June 25, 2007

Democrats Fret Over Fred

How do Republicans know when a good candidate has entered the primary race? If the Democrats start launching attacks before his official entry, that's a good indication that they're worried about him. Today they opened up on Fred Thompson, painting him as a lobbyist who has no qualms about whom or what he represents:

Even before his expected July announcement, Fred Thompson's all-but-declared entry into the Republican presidential stakes has prompted the Democratic National Committee to attack him as a potential GOP front-runner and to use his prospective candidacy to raise money.

Democratic strategists say Thompson's populist style and show-biz allure could prove extremely appealing in a general election at a time when voters are so down on Washington. So the party has launched a preemptive campaign against him that includes a DNC fundraising e-mail branding Thompson, "The inside-outsider."

"Remember the Republican culture of corruption?" the letter asks. "The revolving door of Republican politicians moving in and out of top political offices and Washington, D.C., lobbying firms? That's Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson. For years, acting wasn't the 'Law & Order' star's profession -- it was a hobby. In the real world, Thompson has made a fortune in a decades-long career as a Washington lobbyist. And just this month, as part of his role as the ultimate Washington insider, Thompson offered to host yet another fundraising event for Scooter Libby's legal defense fund. Thompson has been vocal in his support of Libby, saying that he would 'absolutely' pardon him. As he runs for president, he'll try his hardest to hide the truth from the American people. And we need to stop him. Support our efforts to get the truth out about Fred Thompson."

Some serious fact-checking needs to happen here. Fred made around $1.3 million as an attorney in his lobbying activities ... over a twenty-year period. For a top-notch lawyer with his connections in Hollywood and DC, $65K per year doesn't exactly equate to either a fortune or an intensive lobbying career.

Some critics have already started picking apart Fred's client list. Power Line has an interesting dissection of the criticism, which is long on innuendo and short on facts. They point out that half of Fred's lobbying money came between 1975 and 1993, when he first ran for the Senate, and that the other half came from a single client that Fred represented in 2003. Nothing in the criticism even comes close to suggesting that Fred acted unethically in representing his clients, and if the Democrats hope to win on this case, they're going to be bitterly disappointed, especially as they continue to suck up to lobbyists as Uncle Chuck Schumer does.

The next attack consists of complaining about Fred's lack of legislative product. I'm not sure how many bills Fred authored during his eight years as Tennessee's junior Senator, but it seems like an odd argument for the Democrats to make. After all, their last candidate for the office authored all of six bills in 20 years of Senate work. If Fred authored two, it would at least match John Kerry's relative output.

This scattergun approach to denting Fred's popularity will reveal much more about the Democrats than it will the former Senator and reforming attorney from Tennessee. It reeks of fear, and Republicans might give Fred high marks just for prompting that reaction.

UPDATE: Fred authored more than two bills during his term in office. A Thomas search, using their nifty new beta engine, turns up close to 100 entries for bills and amendments where Fred was the primary sponsor. Included are:

* S.3040 - Privacy Commission Act
* S.3030 - Amending Title 31 to provide for audits in executive agencies
* S.2805 - Federal Property Asset Management Reform Act of 2000
* S.2752 - Accountability to Congress for Nuclear Transfers to North Korea Act of 2000
* S.2645 - China Nonproliferation Act
* S.2306 - Government for the 21st Century Act
* S.1993 - Government Information Security Act of 1999
* S.1991 - Amending the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to enhance criminal penalties for election law violations
* S.1503 - Office of Government Ethics Authorization Act of 1999

That's just a quick rundown of Fred's legislative record, and far from complete. He wasn't sitting around collecting a paycheck.

UPDATE II: I should mention that all of these were from one session of Congress -- the 106th.


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Comments (26)

Posted by TrueLiberal | June 25, 2007 6:21 PM

Fred did more in his short time in office then the last Demo they ran for office, even after his 20+ years of Senate Welfare collecting checks.

Posted by reliapundit | June 25, 2007 6:31 PM






Fred is one of us.

He talks like us.

He feels like we do.

But unlike most of us, he's been in and around politics - and DC - for most of adult life. As key Senate staff, as a prosecutor, as a lobbyist, and as a Senator, (one who would have been easily re-elected, but chose to walk away).

While Senator, he chaired the Government Affairs Committee.

