Before the latest flavor of the month is replaced by a new one, it seems like a good time to address this. Law and Order fans are positively excited about a potential run for the GOP nomination for President by McCain-Feingold supporter and actor Fred Thompson. He’s got name recognition going for him (he’s on a “hit” TV show I’ve never watched) as well as the same name as the silent movie era actor. Thompson fills in for Paul Harvey on occasion so his voice is known by talk radio addicts. He’s also been out of politics for awhile (as a former Tennessee Senator replaced by Lamar Alexander in 2003) so he’s a bit of a blank slate. And, as an actor, he looks Presidential. Given the title of the television series he stars in, he’s presumably pro-law-and-order. All positives I suppose for Fred’s swooning fanbase.
According to the New York Times:
The glowering, hulking Mr. Thompson has played a White House chief of staff, a director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a highly placed F.B.I. agent, a rear admiral, even a senator. When Hollywood directors need someone who can personify governmental power, they often turn to him.
Hey, he sounds a little over-qualified to me! Maybe it’s just that my fellow Republicans are dreaming of another Ronald Wilson Reagan, which I’m sure Fred could portray (he is an actor after all). But he’s not Reagan. Not even close. I’m frankly not very clear on what else the appeal is. Maybe Fred supporters can rush in here and explain it to us.
The obvious question to me seems to be: what other actors could run for President? Cliff Robertson played a spooky commander-in-chief in John Carpenter’s Escape from L.A. He was preceded by Donald Pleasance (who has a soothing name) in Escape from New York. But Pleasance also played the villianous Blofeld in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. And he’s British. And he’s dead. That’s three strikes against Don.
Christopher Walken is running. Maybe Warren Beatty could be his running mate. The 9/11 Truth kooks could draft Charlie Sheen, who believes that 9/11 was an inside job. Martin Sheen, Charlie’s dad, has already played the President on West Wing. That doctor guy on Lost might make a good leader, or at least play one.
Commander Adama from Battlestar Galactica (either version) could certainly make a fine commander-in-chief in the War on Terror. There’s been a couple of Presidents on Fox’s hit show 24. Maybe even Jack Bauer could run. He certainly knows how to solve epic problems. And he’s an expert on terrorism. Why not Fox Mulder or Dana Sculley? They certainly tackled a lot of cases on The X-Files.
Fred Grandy played Gopher on The Love Boat and later served in the House. Ben Jones played Cooter on the television series The Dukes of Hazard and also served in the House. Cooter Davenport, er, Ben Jones appeared on Fox News frequently during the Clinton impeachment. There are so many actor-politicians to choose from!
Consider this an open thread. What is the appeal of an actor running for President? Who else should run? Why the current excited gushing over hunky Fred Thompson?
I’d personally rather have a proven principled conservative running for President rather than someone who plays on TV or the big screen. Someone like Senator Sam Brownback, perhaps?
Why not let actors act and leaders lead? I suppose it’s up to the voters to vote.