Defenders of Thompson Just Like Defenders of Bush by Richard A. Viguerie
FOR RELEASE July 30, 2007
The defenders of Fred Thompson’s troubling record have not attempted to explain, mitigate, or refute any of the concerns expressed in my article, “Conservatives, Beware of Fred Thompson.” Rather, they’ve attacked the messenger.
That’s exactly what President Bush’s political appointees--Peter Wehner and William McClay--did in response to my article in the Washington Post, “Bush’s Base Betrayal” and my book, Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause (Bonus Books, 2006).
That’s an additional warning sign that Thompson may be a lot like Bush. Remember when Bush was running, a lot of good people thought he was a conservative.
Boy, were they taken in!
We’ve got to make sure we don’t go down that road again--not with Thompson or anyone else.
With Thompson, there are some definite warning signs. He was not actively pushing conservative legislation when he was in the Senate. The only issue he displayed any leadership on was--are you ready?--the McCain-Feingold Bill, which he cosponsored. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) said the bill could not have been passed without Thompson’s tremendous help.
In defending his support of this horrible legislation, Thompson has said he did not realize how the law would actually work.
Really? How exactly did he think it would work?
The Los Angeles Times discovered that, before Thompson was elected to the Senate, he had been a lobbyist for an abortions right group. Thompson denied it. Then, the New York Times located the billing records, thereby providing “the smoking gun.” This raises significant questions about either Thompson’s honesty or his mental abilities to recall significant information.
Sure, people change their mind on issues, including abortion. We welcome converts to the pro-life side. Thompson could have said, “I regret being a lobbyist for the abortion industry. But because I was once in a leadership position in support of abortion, I’m better able now to combat that point of view.”
Instead, he demonstrated that, at best, he might need medical attention to correct serious lapses in memory. I don’t know anyone who could forget about doing 20 hours of work for a pro-abortion group. At worst, Thompson may have gotten caught trying to “pull the wool over our eyes.”
The Washington Post’s investigation found that, before his election, Thompson worked as a lawyer who argued against the government’s authority to regulate drug paraphernalia. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled against Thompson.
In another case, Thompson tried to challenge U.S. Customs’ right to search a boat on which 28,000 pounds of marijuana was found. Fortunately, the U.S. Court of Appeals disagreed.
In addition to his work as a criminal lawyer, Thompson has filed a lot of civil suits. As a result, the political action committee of the plaintiff lawyers gave him the maximum $10,000 donation to each of his two Senate campaigns.
The Post reported, “Thompson defied Republican orthodoxy almost as soon as he arrived in Washington in 1995 as a freshman senator.”
To be fair, Thompson’s lifetime voting record in the Senate from the American Conservative Union was 86.1%. That’s not too bad. But it’s not as good as a lot of Republican senators, especially those from “red states.”
Conservatives need to take a good look at all of the candidates. We need to ask hard questions. If there’s a problem, we need to find out about it now, not later.
By raising issues of concern to conservatives, the campaigns can be forced to address our issues, rather than playing defense on the liberals’ terrain.
Obviously, Thompson would like to capitalize on his television persona as far as it can take him without having to take specific stands on tough issues. The truth is he’s no different from a lot of other candidates who’d like conservative support without firmly committing to conservative positions.
I’m going to do my best to see that doesn’t happen.
I hope conservatives will not be “climbing on board” the Thompson bandwagon or anyone else’s bandwagon without getting good answers to our questions and concerns.
Thompson can use the questions that have been raised about his record to try to establish a real bond with grassroots conservatives. If he does, he can win the nomination and the election. But if he comes across as a Bush-type Big Government Republican, I can tell you how this movie will end.~Richard A. Viguerie
Indeed. Conservatives have been betrayed. I for one am fed up. I take a lot of heat for grilling Fred. I think we can do better with the proven record of Duncan Hunter.