And all the time he remained who he always was - one of us.

Even in Hollywood he remained who he always was, and never kowtowed to the entertainment industry's liberal elite or towed their leftist line.

I think that says a lot about the man.
I think he knows his way around politics, and DC - and he knows who he is.

And what America is, too.

That's why I dub him The Outsiders' Insider.

And that's why he's my man.

Posted by Rose | June 25, 2007 6:38 PM

Fred authored a bill on PRIVACY? Is that yet another of the kind of "privacy" that shelters more criminal acts???

Anyway, I don't know why Dims should FEAR Fred.

After all, he is the WATERGATE PROSECUTOR who told Sean Hannity a few weeks ago that he didn't vote GUILTY on Bill Clinton's internationally live-aired PERJURY, because he felt is was a TRIVAIL MATTER that the FOUNDING FATHERS wouldn't consider as worthy of rising to the level of impeachability!

Every time I think of it and the full rammifications of a FORMER PROSECUTOR (who had no trouble prosecuting the administration of a REPUBLICAN President - who did deserve it) justifying his vote FOR BILL CLINTON (who made Nixon look like a Boy Scout) that way, it makes me more and more nauseous.

I'm a solid Conservative - and Fred will NEVER get my vote.

Posted by Janet from Tucson | June 25, 2007 7:13 PM

For what it's worth, I don't know Fred Thompson's acting career. I believe he was in a movie I saw about 15 years ago. (Just checked imdb.com. He was.) I know him from when he was a senator. I liked him then. I am prepared to like him now. We'll see.

Posted by Monkei | June 25, 2007 7:33 PM

welcome to national exposure and running for president, I suggest that the Law and Order star stay out of the race as long as he can, everyone LOVES the guy who is not running ... until he runs and then the dirt digging starts ... enjoy the free ride as long as you can Senator. I still can hardly wait until everyone gets a look at the "trophy" bride.


Posted by capitano | June 25, 2007 8:13 PM

It's not just the movers and shakers in the Dem party; the lefty rank and file is scared sh**less at the prospect of facing Fred in the 2008 election. Most of the comments I see from them mirror Monkei's -- all personal attacks.

Fred will swat them away like he did Michael Moore: "Mental institutions Michael, think about it."

Posted by Nedra Lee | June 25, 2007 8:25 PM

I am delighted that Fred has so many scared and running for whatever kind of crapola they can dig up about him. He is one cool guy and swats away the dissenters with abandon.

Posted by ian | June 25, 2007 8:32 PM

I find criticism of Thompsons tenure in the senate amusing - lack of noteworthy bills, leadership on some issue, etc.. - a lot of them apply equally to Obama. Personally, I welcome a vacation from grand, sweeping 'solutions'. I cringe whenever someone in congress describes a program as 'innovative' - I reach for my wallet and dread the unintended consequences.
For the next president, I just want someone solid, with a lot of common sense and who communicates well.
Fred seems to fit for me.

Posted by tgharris | June 25, 2007 8:49 PM

For those unhappy enough with Fred to stay home come election day....How do you like the idea of Hillary nominating federal judges, and probably at least two associate justices to the SCOTUS? Do you like that idea enough to prove a political point by staying home November 2008? I don't.

But hey...so far....I kind of like Fred.

Posted by Carol Herman | June 25, 2007 9:37 PM

Well, what do you expect?

Politics is not a humor contest. Where Gene McCarthy, a professor from Boston, got up on stage; won in New Hampshire back in 1968. And, scared LBJ all the way back to Texas!

While, back then, Robert Kennedy played "Hamlet."

A better question would be; since politics is a "prize fight" of sorts; how good's your opponent?

Heck, I remember Mohammed Ali. HE WAS GORGEOUS! Doesn't mean you weren't allowed to swing at him if he was your opponent in the ring.

Out of the ring? Ali did poetry.

And, in spite of Ali's poetry, there are no butterflies in this contest.

The dope, Scarborough already said that Fred's wife was a former dancer; who danced around poles. Telling you more about where Scarborough spends his time off the air. Than it does about Fred.

I'm sure, now that Fred is "almost" in, he's well aware of what's ahead. Besides the audiences who will applaud. And, all the people who will throw him money. AND, THEY WILL! There's gonna be this bilge, that flows as commentary, Because our old media is down in the gutter. What else do you expect to see and hear from them?

