After watching former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson speak to a gathering of some 400 Virginia GOP fundraisers, I have realized what office he is seeking. He may not be seeking the office of George W. Bush, but he is certainly aiming to take over from Dick Cheney.
With grim faced-seriousness, Thompson was doing a first rate impression of Cheney. He blamed all ills on terrorism, Democrats, the Media and activist-judges. One comment that I found most spin-heavy and content-empty was the one where he railed against the Judiciary Branch, saying they had their priorities all wrong, that the government could seize private land for private development thru eminent domain but if you want to put a Nativity Scene on the Courthouse Lawn, you cannot. Huh??
It was a pure Rove-Speak event. While I was most curious to watch Thompson campaigning, what I saw was rather a sad continuation of the polices of the Cheney White House. Much anger, and much disappointment that the "media" was not telling the Good Stories.
And that pending Immigration Bill being pushed by President Bush? Thompson said it was all Teddy Kennedy's fault.
Guess he did not read the editorial last week by GOP guru Peggy Noonan, who said Bush's bill was the last straw and a sign for All Good Conservatives to Abandon Bush. She wrote that really, her disillusion (and the country's) has been growing for years:
"What I came in time to believe is that the great shortcoming of this White House, the great thing it is missing, is simple wisdom. Just wisdom--a sense that they did not invent history, that this moment is not all there is, that man has lived a long time and there are things that are true of him, that maturity is not the same thing as cowardice, that personal loyalty is not a good enough reason to put anyone in charge of anything, that the way it works in politics is a friend becomes a loyalist becomes a hack, and actually at this point in history we don't need hacks."
Well then - welcome to the America that George Hath Made, Peggy.
You can watch Fred Thomspson's pre-campaign speech here at C-SPAN's Road to the White House.
For a news round-up of CNN's debate for Democrat candidates last night, go here.
--P.S. The phrase "Hunt for Fred November" was sported on buttons at the Virginia event for Thompson.