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Fred the Phony, Part One

Over the next few weeks, I intend to start taking what record Fred Thompson has apart, piece by piece and revealing that the proclaimed "conservative" alternative is nothing more than just another Washington hack.

Where better to start than the most divisive political issue of the pre-9/11 period - impeachment? As some of you will remember, the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton. One accused him of perjury, the other with obstruction of justice.

50 Senators voted guilty on the later, 50 not guilty. 45 Senators voted guilty on the perjury charge, 55 not guilty. Among that 55 were 10 Republicans. They included John Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins of Maine, Jim Jeffords of Vermont, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, John Warner of Virginia, and Fred Thompson of Tennessee.

The same people who would, if they could, primary Specter or Collins are the most resolute supporters of Fred Thompson. Yet Fred Thompson voted with some of the most liberal Republicans in the Senate to acquit Clinton of the perjury charge. And what was Thompson's explanation at the time?

It's basically a bunch of legal nonsense, difficult, if not impossible to parse unless you've been trained to understand it. The gist of Thompson's reasoning, if you can call it that, is that perjury is not an impeachable offense. For those of you out there who think Fred Thompson is going to respect the Constitution, you might want to read both his speech and the Contitution, if you're capable of it of course. (It's probably not safe to assume with Thompson supporters.)

The House of Representatives has the authority to pass articles of impeachment.

But perhaps more laughable is Thompson's conclusion with respect to one of the cited instances of perjury in the Article of Impeachment. Thompson not only said that Clinton's statement was "literally true" but concluded: "I am not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the President lied when he testified that he made this statement." For those of you who remember why Clinton was accused of perjury, it's quite a remarkable statement.

In a later post, I will examine Fred Thompson's role in the Nixon Impeachment. We'll find out that he was much more eager to destroy a Republican President than he was a Democratic one.


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Comments (41)

>Over the next few weeks, I... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Over the next few weeks, I intend to start taking what record Fred Thompson has apart, piece by piece and revealing that the proclaimed "conservative" alternative is nothing more than just another Washington hack.

This coming from a Rudy supporter... what a laugh riot.

I understand if you disagre... (Below threshold)
CosmoReaxer:

I understand if you disagree with Thompson's vote, that's one thing. But you're calling him a fake-conservative because he only voted for one article of impeachment? Does that make George Will a fake-conservative because he doesn't think the surge is working?

Would you like to mention to readers that you are a Giuliani supporter?

That's fine. I like Giuliani even though I know he is less of a conservative than Thompson. But if you're arguing that Thompson is not conservative enough, I have no idea why you're backing Rudy.

With respect, I believe you... (Below threshold)
Jim:

With respect, I believe you are guilty of selective quoting fmr. Senator Thompson (who I do not presently support).

Admittedly, I only skimmed most of his rather lengthy remarks, however Fred Thompson's statement regarding a "literal(ly) true" statement was made in regards into the legal questions of the statutes and the laws.

Now, to say that Senator Thompson acted absurdly and in completely disrespect of the Constitution by saying that he wasn't utterly sure that Bill Clinton had committed perjury (as defined by law) or by by arguing (correctly) that the wording or the impeachment bill against the then President was somewhat problematic or by advancing the constitution argument, based on the words of Hamilton, (an interpretation I doubt) that the Senate can decline to remove if it chooses for certain felonies is well...I respectfully must differ.

Thompson was a shameless ha... (Below threshold)
Semanticleo:

Thompson was a shameless hack/spy for the Nixon Gang during WG. Perhaps impeachment brings too many nightmares back, in spite of the target.

Based upon the debates I ha... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

Based upon the debates I have seen...Huck is the person most electable...

However....the Republicans will experience what the Dems had in 2004....
I don't really believe in my candidate...

It says so much about the lack of enthusiasm by Republicans for their candidates that someone like Thompson would leap so high without being in a debate or subject to the serious scrutiny of other candidates...

Thompson's entry may help McCain with his age issue...

Devil's in the details.... (Below threshold)
yo:

Devil's in the details.