McCain, meanwhile, fades. Of course, to those of us who thinks he's fading, he's gone on record that we're "smoking" something stronger than cigarettes. Nope. I don't smoke at all. And, I still think McCain's about to fade away. As he's not really getting money.

And, McCain's fade?

Well, McCain is a senator ON STAGE. And, People have drawn conclusions from that, that stretches behind McCain, to Lott. And, McConnell. And, God knows, who else.

IF the Bonkey's had their way, they'd find a way to eliminate all the competition. So, we should consider ourselves lucky that we're still able to vote, huh?

There's also another bonus to Fred. Since he's gonna be viewed through the Internet. He's learned how to use it. Hillary's Soprano ad just demonstrates she really doesn't know how to grab attention, unless she's willing to play the Mafia heavy. And, then it registers on no one where that thought leads.

How far away are we from November 2008? You have to ask?

How expensive is it to "run?"

And, are their hidden benefits?

Well, one benefit could be on the STAGE. Even though Gene McCarthy did not win the White House; he still stood on the stage with Mort Sahl, and made a CD. Comedians do that.

Fred Thompson is an actor. He stands a good chance of being at the top of the GOP ticket. And, another good chance at coming in Veep. It all depends. (But it doesn't depend on Dubya. Or as he might be called, ahead: Jimmy Bush.)

Can Fred get more attention? You bet! Does more attention, help? You bet! The "other actor" got a tremendous run when he became president.

And, no matter what else, Fred Thompson will get to become MORE famous. He may also do it the "frugal" way; as George Soros and others go insane, in their attempts to stop him.

Meanwhile, over in France, the impossible happened. Swamped with muzzy's, and muzzy rules, the population came out strong to vote. And, voted for Sarkozy.

So, it just goes to show ya. When you have to run against the pompous elites, having people on your side, is in your favor.

This stuff is better than a horse race.

Posted by Gary Gross | June 25, 2007 10:16 PM

If the DNC is afraid of Thompson in the general election, why are they driving conservatives to him? That's the question I ask here. I'm predicting that their strategy will fail miserably.

Posted by KendraWilder | June 25, 2007 10:47 PM

Posted by: Monkei at June 25, 2007 7:33 PM

"...enjoy the free ride as long as you can Senator. I still can hardly wait until everyone gets a look at the "trophy" bride."

She's a woman blessed with both looks and brains. Pretty hot ticket, and it would give me giggles to see a long line of stodgy First Ladies get a modern image boost from such a gifted and talented lady!

You EmotiDems are so shallow, you wouldn't know "class" if it hit you in the head and knocked your socks off. ;-}

Posted by Del Dolemonte | June 25, 2007 10:57 PM

Monkei said:

"everyone LOVES the guy who is not running ... until he runs and then the dirt digging starts ..."

Is that you, Carville?

Speaking of trophy brides, last time I checked Laura Bush had a job approval rating of between 68% and 76%

Posted by Ordinary Coloradan | June 25, 2007 11:29 PM

Try Citizens For Thompson for a summary - and a nice picture of the author of the article being arrested for deportation in Mexico where she helled the Zapatistas - after coming from Berkeley.

Plus if you include all the years, pre-and-post its actually even less in average. remove one client (The British insurance company), and thats half the revenue earned, brining Fred's lobbying earnings, on average, down to less than a janitor makes yearly.

One other thing to consider - during the late 80's, he as a counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, and several other government bodies, and was recognized as one of the top 100 lawyers in the nation.

Posted by Grumpus | June 25, 2007 11:31 PM


The Dope that you refer to is Kieth Oberman, not Joe Scarborough. It was Oberman who called Fred Thompson's wife a Pole Dancer. He always presents a Loony Left rant.

Joe Scarborough has a show on the same cable channel (MSNBC?) and is that channels Token Conservative. He is a former Republican House Member, from Ohio, I Think.

While, Kieth Oberman is a former Sportscaster.

Posted by Rose | June 26, 2007 12:14 AM

For those unhappy enough with Fred to stay home come election day....How do you like the idea of Hillary nominating federal judges, and probably at least two associate justices to the SCOTUS? Do you like that idea enough to prove a political point by staying home November 2008? I don't.

