Thursday, June 07, 2007



With Bush's acceptability-- not just to the American people, who have given up on him long ago-- but to his own co-dependent political party, continuing to plummet, Republicans are desperately casting around for a white knight. One thing they know about Tuesday's debate: there was no one on that stage worth looking at twice. It was just one hateful, ignorant embarrassment after another. How could anyone with half a brain-- who has America's best interests at heart-- consider any of them? Ergo: Fred Thompson. And today's USAToday takes a look in his direction to see how he'd hold up. Forget for a moment the disreputable gaggle of felons and fascists (the Victoria Toensings and Tim Griffins and Dave Bossies and Lawrence Lindseys) he's embraced as a campaign staff-- all the semi-respectable GOP operatives are already engaged-- and let's just look at the real Fred. First off, he may be best known to the public as an actor but to DC Insiders he was, is, and always will be the lowest form of life: a lobbyist (just like Giuliani)-- what an opponent once called a "Gucci-wearing, Lincoln-driving, Perrier-drinking, Grey Poupon-spreading millionaire Washington special-interest lobbyist."
Although the folksy-sounding Tennessean recently told USA TODAY that he would run an outsider, just as he did while campaigning as a "country lawyer" in a red pickup during his 1994 U.S. Senate race, his résumé is that of a longtime Washington operative who has crossed ideological lines to represent corporate and foreign clients.

Before he was elected to the Senate, Thompson spent nearly two decades in Washington as a lawyer-lobbyist, representing such entities as Westinghouse, the deposed leader of Haiti, the Teamsters Union pension fund and the Tennessee Savings and Loan Association, according to Senate records and published accounts.

After he left the Senate in 2003, Thompson resumed his acting career with a role as the district attorney on TV's Law & Order. Less visibly, he registered in 2004 as a lobbyist for Equitas, a company created to manage the asbestos liability for Lloyd's of London.

Equitas hired a bevy of lobbyists to protect its interests in the proposal to set up a federal trust fund, paid for by insurers, asbestos-makers and others, to compensate asbestos victims. The bill failed to pass, but before that happened, Equitas got what it wanted: a change in a provision the company said singled out foreign insurers for unfavorable treatment. Jon Nash, a firm spokesman, on Wednesday credited Thompson as having "contributed to the successful outcome."

The company paid Thompson $760,000 from 2004 to 2006, according to Senate records.

Any doubt on who's behalf he's spent his career in politics working for? Consumers, taxpayers, workers? Not a chance. He's always been owned, lock, stock and barrel by whomever can afford to pay him those fat 6-figure checks for using his influence on their behalf. One of Thompson's spokespersons whined to USAToday that "Many of the candidates from both parties have been lobbyists or have been lobbied at one point or another in their careers. It is an honorable endeavor that goes back to the beginnings of this republic." Yeah, that's what Jack Abramoff's spokesperson used to say too.

USAToday also points out that the hypocrisy issue is sure to take a bite out of Thompson's ample ass. Whenever anyone was willing to write a check big enough "Thompson lobbied for causes he would later criticize as a senator. For example, Thompson led a Senate effort against 'corporate welfare.' As a lobbyist in the 1980s, he represented Westinghouse in its failed bid to win billions in subsidies for a nuclear reactor project in Tennessee, which the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, called 'a multibillion-dollar folly.'"

As my pal Matt Ortega said, "FDT is to a good ol' country boy as GWB is to a cowboy." He may excite the Republican base-- especially the ones who, like Fred, think Libby is above the law and shouldn't serve a day in prison for the crimes he was convicted of-- but he's not going to do much for normal Americans sick of the Bushes, DeLays, Gonzaleses, Roves, Abramoffs and Cheneys.

I promise to not do this again for the duration of the campaign:

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