With the announcement that former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson has thrown his hat into the presidential ring, it should be noted that Mr. Thompson does not wear a hat. Nor do any of the other candidates of either gender. The last candidate to campaign in public with a hat was President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. But I digress.
Fred Thompson is a Republican. As such, he is being dismissed by the media as simply a former actor on TV's popular Law and Order. They conveniently omit the fact that Thompson first came to national attention as the minority (Republican) counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973-74. Mr. Thompson's mentor and sponsor was Sen. Howard Baker, R-Tenn. Baker was a well-connected and powerful voice of reason and conciliation and the ranking Republican on the Watergate Committee. Thompson was campaign manager for Baker's successful re-election to the Senate in 1972.
Thompson, an attorney, was the main questioner for the Republicans of the various witnesses who came forward to testify about the events that eventually led up to the unprecedented resignation of then-President Richard Nixon in August 1974. Mr. Thompson acquitted himself well and projected the dignified image of a pipe-smoking Southern gentleman who was just trying to get to the truth. He prompted his ally Howard Baker to ask one of the Watergate witnesses, "What did the President know and when did he know it?"
In my opinion, Fred Thompson is not as much of a conservative as some of the other Republican candidates for the highest office in the land. I feel that he is still being mentored and sponsored by the soon-to-be 82-year-old Howard Baker. As such, his publicly stated positions are less like to change in the event of his election. In short, you can believe what he promises, for the most part.
Mr. Thompson is fond of paraphrasing the late Sen. Adlai Stevenson, D-Ill., about the latter's philosophy on running for the presidency, which goes something like this: "In order to do what has to be done to be a candidate for the presidency, I don't know that, if elected, I would be worthy of the presidency."
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