Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Fred Thompson's Floppy Performance

In 1966, during his first political campaign, Ronald Reagan was asked what kind of governor he would be. "I don't know," he said. "I've never played a governor."

Using Reagan as a role model, Fred Thompson is running for President, but he just can't seem to get the dialogue right. Yesterday he told a South Carolina questioner "we will not be a safer America if the whole world watches us being defeated by a bunch of kids with improvised explosive devices."

Trying for Reaganesque earthiness, Thompson came up, as he often does, with a mouthful of mush, prompting Democratic candidate Joe Biden to call him "totally divorced from reality" about "a civil war between lethal militias."

Citing Thompson's foot-in-mouth flubs about Terri Schiavo, the Everglades and lethal injections in his home state, the National Journal noted that although "some conservatives herald Thompson as a modern-day Ronald Reagan, his recent gaffes seem to indicate he's more like the next George W. Bush."

Looking back at Reagan's presidency, Joan Didion observed that he "regarded his daily schedule as being something like a shooting script in which characters came and went, scenes were rehearsed and acted out, and the plot was advanced one day at a time."

But Reagan never blew his lines, something Thompson still has to learn.

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