As a Romney supporter, its hard for me to understand why people would choose Fred Thompson over Mitt. Some of my friends in the Mitt-supporting blogosphere seem to be having the same problem, and one of them asked Thompson supporters to elighten those of us who just don’t whats so great about Thompson. Here is how he phrased it:
– Why is Senator Thompson the superior candidate to be the Republican nominee in 2008? Specifics.
– What specific leadership qualities make him superior to Mitt Romney?
– What specific leadership experience qualifies Senator Thompson as superior to Mitt Romney?
– We know the dozens of huge successes in Mitt’s career. What specific successes in Senator Thompson’s life or career are superior to those of Mitt Romney?
He got a few replies, and, while I am not going to cover them all, I thought I might share my favorite with you. It came in the form of a list, I have broken up each item so that I can better provide my own thoughts on each statement. Here we go:
Unlike Mitt, Fred is a conservative.
Right, becuase pro-family, pro-life, pro-military, and pro-economy are all Liberal positions?
Unlike Mitt, Fred opposes gay marriage.
Last time I checked, it was Romney who led an effort to get a deffinition of marriage amendment onto the ballot in Massachusetts, not Thompson. Romney is firmly in favor of traditional marriage, of course, that does not mean that Thompson is not, just that both are in favor of the one man, one woman, style of marriage we base the family on. Next please.
Unlike Mitt, Fred answers his detractors quickly and sharply, taking no prisoners.
Really? Wow, he sure moved quickly against those allegations of pro-abortion lobbying. He really worked to bat down any rumors of improper PAC spending too. In reality, Thompson has let his supporters and his spokesmen do the fighting for him, unlike Romney, who is quick to stop any rumors or bad situations get out of control.
Unlike Mitt, Fred has lots of Washington experience.
This one, taken at face value, is true. However, most of that experience came in the form of a Washington lawyer and lobbyist – not as a hard-working, productive, skillful Senator or Representative. Romney, as the comment points out, does not have any Washington experience, but he does have loads of experience as an executive and a reformer. Some of that experience is political, though most of it is as a business leader. Moving on:
Unlike Mitt, Fred has never supported abortion.
Uh, come again? Fred has never supported abortion? Well, I guess not, if you don’t count the times that he marked pro-abortion boxes on candidate surveys, made pro-abortion comments during debates and interviews, and the possibility that he still supports abortion in the first trimester. Look, Romney’s record on the issue is not perfect either, but at least he admits he was once wrong.
Unlike Mitt, Fred has mastered the internet as a tool for reaching voters. His political blogs are frequent and inspiring. Mitt seems to limit himself to politically correct press releases and speeches that have been homogenized by advisers so as not to offend anyone.
Really? So then who was the guy who had the little Mini-Mitt walking around on his website last month? Who is it who has their sons blogging about the campaign? As for the speeches, the writer of this list obviously has not seen or heard about the “Ask Mitt Anything” sessions.
Unlike Mitt, Fred doesn’t have to spend $100 for a haircut.
Uh, yeah, well, Mitt is the one with the hair. But, how is this relevent?
Unlike Mitt, Fred isn’t from Massachusetts.
Well, if you want to get to the heart of it, Mitts not from MA either, he was born and raised in the same Michigan county where I live. But once again, why is this relevent?
Fred’s TV presence is much better than Mitt’s. If there’s anything we should have learned during the Bush administration, it is that TV presence is critical.
Well, if you are talking about Fred’s job on Law & Order, where he has the lighting, script, makeup, and direction to produce movie-quality appearances, we might be able to debate it, though, I think this comment is leaving out a few things about Romney. So far, we have seen Romney in three major TV appearances, the debates. Each time, Romney was in an unscripted situation, with only broadcast-quality camera angles and lighting, and he performed nearly flawlessly. His height, overall looks, and speaking skills make him an extremely impressive figure on TV or anywhere else.
Fred has the debating skills to eat Hillary alive. Mitt is way too mild mannered to deal properly with the shrew.
Well, we really have not seen Thompson in any debates yet, so I’m not really sure where this comment is based. The point about Mitt’s “mild mannerness” are also a little off. I’m not sure America wants another at-the-throat kind of person running for President, that is why we have Hillbilly, oops, Hillary on stage. What Romney lacks in hostile speaking, he makes up for in substance, an area where I’m afraid Thompson falls far short, and the one area where people are likely to pay the most attention. One-liners are good, and they get laughs (“John Edwards in a Beauty Parlor”), but when people go to cast their vote, they are going to be looking for a President, not a stand-up comic.
Fred is a strong supporter of real border security. I haven’t heard Mitt say much in this area.
This statement seems rooted in ignorance rather than loyalty to Thompson. Romney has talked about border security, calling for ID cards, and opposing complete amnesty for illegals, he actually opposes any path to citizenship for illegal aliens. Romney has also called for increased immigration by skilled workers and educated people – an area where I have heard little from Fred Thompson. Finally:
One of my major problems with Mitt is that he is bland. Everything he says and does is bland. Bland is not what we need in the face of rude, shrill Democrats.
Bland? Romney has the kind of warmth and charisma seen in very few Presidential candidates, extremely rare since Ronald Reagan used it to win in the 1980s. Fred, on the other hand, from what I have seen of his live appearances, is the deffinition of bland. Thompson’s dull, broken, look-at-the-podium speaking style is boring, and its not going to fly at the debates or against a Democrat. On the final point, the last thing we need in the face of rude, shrill Democrats is rude, shrill Republicans.
After reading this list, I’m no closer to understanding Thompon or his supporters than I was before I read it. I’m sure Fred Thompson is mostly Conservative, and I’m sure he is a good guy, but he is not an impressive candidate, and he is not the best man for the job.