First, stating Thompson voted not guilty on Article 1 is true, though you kinda' glossed over the fact that he voted guilty on Article 2.

Granted, his reasoning for the not guilty on Article 1 is kinda' tricky, since he sometimes uses big words, Thompson states:

"In my opinion, these statements ( In large part, this article charges that the President committed perjury because he denied prior perjury. - yo, quoting Fred), while wrong and perhaps indictable after the President leaves office, do not justify removal of the President from office."

What Fred's saying is that the charges in Article 1 do not, in his opinion, warrant Clinton's removal from office. I don't necessarily agree with him, but I can see his point. He simply says that he sees reasonable doubt in the charges (committing perjury by not admitting to a previous perjury), and therefore cannot vote guilty.

What you leave out, and I'm assuming you'd expect us to gloss over the reading his entire article, is that he lays the hammer down on Article 2 - which he does vote GUILTY, and he does say his guilt on such charges warrant removal from office.

Note: voting not guilty were:

Chaffee
Collins
Jeffords
Snowe

Spector voted "not proved"


He even calls out other Senators (Bumpers, specifically) for NOT voting guilty via:

"So we castigate the President in the most bitter terms; decry his disgraceful conduct and his damage to the institutions we hold most dear; disgrace him with the most condemnatory language at our command and yet refuse to even consider his removal from office?"


Seriously - this makes Fred a phony?

Don't think so, but I commend your typing skills.

Bashing Fred for his voting... (Below threshold)

Bashing Fred for his voting record, That's a laugh, I am supporting Fred for the time being but he has precious little time left to make some strong statements about border security, Illegal Immigration, and economic plans.

Rudy???? HELL NO! NEVER, NOT going to happen.
If the choices are: A Democrat or Rudy or McCain, I vote Indy or write in.

"...if you're capable of it... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

"...if you're capable of it of course."

Well, snide condescension certainly gets you off to a good start. This statement alone causes me to want to dismiss anything else you say.

I am a tentative Thompson supporter. I think he is a political tsunami for the Democrats. The Patriot Post - the most popular conservative e-letter in the nation - has endorsed Thompson, calling his conservative credentials "unassailable".

There is no doubt that Thompson has made some dubious calls - but then, who hasn't? Some of his positions have also undergone transformation over the years. The latter is understandable for human beings. I think the changes have been for the better.

The point is not whether Thompson's conservative credentials are impeccable. The questions are 1) can Thompson win and 2) how does he compare to the other candidates in the race.

On count #1 the answer is an obvious yes. On #2 his "questionable" credentials trounce Rudy Giuliani's (speaking as a social conservative). Maybe Duncan Hunter or Mike Huckabee are sleeper candidates. I reserve the right to change horses in such an event. Unfortunately - as much as I like them - conventional wisdom says these two can't fulfill point #2.

You need to compare apples to apples my friend.

Economist.com June 5, 2007 ...He [Former Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN)] is a conservative, but no extremist--the American Conservative Union gives him an 86% approval rating...
This kid supports RG & thin... (Below threshold)
doubletrouble:

This kid supports RG & thinks FDT is too liberal??!?!
Yikes!
I'd like to see your blow by blow of RR's voting record, & his statements/policies through the years.
He wouldn't look so hot if the lighting was "just so" either.
Ah well...

"you might want to read bot... (Below threshold)

"you might want to read both his speech and the Contitution, if you're capable of it of course. (It's probably not safe to assume with Thompson supporters.) "

Yeah that's right, insults make you so much smarter! Wizbang is one of my favorite blogs. It still is, but I won't read your asinine ramblings. If you want to talk about Thompson's record, that is one thing, but insulting us who might be leaning that way or even favoring him is no way to do it.

You should be fired from posting at Wizbang, you second rate hack!

VW

He loves Rudy, but could ac... (Below threshold)

He loves Rudy, but could accept another.....Just not Fred!

You have serious problems, my friend!

Fred is Reagan (as close as we will get)....He is less than the others in many situations.....His decisions are true....

