Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Odds on Fred Thompson

So the former senator, “Law and Order” star and Paul Harvey substitute Fred Thompson is entering the Republican presidential race. Or is he?

According to the Politico, “Fred Dalton Thompson is planning to enter the presidential race over the Fourth of July holiday.” The Tennesseean tells us that “Thompson plans an unconventional campaign for president using blogs, video posts and other Internet innovations to reach voters repelled by politics-as-usual in both parties.”

Not so fast, says Jim Geraghty of National Review Online, who was told by an anonymous Thompson advisor that “There will be no July 4 announcement… There was some discussion of a June 4 beginning of fundraising; that’s the date checks will be collected. I suspect that’s where there was some confusion.” The lovely Kate Phillips of The Times’s Caucus blog has clearer details: “We’ve now confirmed that former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson is taking formal steps toward a presidential bid, through the formation next week of a ‘testing-the-waters’ committee that will allow him to do some fundraising.”

Whence all the confusion? Any coyness on Thompson’s part may have as much to do with campaign laws and entertainment contracts as with politics. Phillips explains: “The ‘testing the waters’ committee is not as stringently regulated as a formal exploratory committee, he said, so that Mr. Thompson can complete some of his private speaking engagements… (Update: Mr. Thompson often subs in for Paul Harvey on the ABC radio network, which would pose an equal time issue if he were an official candidate.)”

As if that weren’t enough new candidate news, Ballot Access News reports that, when asked in a radio interview whether she might consider running for the Green Party nomination for president, former the Georgia Congresswoman and Capitol Police engager Cynthia McKinney replied: “With the failure of the Democratic Congress to repeal the Patriot Act, the Secret Evidence Act, the Military Tribunals Act, I have to seriously question my relationship with the Democratic Party. The idea has not been ruled out. All the current Democrats running for president support the principle of potential military action against Iran; none of them is for impeachment of the President. They can’t speak for me. I am open to a lot of ideas in 2008.”

O.K., here’s where we stand for 2008: the Democrats’ frontrunners are the first serious black and female contenders ever for the oval office, and their primary race is now in jeopardy of becoming the boring one.


It’s Not Paranoia If They’re Really Out to Get You

In June 2004, Annie Jacobson and her family were flying from Detroit to Los Angeles when she observed suspicious behavior on the part of several Muslim-looking passengers and warned the crew. The article she wrote about it for caused a minor sensation, with conservatives saying it proved that the government was falling down on the job of protecting air travelers, and liberals telling her to take a “chill pill.”

(Disclosure: in what seems another lifetime, Jacobson was a college acquaintance.)

Now the Department of Homeland Security has released its report on the incident (you can find it on Jacobson’s site, here) and, in the opinion of Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters, it “confirms that Annie Jacobsen accurately recounted suspicious activities on a Northwest flight from Detroit to Los Angeles in the summer of 2004, and that a number of Syrians attempted a dry run for a terror attack. Eight of the 12 had already been flagged for criminal or suspicious behavior, and the apparent leader was involved in a similar incident later as well.”

  • Congressional Republicans are divided over the immigration reform proposals. Right wing bloggers? Not so much. Check out these results from an informal poll by John Hawkins at Right Wing News.

  • Jacob Sullum at Reason agrees with Rep. John Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, that the current campaign-finance/lobbying reform bill is “total crap.”

    Unlike Murtha, however, he wouldn’t vote for it. His libertarian solution: let the market decide: “In addition to restoring our First Amendment rights, campaign deregulation would address one of the main concerns about bundling: that it gives incumbents an unfair advantage,” writes Sullum. “If challengers could collect unlimited amounts from wealthy individuals, it would be much easier for them to mount credible campaigns, and we might be spared candidates whose main qualification for office is a fat bank account.”

  • Tobin Harshaw

    No comments: