Thursday, September 13, 2007

George Will Attacks Thompson Candidacy

George Will harshly criticizes Fred Thompson's entry into the race for the Republican presidential nomination as "more belly flop than swan dive." In the course of what follows, Mr. Will expends some ink on a valid criticism of Mr. Thompson followed by a cheap shot at the end.

Mr. Will, who, to his credit, has perhaps been the most persistent and vocal journalistic critic of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform scheme, rightly takes Mr. Thompson to task for both his role in advancing that legislation and his weak attempts to distance himself from that role.

However, the columnist then launches into an odd rant based on the notion that Mr. Thompson is attempting to become the "darling of religious conservatives." Mr. Will's criticizes Mr. Thompson's insincerity based on a response the candidate gave to a question about his church attendance. However, I don't recall Mr. Will criticizing Ronald Reagan's rather infrequent church attendance as evidence of hypocrisy at the time that he also courted religious conservatives.

For that matter, I have never thought of Mr. Thompson as seeking to become the unique candidate for conservatives who are religious. Indeed, there are a whole range of conservatives, religious and otherwise, who are less than overwhelmed by the other alternatives being offered. Is a fiscal conservative supposed to have a lot of enthusiasm for Mitt Romney and his Massachusetts health care fiasco? should one concerned about federalism have any great confidence in the potential judidical selections of Rudy Giuliani? It would seem that Mr. Thompson is seeking to have appeal across that entire range of disaffected Republicans.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly should know that The Oracle is a huge fan of Mr. Will's writing. However, his dislike of religious conservatives has become so vitriolic that it impairs his judgment whenever they enter even the peripheries of the picture.


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