More on Fred Thompson, the Actor Who Would be President

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Yesterday, I wrote about how Law and Order star and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson is currently third in GOP polls. A Slate article today points out that Thompson is the Republicans’ “therapy” candidate — depressed by the imperfections of supposed frontrunners McCain, Giuliani, and Romney, Republicans are turning to the man who looks appealing and makes them feel good. Slate paints him as the Republicans’ Barack Obama. (Feel the excitement at draftfredthompson.com.)

But like with Obama, there are questions about whether Thompson has the substance to back up all his style. Thompson’s experience consists almost completely of eight years in the Senate — he has no other governing experience and his Washington work before coming to the Senate in 1994 was as a lawyer in the Watergate hearings and eighteen years as a lobbyist. Oh, and he was in The Hunt for Red October and Die Hard 2. And Sex in the City!

But the Republican base has shown a willingness to overlook a lack of prior experience when choosing presidential candidates. In fact, the comparison to George W. Bush is particularly apt. Thompson is from the south and wins hearts, not minds, based largely on folksy charm and “man’s man” swagger. He doesn’t have any foreign policy experience, and he enters (or returns to, I suppose) the national consciousness as something of a blank slate. So should we call off the contest and hand Fred Dalton Thompson the Republican nomination?

Not just yet. In a major break from the GWB formula, Thompson is under fire from none other than James Dobson for not being Christian enough. Originally, Dobson said he wouldn’t support Thompson because he wasn’t a Christian. Thompson’s people fired back that Thompson had been baptized in the Church of Christ (phfft, as if baptism is the standard; one must be a veritable foot soldier for Christ if they want to succeed in today’s GOP), prompting Dobson to respond that Thompson does not talk about or live his faith enough. Dobson said instead that he liked Newt Gingrich, who has a past full of indiscretions and truly awful moral behavior, but confessed his sins and confirmed his faith to Dobson early this year.

So give that a shot, Fred. Divorce your wife while she is in the hospital with cancer, remarry just months later, fail to make child support payments, then cheat on and subsequently divorce your second wife to marry an aide twenty years your junior. Then tell James Dobson you’re sorry about it all. You’ll be a lock.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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