Bring It On!

Is Fred Thompson Live or on Memorex?

May 9th, 2007 | by Omnipotent Poobah |

The LA Times recently carried an article about actor and would-be Republican Presidential candidate Fred Thompson. The article questioned whether a 19-year old TV roll as a hate-spewing bigot will hurt him if he decides to run. The blog Whizbang calls the article a “stupid smear piece”. However, it seems more a story about why such “stupid” worries happen in the first place.

The Times wonders if clips of the show - taken out of context and downloaded to YouTube ad infinitum - might prove embarrassing during a possible run. Sure, that sounds stupid, but it’s a valid fear in an age when voters can’t tell the difference between life and Memorex. Republican strategists are little worried and probably have every right to be.

Are They Live or on Memorex?

When voters can’t tell the difference between real people and TV characters we’re in trouble, but that’s not where the trouble ends. Our electorate also expects candidates to have detailed opinions or plans about every conceivable issue. You’re a catfish farmer? “What’s your position on EU price supports for imported catfish.” You make shoelaces? “Imported Brazilian shoelaces are killing us here. What’s your bailout plan” Your pet project provides sleeping quarters for wayward deep-space aliens? Well, you get the idea.

Voters also expect total consistency on every issue, regardless of whether new questions reveal aspects the candidate has never considered. None of us are ever totally consistent no matter how hard we try, nor should we be. Absolute consistency suggests a serious deficiency of critical thinking skills and an aversion to tweaking your opinion on complex issues as the situation evolves. Show me a candidate who refuses to consider new information or look at the same problem from different angles and I’ll show you a glossy 8×10 of a smirking cowboy.

We expect angelic morals and “presidential” behavior devoid of any human characteristic. We want political robots of infinite capacity who magically make decisions completely simpatico with our own without having ever made the tiniest misstep.

You forgot to pay Social Security taxes for the kid down the street who mows your lawn? Why, you’re a non-tax paying scofflaw who isn’t fit to set foot in the White House.

Cutting Our Noses Off to Spite Our Faces

That totally unrealistic expectation powers the tsunami of gotcha episodes that put the fear of Zeus into regular people who think of running. Some who decide not to run have the smarts and talents we need to solve issues larger than catfish subsidies or flag-burning amendments. Through our ham-handed demands, we’ve cut the viable field of candidates down to an ever-shrinking pool of idiots, gangsters, and self-aggrandizing bints, equally hated by right and left.

We’ve cut our noses off to spite our faces.

Just what the hell are we doing?

Cross Posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

[tag]politics, fred+thompson, omnipotent+poobah, bring+it+on[/tag]

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  1. 9 Responses to “Is Fred Thompson Live or on Memorex?”

  2. By SteveIL on May 9, 2007 | Reply

    Wizbang has it right. The liberal LA Times put out a hit piece based on bullshit. Another bit of leftist “journalism” attempting to create the news instead of reporting it. Shameful.

  3. By Jet Netwal on May 9, 2007 | Reply

    The article is about how things can be taken out of context in this day and age, and that is certainly the truth. It doesn’t smear Thompson, if anything, it put the lines of the role out there and emphasises that it was just an acting role.

  4. By SteveIL on May 9, 2007 | Reply

    I don’t think so, Jet. This was an article from a reporter with an agenda trying to create “news” out of crap. Otherwise this role Thompson played so many years ago wouldn’t have featured so prominently in the piece.

  5. By Jet Netwal on May 9, 2007 | Reply

    You have more faith in the kindness of strangers than I do, SteveIL. If you don’t see a swiftboat out of this, more power to you. I think Republicans are right to have some concern about how things can be construed, which is the point of the article.

  6. By Craig R. Harmon on May 9, 2007 | Reply

    It’s hard for me to imagine that Thompson could be hurt by any roll he played, including Wiseguy. Regardless of the possible unkindness of strangers, I think the electorate knows the difference between actor and roll.

  7. By Ron on May 9, 2007 | Reply

    Why oh why would anyone want to smear Fred whatshisname anyway? Who even cares about him? This guy has about the force of a fart in the Republican primaries, no one would waste time on a hit piece. Wouldn’t make any sense to me.

  8. By Jersey McJones on May 9, 2007 | Reply

    CAreful there Ron. Thompson could be the dark horse who runs away with it all…


  9. By Omnipotent Poobah on May 9, 2007 | Reply

    I have to say you have more faith in your fellow citizens than I do.

    Actors will tell you that it’s not uncommon for someone to confuse fantasy and reality in that way. And with most of the population unable to pick out their own state on a map, I’m not sure they’re much better at distinguishing other things either.

  10. By Craig R. Harmon on May 9, 2007 | Reply


    Well, if it is true, they’ve been watching years now of continuous (weekly on the networks and numerous times daily in syndication) Law & Orders with Fred Thompson’s thoughtful, serious, no-nonsense, middle-America mug staring them in the face. If Americans truly can’t distinguish fantasy from reality, what reality will they remember? One role that he played years ago or the role he’s been playing on one of the most popular television programs ever? He comes off very well on the show.

    Thompson may or may not be presidential material but I still don’t think that it will be his Wiseguy role that brings him down.

    By the way, I understand that Sam Waterston, the long-time assistent DA on the show is active in the Unity08 movement.

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