Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fred Thompson, The Kick-Ass Candidate

This article in the Christian Science Monitor shows why Fred Thompson is a kick-ass kinda guy.

  • Fred Thompson: a maverick conservative who loves the law

  • The GOP presidential hopeful has often defied his party and colleagues to chart his own course.

  • from the December 13, 2007 edition
  • Page 1 of 2
  • Just a couple of weeks after the 1999 shooting massacre at Columbine High School, with emotions still raw and bipartisan calls for tougher action against crime, Sen. Fred Thompson (R) of Tennessee convened a hearing whose title, "Federalism and Crime Control," sounded like a law class...
  • Goldwater Influence
  • Thompson traces his political values to the 1960 book "The Conscience of a Conservative," the small-government manifesto by Barry Goldwater, the blunt-spoken senator who founded the modern conservative movement but never won the presidency.
  • Thompson read the book in college, and found himself drifting away from the Democratic politics of his parents. Associates say that as a young man, he was fascinated by historical figures who seemed to put principle before politics, like John Adams, who represented the British soldiers implicated in the Boston Massacre...
  • Early on, Basketball over Books
  • Growing up in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., a factory town near the Alabama border, Thompson wasn't anyone's idea of an up-and-comer. His father, Fletcher, ran a used car lot, and his mother, Ruth, kept house; both were high-school dropouts. A strapping 6-foot-5, Thompson was a class clown better at basketball than books. The staff of his high-school yearbook captioned his photo, "The lazier a man is, the more he plans to do tomorrow."...
  • Moving Up
  • In many ways, Thompson happened into a great deal of his success.
  • He was about 17 years old when his girlfriend, Sarah Lindsey, a schoolmate from one of the town's prominent Republican families, told him she was pregnant. Thompson asked her to marry him, and, despite some doubts, the Lindseys arranged a ceremony...
  • His association with the Lindseys moved him into a higher social circle, and hearing his wife's uncle and grandfather talk about their law careers raised his aspirations. "A lot of people along the way oftentimes saw more in me than I saw in myself," Thompson told a hometown crowd in Lawrenceburg in September, soon after announcing his bid for the GOP presidential nomination.
  • He graduated from Memphis State University with good enough grades for a scholarship to Vanderbilt Law School...
  • Watergate Performance
  • Baker won reelection and invited Thompson, just 30, to serve as minority counsel to the Senate Watergate committee. Investigating a GOP president – the man who effectively gave him his first government job – Thompson was in a position few Republicans would envy.
  • But Thompson turned it to his advantage. At a hearing, he asked the question that exposed Nixon's secret taping system to the public. He emerged as a minor celebrity, the levelheaded lawyer willing to follow facts wherever they led...
  • Election to Senate
  • After a career as a lobbyist and actor, Thompson was swept into the Senate in 1994 with the so-called Republican revolution, filling the seat Al Gore vacated when he became vice president. For the first time in 40 years the GOP controlled both houses of Congress, and it was a heady time for ideologues. Yet just a year into office, Thompson was going out of his way to highlight differences with his party.
  • "Attached is a [paper] noting your independence from 'the party line,' " a senior aide wrote in a January 1996 memo titled "Breaking from the Republican Pack." The memo catalogued a long list of votes against the GOP majority on campaign finance reform, consumer protection, and states' rights.
  • Before making policy choices, associates say, he'd often pore over the Constitution, the law, and the writings of the Founding Fathers. "He's a lawyer's lawyer," said Powell Moore, a former Senate chief of staff. "He's risen to the top of three professions: politics and law and movies. But the one he reveres, and is most dedicated to, is the law."
  • Before leaving the Senate in 2002, Thompson pushed for term limits, a Congressional pay freeze, and a raft of measures to make government leaner and more efficient. But in the end, he was better at standing firm than getting results. He compiled a slim record of legislative achievements, beyond his advocacy for the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform, a report on government waste, and an annual cost-benefit analysis of new regulations...
Read the full article here.

1 comment:

DR said...

I had not read this article. Thank you for posting it.