But hey...so far....I kind of like Fred.

Posted by: tgharris at June 25, 2007 8:49 PM


I never stay home from an Election - I'll find someone to vote for - but it won't be someone with a demonstrated ability to KNOW BETTER than to vote that Bill Clinton is not guilty of Perjury.

If that is the way a former prosecutor in the Watergate hearings does with Bill Clinton, why on EARTH would I trust him with a nomination of a SCOTUS benchwarmer?

For all I know, he'd nominate John McCain!

Hillary cannot do WORSE.

I will NOT put MY tag of approval on that type of action.

Here's a hint for those of you concerned about Party Unity in the GOP - I didn't vote for Gerald Ford, or for Robert Dole, or for H.Ross Perot.


I will not vote for Giuliani, McCain, Mitt,, Newt, or Fred, either.

I have good reason to believe that means a few million other LIKELY VOTERS will be driven off, as well.

And when Fred told Sean Hannity last week that he tried to base his decision on Bill's perjury charge ON THE FOUNDING FATHERS, AND CALLED IT A TRIVIAL MATTER - THAT CINCHED IT! That made me furious beyond wildest descriptions.

I know the Founding Fathers better than to think they would also call Bill's perjury on international TV in a personal injury lawsuit A TRIVIAL MATTER THAT DOES NOT RISE TO THE LEVEL OF IMPEACHMENT!

Alexander Hamilton put his life on the line and DIED to prevent a man of lesser sins from being elected to that same office.

Hell will freeze over - I don't give a rat's patootie who the DIM party is running.

If you more liberal-minded GOP voters want UNITY, you know where to get it.

And it ain't with a Clinton ENABLER.

Justice has been a mockery in America for far too long!

What Fred did makes me want to vomit. I get sicker over it every single time I think of it.

One of FOUR GOP SENATORS to side with TOADY CHAPPAQUIDDICK KENNEDY over Bill Clinton's impeachment!


Posted by Vince | June 26, 2007 12:18 AM

There's also been some misguided criticism of late from pundits on the right side of the political spectrum as well about Fred Thompson. I answer some of their assertions here:


Posted by Casey Tompkins | June 26, 2007 12:28 AM

First: Rose, calm the heck down. Clinton comitted perjury, true, but it was regarding a matter not material to the Whitewater investigation. In fact, Clinton's perjury holds certain parallels to Libby's perjury. Alas, Libby's testimony was more direct (more material) to the original investigation.

Clinton should have been impeached, but not convicted, and I'm speaking as someone who voted for both Bushes, but not Clinton.

...But that's not why I decided to post a comment.

The good captain says that Fred initiated "close to 100 ... bills and amendments" during the 106th Congress.

Ed: my question is: isn't Fred supposed to be the lazy one?


Posted by Carol Herman | June 26, 2007 2:08 AM

For starters, a lot of people don't vote. They don't show up. And, it doesn't matter. It's still a system that works by identifying America's mainstream. Where lots of people are going along with the choice.

There's also a percentage of people who do vote; who want to vote for the "one that wins." So they'll compromise. And, go in that direction.

By the way, Tom DeLay, in his wonderful book, says Impeachment of Clinton was STUPID, politically. Because, in 1998, there were GOP House Members who lost their seats. Because they were there trying to Impeach the president. Blowback's a bitch.

DeLay also mentions that the most important thing about politics is COMPROMISE. And, the best way for him to get there was to set a very right wing agenda, back in 1994, so that Clinton was forced to the CENTER.

Voting is really all about finding the center. And, also using the bully pulpit of the Presidency, to seek American support. Reagan did this very well. Dubya can't. He's not skilled. And, he been spending his political capital in ways it's now lost. That's today's headline at Glenn Reynold's InstaPundit. That Bush bet his ranch on immigration. And, won't recover capital, now.

By the time Bush leaves office, we may see him departing as JIMMY BUSH.

While, HERE, the most interesting observation I have is that the Bonkeys' are scared of Fred Thompson. But not any other senator! As there seems to be no life line left to McCain. Whose current bus is called the DOUBLE-TALK EXPRESS.

Fred's got great opportunities, ahead. He's approaching this on a shoe string. He's gonna be looking for financial support through the Internet. And, he's gonna also run a "different" campaign. Doing commercials spoofing the Soprano's isn't up his alley.

