Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Thompson Answers 3 Key Questions

Posted by Adam Graham on March 11, 2007

Cross-posted from WhereIStand

Well, Fred Thompson showed up on Fox News Sunday and addressed the three key questions I raised in a previous post: Immigration, Campain Finance Reform, and Abortion. 

First, abortion:

WALLACE: [L]et’s do a lightning round — quick questions, quick answers, a variety of issues — to see where Fred Thompson stands.


WALLACE: Abortion.

THOMPSON: Pro-life.

WALLACE: Would you like to overturn Roe. …

THOMPSON: You said lightning round, now. If you want …

WALLACE: Well, let’s go.

THOMPSON: … more, give me another question. I’ll work through it.

WALLACE: Do you want to overturn Roe vs. Wade?

THOMPSON: I think Roe vs. Wade was bad law and bad medical science. And the way to address that is through good judges. I don’t think the court ought to wake up one day and make new social policy for the country. It’s contrary to what it’s been the past 200 years.

We have a process in this country to do that. Judges shouldn’t be doing that. That’s what happened in that case. I think it was wrong.

Thompson makes a slight move to declare himself pro-life. This matches up with his voting record. It may be a small flp flop in the eyes of some pro-lifers, but given that Thompson has been against Roe v. Wade, and against nearly every piece of pro-choice legislation proposed, it’s not the leap across the Grand Canyon that Mitt Romney’s change of position is. 

On Immigration:

WALLACE: You also favor comprehensive immigration reform. I want to…

THOMPSON: No, no, no, no.

WALLACE: Well, let me put up on the screen something that you said last year about illegals, and let’s take a look at it. "You’re going to have to, in some way, work out a deal where they can have some aspirations of citizenship but not make it so easy that it’s unfair to the people waiting in line and abiding by the law."

Now, you said, "Look, it’s just not realistic that we’re going to round up 12 million people and ship them all out of the country."

THOMPSON: Well, that’s true, as a general statement. We woke up one day after years of neglect and apparently discovered that we have somewhere between 12 million and 20 million illegal aliens in this country. So it became an impossible situation to deal with.

I mean, there’s really no good solution. So what do you do? You have to start over. Well, I’m concerned about the next 12 million or 20 million. So that’s why enforcement, and enforcement at the border, has to be primary.

I think most people feel disillusioned after 1986 when we had this deal offered to them before, and now we’re insisting that, you know, we solve the security problem first, and then we’ll talk about what to do with regard to other things — certainly no amnesty or nothing blanket like that.

But figure out some way to make some differentiation between the kind of people that we have here.

You know, if you have the right kind of policies, and you’re not encouraging people to come here and encouraging them to stay once they’re here, they’ll go back, many of them, of their own volition, instead of having to, you know, load up moving vans and rounding people up. That’s not going to happen.

Thompson is smart here. When Wallace suggests he’s in favor of Comprehensive Immigration reform he immediately responds, "No, no, no." He knows that’s pretty deadly politically. He takes a firm stand on the side of enforcement-first. Now, a lot of border security people are going to want some more details as to what his ideas are for what happens afterwards and how soon after border security we’ll move to a "solution".

WALLACE: On the other hand, you have taken some stands that conservatives may not like. For instance, you voted for John McCain’s campaign finance reform.

THOMPSON: I came from the outside to Congress. And it always seemed strange to me. We’ve got a situation where people could give politicians huge sums of money, which is the soft money situation at that time, and then come before those same politicians and ask them to pass legislation for them.

I mean, you get thrown in jail for stuff like that in the real world. And so I always thought that there was some reasonable limitation that ought to be put on that, and you know, looking back on history, Barry Goldwater in his heyday felt the same thing.

So that’s not a non-conservative position, although I agree that a lot of people have interpreted it that way.

This was troubling, and misses the reason that many conservatives are furious about campaign finance reforms. Had the bill done nothing more than ban soft money, it wouldn’t have been so hard to pass. The bill began telling citizens what they could and could not do a certain amount of time before an election and to continue to harp on soft money as the be all and end all of conservative problems with the bill is a tad dishonest. 

Thompson also showed his green leanings in calling for stronger emissions testing. This will definitely not sit well with conservatives who believe in free market solutions to problems and are concerned with over-regulation.

Thompson showed a tad bit of naivette about the process:

WALLACE: As you point out, by historical standards, it’s still very early, March of 2007. But your potential rivals are out there already building organizations, raising tens of millions of dollars. Don’t you, if you’re going to get into this. …

THOMPSON: Spending tens of millions of dollars.

WALLACE: That’s true, too. Don’t you have to get into this pretty quickly if you’re going to do it?

THOMPSON: I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I could be wrong, but I don’t. You know, historically, as you say, people have gotten in October, in that time frame. I don’t think you can wait that long anymore.

But you know, times are different in another respect, too. They’re different from a political standpoint, but they’re different in the country, too. I think people are somewhat disillusioned. I think a lot of people are cynical out there. I think they’re looking for something different.

They’re not necessarily willing to abide by the same rules politically as to their own behavior as voters. And I think that they’re going to be open to different things.

It will be interesting to me as I listen to people and learn and watch what’s going on and what’s the reaction, and the poll numbers and so forth, as to whether or not my instinct on that is right.

But whatever the case, the lay of the land will be different in a few months than it is today one way or the other, and…

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you…

THOMPSON: … one advantage you have in not, you know, having this as lifelong ambition is that if it turns out that your calculation is wrong, it’s not the end of the world.

WALLACE: I read one article that said that the timetable was you would make a decision by May.

THOMPSON: I don’t know where that came from. I’ve never said that.

WALLACE: Do you have any kind of a deadline?


WALLACE: Could you go into the summer? Could you go into …

THOMPSON: I think so.

This may indicate Senator Thompson doesn’t get it. He is late in the process. We’ve got less than 11 months to Super Tuesday. In order to be competitive, you have to raise funds and build support. Of course, many people launch exploratory committees, and should Thompson do that, he can explore without committing.

Thompson is better than Rudy McRomney, but could be little more than a well-intentioned distraction in the same class as Newt Gingrich. A "dream candidate" who dangles himself before conservatives but gets so late into the process that he fails to pull the trigger for various reasons including the great distraction and sideshow that is running for President.


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