Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fisking the LATimes: Thin Gruel in Attack on Fred

The LATimes again attempts to 'educate' conservatives who don't recognize that Fred Thompson isn't really with them. They're grasping at straws. (A note: all the text in this post was in the LATimes article at the time I wrote this; history shows it could disappear within minutes):

An actor, lawyer and lobbyist, Thompson seems to have earned more forgiveness than McCain for breaking with conservative dogma, in part because his maverick streak was tempered by an easygoing manner and a willingness to stick with the GOP on most issues. But it may also be because conservatives who back him now know less about Thompson's Senate record than they do about his performance as a district attorney in the television hit "Law & Order."
This is really as far as you need to read in this article -- up to the line about Thompson's 'willingness to stick with the GOP.' Others might characterize such a person as 'a conservative.' But of course, that would really screw up the whole theme. Can't scare conservatives if you admit that that's what Thompson is.

They then turn to the pot to slam the kettle -- a supporter of Mitt Romney, who was ardently pro-choice until relatively recently:
"He carries the same baggage that McCain carries," said James Bopp Jr., an antiabortion activist who is backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination. "Time does dim memories, and people need to be reminded of his support for McCain-Feingold."
I think that most blog readers at least, are well aware of Thompson's support for McCain-Feingold, as well as his stepping back from that support. Was his vote wrong? Yes. But there's no such thing as an elected official who hasn't made the wrong decision -- probably quite a few times. It's not bad to recognize an error and own up to it.

Next comes a quote from Judicial Watch regarding his failure to produce a smoking gun in his hearings on campaign finance violations:
"Thompson had a chance to show leadership and did not," said Larry Klayman, the conservative lawyer who issued the "wanted" poster to criticize Thompson for not running more aggressive hearings on President Clinton's fundraising.

"I would not vote for him for president."
I'll look forward to more vetting of the hearing, but if there was no smoking gun in evidence...
When the Senate voted in 1998 on impeaching Clinton on charges arising from his affair with an intern, Thompson was one of 10 Republicans who voted against conviction on one of the two counts.
Oh wow. He only voted to convict Clinton and remove him from office once. Would the effect have been cumulative if he had voted to convict twice?
And Thompson, a former trial lawyer, opposed elements of a GOP effort to curb lawsuits.
Unfortunate. But he opposed tort reform on grounds of federalism. It led to a strong criticism by Ramesh Ponnuru who claims -- as I read it -- that Thompson was inconsistent in applying his federalist views. He also says that Thompson voted not to cap legal fees as high as $92,000 per hour, where federalism was not an issue. Ponnuru calls for 'hard questions' for Thompson -- so be it.

Lastly, the Times also criticizes Thompson for his opposition to an amendment to outlaw abortion:
Abortion may prove to be an unexpectedly touchy area. He built a consistent antiabortion voting record in the Senate, but he also opposed a constitutional amendment to ban abortion.
I have to ask: who supports such an amendment? Certainly not any candidate for national office today. And not the current President -- who has consistently received strong backing from pro-Lifers. There are undoubtedly pro-Lifers who dream of the day when such an amendment could succeed, but it doesn't even rate a mention on a list of priorities.

Is the LATimes going to write about the problems the Democratic candidates have because they don't back forced unionization for all workers? or for full federal funding of all abortions?

Thompson is clearly scaring the Democrats. They're tripping over themselves to try to take him down a peg. But the LATimes ought to give it up. Pieces like this are only likely to help him.

Update: Also check out Allah.

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