AND, he can speak out as no other of the candidates can...He is free of the many, many problems of our current GOP "herd".....

I am sure your questions will be resolved in the next few weeks....Mine already are!

Duke

I skipped reading the comme... (Below threshold)

I skipped reading the comments after the first few. I get the idea...you are stupid not because of what you have written, but because of Rudy. Bait and switch, such a left tactic, being used so well here.

I thought that the right to vote was to research during the campaigns and weigh the evidence...good bad or ugly.

I am for neither Thompson nor Rudy, yet appreciate the time taken to show us some of Thompson's record. Great example, and does show the caliber of Washington DC, and how far many will go to keep the club together. No different than a family, just a little too irresponsible for my tastes.

Please continue on, as if one thinks that you do not belong at Wizbang, I must strongly disagree...you are not feeding us koolaid, but making us think and chew over the post...then heartily either disagree or agree.
Jennifer

"Great example"...... (Below threshold)
yo:

"Great example"

... you probably should have read some more of the comments.

Fred the Phony, Part One... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Fred the Phony, Part One...

Fred FLINTSTONE?? A "PHONY"??

How dare you!! And you're going to devote multiple segments to "exposing" Fred FLINTSTONE?? Wowser!

But, Alex, if you're going to devote multiple segments to attempting to destroy Fred THOMPSON, then my respect for you just completely evaporated.

Not because I believe Fred, or anybody, is above reproach.

But because in a sea of Democrat candidates that are BELOW contempt, you choose to vilify a Republican candidate who is actually Conservative! (though apparently not "something" enough for you)

Alex...take a lonnnnnnnnng vacation.

(It's probably not safe... (Below threshold)

(It's probably not safe to assume with Thompson supporters.)

And at that point I stopped reading, because you're clearly not interested in having a discussion on the issues, you just want to name call. Apparently because people like a candidate who may dethrone your preference, that makes it okay to hurl insults.

I've been reading Wizbang for a long time, but I won't keep reading your posts -- I'm too stupid to, because I support Fred Thompson.

I'd rather we eat our own.<... (Below threshold)
gattsuru:

I'd rather we eat our own.

The Democrats can deal with festering wounds on the surface of their political party. We, on the other hand, can't, and shouldn't.

Hell, just from a practical standpoint : we're now a party where the worst that can be said was that one of them might have been gay and another may -- after the third prosecutor -- be worth a court case. I dare say that sounds better on the record than "drove girl off bridge while drunk, admitted to felony, only still in office due to f***ed up Massachusetts sentencing laws".

Fred used a load of legales... (Below threshold)

Fred used a load of legalese to state that the vague charges contained in the article -- were not properly worded charges, they were too vague, the house should have been specific....
Fred voted to impeach on the other article...

Fred was fair to Clinton..Fred was not a partisan hack, Fred took his responsibility as a US Senator seriously..unlike the vast majority of Senators (in both parties)

This isn't Football. You d... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

This isn't Football. You don't pick just anybody because they can help your team win.

As far as I'm concerned, "compassionate conservative" George Bush isn't much different from what used to be called a pro-corporate democrat. A spectacular Nexus issue for GWB is illegal immigration. Both the Democrat in him and the Corporate Whore in him are in complete agreement and he puts his middle finger up at the will of the people. He's dragged down all Republicans because of this as well.

If Thompson is cut from the same cloth, I'll be sitting out the '08 election.

Did I just stumble onto Wiz... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Did I just stumble onto Wizbang Blue?

And who is Alexander K. McC... (Below threshold)
Zaugg:

And who is Alexander K. McClure? If this isn't your first posting, it should be your last.

Who is this twit? A refuge... (Below threshold)
Brett:

Who is this twit? A refugee from Daily KOS? A DU plant?

Nice to start off with few insults to our intelligence, too. I think Fred's a pretty good candidate - and I guarantee I have a higher IQ than you do.

I hope you don't think you are helping Rudy, either.

Sorry for the triple-post -... (Below threshold)
Brett:

Sorry for the triple-post - not sure how that happened.

