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Thompson: Let the oppo games begin
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I touched on this in my post "Establishing the Fred Thompson Brand". Now it seems it is beginning in earnest:
Opponents and their researchers have begun working — mostly behind the scenes — to highlight perceived soft spots in his conservative bona fides.

And Thompson will have to neutralize questions on the campaign trail and in the media about his centrist votes in the Senate, his stances on litmus test conservative issues including abortion and — perhaps most significantly — his work as a lawyer and lobbyist.

Thompson's biggest challenge will likely be cementing his image as a conservative country lawyer fixin' to shake up Washington — before his opponents brand him as an influence peddler and trial lawyer.
The good news for Thompson is if he strikes back quickly and effectively, he can neutralize these attempts to characterize him. The bad news is, this is just the beginning. But, of course, it isn't at all surprising nor should it be unexpected. That's politics today.

What will be interesting to me is to see the sources for the opposition research finally come to light. An obvious guess at this point is we'll find connections to the various Republican campaigns he threatens with his entry - specifically Rudy. It is much more to Giuliani's advantage to hurt Thompson's "conservative credentials" than anyone simply because of all the top tier Republican candidates, Rudy is the least conservative. Bringing Thompson down to his level in that regard is important, politically.

The five areas Kenneth Vogel believes the attacks will focus are:
— Lobbyist: Thompson made nearly $1.3 million over about two decades of lobbying both before and after his eight-year Senate stint, according to government documents and media accounts from his successful run for the Senate in 1994.

— Trial lawyer: Before Thompson won his Senate seat, published reports said his private law practice handled personal injury cases and defended people accused of white-collar crimes. And in the Senate, he opposed some legislation intended to rein in escalating jury verdicts and attorneys' fees.

— Campaign finance reformer: Thompson was among the leading Republican backers of the sweeping package of campaign finance reforms commonly known as McCain-Feingold.

— Centrist senator: Though the influential American Conservative Union scored Thompson's Senate career voting record at 86 percent, some of the votes on which he strayed from the GOP fold could prove problematic for ardent partisans.

— Abortion-rights supporter: Every time Thompson got the chance in the Senate, he voted with those who oppose abortion rights. But the social conservatives for whom abortion is a litmus test scrutinize every bit of a politician's record — and Thompson's provides some fodder for opponents to question the depth of his opposition to abortion rights.

On candidate surveys in 1994 and 1996, he answered that he favored abortion always being legal in the first trimester of pregnancy and opposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution "protecting the sanctity of human life."
Let's see how these issues and questions are answered. If Thompson wants to frame himself as the "great conservative hope" for the Reps. getting clear and concise answers about these issues out there quickly is going to be the key to success in that endeavor.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I think it’s bizarre (but good for America) that the GOP can barely manage to field a 2008 candidate that’s actually anti-abortion.
 
Written By: Mithras
URL: http://mithrastheprophet.blogspot.com
Isn’t it just?

I’d be more interested in how the candidates stack up on the libertarian issues.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
1.3 million over 20 years???

That’s 65,000 a year.

Wow.

Boy, good thing they’ll focus on THAT. Would hate to see a guy earn a middle-class income from lobbying...

*rolls eyes*
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Well, there is a big difference between being conservative, and being a Conservative...

I consider myself conservative, cautious about change, sometimes resistant to it. I certainly do not agree 100% with Conservatives, nor Republicans, nor Libertarians. Nor anyone else for that matter.

The nature of politics is compromise and consensus in legislation.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
The good news for Thompson is if he strikes back quickly and effectively, he can neutralize these attempts to characterize him. The bad news is, this is just the beginning. But, of course, it isn’t at all surprising nor should it be unexpected. That’s politics today.

What will be interesting to me is to see the sources for the opposition research finally come to light. An obvious guess at this point is we’ll find connections to the various Republican campaigns he threatens with his entry - specifically Rudy. It is much more to Giuliani’s advantage to hurt Thompson’s "conservative credentials" than anyone simply because of all the top tier Republican candidates, Rudy is the least conservative. Bringing Thompson down to his level in that regard is important, politically


Sorry, but this is the type of thing where, aside from a small exception or two, his record should speak for itself. If its something he needs to be ’neutralized’ through campaign strategy, I would need to wonder.

Bush never really pretended to be a conservative or at least he was transparent to me. He didn’t get my vote in 2000 because of that. And outside of his response to terrorism in the first couple of years following 9/11 and some tax cuts (mostly freezing actually), he’s been no conservative.

I don’t need another Democrat in Republican clothing, especially if he is not going to be honest about it. Guiliani is at least honest about it sometimes and semi-honest when evades or BS’s tough questions.

Thompson has a persona that would make one assume he was a relatively hardline conservative. But if that’s not true, honesty is the best policy for us voters. But perhaps not for Fred to get elected.

Show me the money!
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Reagan’s opponents used to bemoan his "teflon" nature. I think Thompson may have some of that.

People who are subconsciously used to thinking of Fred as a the character they see on Law & Order are not going to be overly receptive to a wonkie presentation of Fred’s supposedly questionable past. It’s going to take something pretty solid to stick.

And Fred’s best defense against the small potatoes attacks is to just laugh them off. His strategy of not playing by the traditional rules of a campaign would suggest that anyway. He doesn’t want to get drawn into dreary discussions of what he did as a lobbyist. He’ll just craft some joke about it, and pop that off whenever the subject comes up.

As an example, see his canned response when someone talks about his limited tenure in the Senate. He says "After eight years in Washington, I longed for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood". Whatever you think of the guy, that’s going to play well with the average voter, given what current opinion polls say about Congress.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Thompson gave an interview to John Fund of the WSJ a couple of months ago where he said that McCain/Feingold wasn’t working, and he was thinking that the best alternative was to repeal it and go to 100% Internet reporting within 24-48 hours.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
Just a quibble, Rudy is least conservative on a narrow range of social issues. on nearly all other issues, small government, fiscal policy, foreign policy he sounds MORE conservative than most of the other candidates.

Fred is indeed a centrist and I am just afraid right now to pick anyone who has had a close relationship with John McCain. I have come to loath McCain.
 
Written By: kyleN
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog

 
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