to Congress? That CROSSOVER DEMOCRATS are what got him his return ticket?


Have you ever HEARD of the Gang of 14???

I cannot IMAGINE where you get the 95% CONSERVATIVE voting record for McCain.

Maybe he looks conservative to some of the MAINSTREAM LIBERAL MEDIA, but the stuff HE PUTS HIS NAME ON isn't ever CONSERVATIVE, like McCAIN FEINGOLD, the anti-torture fiasco, and this AMNESTY DEBAUCHLE they are trying to shove down our throats, now - apparently supposing it will help HIS election prospects.

What do you think a RINO is???