What part of the 11th comma... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

What part of the 11th commandment are the posters at wizbang having trouble understanding.

If you like some one better than Fred, great. tell us why your favorite is so great.

But bashing republicans is the job of the left. They have plenty of help from the MSM, so either change sides or shut up.

what part of the 1... (Below threshold)
jpm100:
what part of the 11th commandment are the posters at wizbang having trouble understanding.

If you like some one better than Fred, great. tell us why your favorite is so great.

But bashing republicans is the job of the left. They have plenty of help from the MSM, so either change sides or shut up.


Yeah, lets pretend they are all perfect. Because when it comes down the the Republican Candidate vs. the Democratic Candidate, the Democrats and the MSM will play along and not bring up any negative issues or criticisms of the Republican Candidate, either.

The time for the hard scrutiny in now before the Primary and not after when we're locked in.

This:" In a later... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

This:
" In a later post, I will examine Fred Thompson's role in the Nixon Impeachment. We'll find out that he was much more eager to destroy a Republican President than he was a Democratic one. "

versus this (from a commenter):

" Thompson was a shameless hack/spy for the Nixon Gang during WG. "


Oooooh! I can't wait to see which view is correct!

That is no gentleman; that ... (Below threshold)
kim:

That is no gentleman; that is my Senator.
========================================

Boy o boy...the "strategy" ... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Boy o boy...the "strategy" for '08 is sure shaping up...

If the choices are: A Democrat or Rudy or McCain, I vote Indy or write in.
Posted by Robert

If Thompson is cut from the same cloth, I'll be sitting out the '08 election.
Posted by jpm100

That's right folks...on ONE THREAD we have people "swearing" they'll sit out '08 if Thompson, McCain or Rudy is the nominee. Gee, are these ALL Romney rooters? Nah...if Romney is the nominee they'll "swear" to sit out because of THAT too!!

Getting tiresome for people to "swear" they'll sit out '08 if the Republicans nominate ANYONE!!

They either WANT Hillary to be President (and were thus sent here to try and keep folks from voting) or they are too stoooopid to realize the true damage a Hillary Presidency would do to this country. Either way...

Hey, I thought he did a ver... (Below threshold)

Hey, I thought he did a very creditable job as Minority Counsel for the Senate Select Committee.

So there's a third view. Or maybe just two, since Semanticleo will never pass the competency exam.

I disagreed with Thompson's judgment on Clinton, but as a practical matter there was never a chance of conviction once he had survived the first couple of months. Recall the Democrats were ready to throw him over while public opinion was against him, but Clinton hung on and fought and dragged it all out, basically calling Monica a liar - as had generally worked with all the others. If she hadn't saved the dress for DNA, he'd have walked away unscathed.

But by the time Starr delivered his report to the House, public opinion had shifted and the Democrats were all in line. There was never a chance of conviction, which requires 67 votes.

If we look at the record of almost any person who has had a career in public life, we can find things we disagree with. Primaries and general elections are never between the perfectly good candidate and the perfectly bad one. They're all human. The choice is between one we agree more with on philosophy and/or issues, and one with whom we agree less.

In the primaries, the factor of being able to win is a big factor, too. If it weren't, I'd might be a Gingrich backer, on issues if not experience. I think Thompson would be competitive with the Democrats, but I think Giuliani would, too, and I wouldn't rule out Romney or McCain on those grounds, either.

On experience is where Thompson is weakest. He lacks any executive experience at all, having never run anything larger than his Senate staff, but is applying to run the biggest operation in world history, the US government.

That criticism applies to most of the legislator candidates, including McCain, Brownback, Obama, Edwards, etc., as well, of course.

There's a reason we have only elected sitting Senators to the White House twice in our history, and a sitting Representative only once, but often elect Governors and Generals. Experience matters.

I'm a Romney supporter with... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

I'm a Romney supporter with fading support for Fred Thompson, but when I see Rudy supporters act like jerks toward Thompson supporters (Not capable of reading?) I tune them out.

Maybe you should go back to Polipundit where its typical to write like that.