IF the Bonkeys are foolish enough to run a negative campaign, I think they're missing the mood, here. Most Americans are rather sick and tired of all the name callling. I haven't seen that as a winning tactic for quite some time.

As a matter of fact that was both Abraham Lincoln's style. And, Ronald Reagan's. There was no need to say nasty things about one's opponents. There were real issues of the day on the table.

And, since the Internet is now a real component of REACHING OUT TO PEOPLE; it's my guess that whatever the old textbooks said, the new one is even better. No need to talk to pundits. And, hope they write editorials giving you support. The puppies using those pages for toilet training, don't read. And, that crap no longer matters.

On the other hand, between the two parties. At this time. The GOP seems to have a better selection of candidates. And, whatever the press generates, like Nixon used to say, "as long as they spell your name, correctly."

There'd be no show without a little tension.

From where he started? He's well ahead. And, if you think Hillary's worried, you haven't seen the painful expressions on the faces of other senators; who can't get out of single digit territory.

To win, you need a national reputation. And, not one poisoned by the current mess in the senate. Following Dubya's lead seems to have been a mistake.

The other thing? Given that Hillary has very high negatives, how does she overcome them by being nasty? Even if you want to call this "playing to type?"

We should be taking bets to see if Hillary is actually the one standing there, come the Bonkeys' nomination. My bet's on Bloomberg, making the cross-over. Because he can flash even more cash than John Kerry could, when he opened his wife's purse. If we're supposed to learn from history? That's history enough for me.

Posted by Sissy Willis | June 26, 2007 5:18 AM

"Thompson has been vocal in his support of Libby, saying that he would 'absolutely' pardon him. As he runs for president, he'll try his hardest to hide the truth from the American people. And we need to stop him."

Well, which is it? Is he vocal or is he trying to hide the truth?

Oh, and as for remembering "the Republican culture of corruption," the new, improved Democrat culture of corruption is much fresher in our minds. Have a nice day. :-)

Posted by The Yell | June 26, 2007 5:23 AM

Ah the Delay Strategy: run on a Reform agenda you'll compromise away once you win; don't rock the boat punishing crooks in high places; keep it about the $$$ not passing legislation.

Sounds like a Perfect Plan to stay a minority party forever.

Who offers impeachment for the popularity? it's about stopping a crook from getting away with it.

I'm not sure about Fred; I am disappointed this is a Popularity Contest and not an effort to whip the whole Party into shape for a solid four years of sound policy. Part of the comparative strength of the Democrats is that everybody understands, more or less, what a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President will try to do.

But if all they can do is complain that he was a FORMER lobbyist and his wife looks yummy...sheesh, it's his to lose.

Posted by quickjustice | June 26, 2007 5:52 AM

Red Chinese Army officials sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom at the Clinton White House? The Clintons outsmarted Fred when his Senate committee investigated suspicious Clinton fundraising in Asia and China. The Asian bagmen and women fled U.S. jurisdiction before Fred's committee could slap them with subpoenas. We lost our opportunity to nail the Clintons for impeachable offenses involving sale of our national security to a foreign power.

I personally heard Henry Hyde tell a GOP group that "All Starr gave us was the sex." Had Ken Starr been able to make a case for impeachment of the Clintons based upon egregious bribery of the Clintons by a foreign government, the entire American nation would have cheered him on.

Posted by tgharris | June 26, 2007 9:16 AM

"Hillary cannot do WORSE."

Rose, you can't be serious.

Posted by SSG Fuzzy | June 26, 2007 9:25 AM

I never stay home from an Election - I'll find someone to vote for - but it won't be someone with a demonstrated ability to KNOW BETTER than to vote that Bill Clinton is not guilty of Perjury.

In hindsight, would you have wanted Gore as President? Now that's a scary thought, huh!

Posted by Eric | June 26, 2007 1:06 PM

Time for a reality check.

It isn't just dems attacking the RINO. Conservatives don't like him either. He is just McCain redux

Posted by Project Vote Smart | June 26, 2007 4:00 PM

For more information on Senator Fred Thompson please visit http://www.votesmart.org/bio.php?can_id=22003 or call Project Vote Smart’s hotline at 1-888-VOTE-SMART.