Absolutely, Jim, that exper... (Below threshold)
kim:

Absolutely, Jim, that experience matters, and it shows most acutely in the candidate's management of his/its campaign. Kerry did as well with that as he did managing anything else he did. It's a miracle he was nominated. Anybody but Kerry could have beaten Bush.

However, I think Gephart/Kucinich could have put the second representative in. They'd have taken Missouri and Ohio and not lost a blue state.
======================================

'its'? Perhaps too strong,... (Below threshold)
kim:

'its'? Perhaps too strong, but were it my druthers, the whole village but she could rear my chilluns.
===========================================

Furthermore, it dehumanizes... (Below threshold)
kim:

Furthermore, it dehumanizes itself. It's a criminal enterprise. Watch that Hsunami RICOchet.
==============================

Woof, forty million dollars... (Below threshold)
kim:

Woof, forty million dollars missing from a single firms investment with Hsu. Beeeeeeg wave.

Read all about it in the Wall Street Journal.
======================================

OK,"Let he who hath no sin,... (Below threshold)
Steve:

OK,"Let he who hath no sin, cast the first stone."
Seriously, I am sure there are things that every candidate has done that aren't quite perfect but after reading this crap on WizBang "RED", sounds more like crap one would find on The Daily KOS. Whoever this Alexander K. McClure is, time to send him packing. He has no business here.

"...you are not feeding ... (Below threshold)

"...you are not feeding us koolaid, but making us think and chew over the post..." - Jennifer

I'll grant that as well, but I'm a little miffed over the insult to our intelligence, as others are.

At this point, I'm not a fan or detractor of Thompson. I'm open to hearing whatever drawbacks or virtues he has. This one is registering low on my give-a-damn meter. Perhaps McClure will have something more substantial (you know, something I'm "capable" of understanding) about Thompson in his next expose.

This post looks too much to me like the scads of negative ads we'll be hearing from 527 groups when the race gets hot.

I don't believe the persona... (Below threshold)
Jim:

I don't believe the personal insults directed at Mr. McClure are necessary.

Is this post serious? Thomp... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

Is this post serious? Thompson is a "phony conservative" because he didn't do everything he could to have Clinton impeached? Ridiculous. Sounds to me like Thompson put a lot of thought and reasoning into his decisions instead of simply acting as a partisan hack. As much as I would've liked to see Clinton impeached, I enjoy seeing a politician act in what he believes is right and not strictly on a partisan level. Who the hell is this Alexander McClure character anyway? He is obviously too intelligent for us peons here at Wizbang.

Tough crowd, huh, Mac? It ... (Below threshold)
kim:

Tough crowd, huh, Mac? It would be nice if you'd disclose who you do support, but I'm displaying shocking ignorance by not already knowing.
==================================

"I don't believe the per... (Below threshold)

"I don't believe the personal insults directed at Mr. McClure are necessary."

You're correct only in that two wrongs don't make a right. Mr. McClure's sweeping insult wasn't necessary either.

While still somewhat saddle... (Below threshold)
LAB:

While still somewhat saddled with a shadowed past, the "lawyer years" were decades ago. I still need to hear his views in full before just writing him off as a "distraction" candidate.

Two things. First... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Two things.

First I believe Alexander should have clearly stated his support for Guiliani at the start of the post. It would have put the lame hit piece he wrote in proper perspective.

Second, it seems to me that Alexander (who seems to be a student of the political process) supports Guiliani mostly because he is the most "electable" when the Average Joes are considered. Still that amounts to putting politics over principles. That is wrong on a number of levels and just because the left does it constantly does not justify the right doing it.

If Guiliani does get the nomination, his pro-genocide & anti-2nd Amendment stances will not keep me from voting for him, but I am sooooooooooooooooo tired of having to choose the lesser of two evils.

Yes, Guiliani is a little less pro-genocide and anti-2nd Amendment than Bill's wife and he's a lot less socialist than Bill's wife so I'd hold my nose, pray for forgiveness, and vote for him if I have to.




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