Monday, August 19, 2002

Fred Thompson Appears!

After a long period, nearly two years, of low profile--some might say hiding--Fred Thompson is back.

When he was first elected as Tennessee's other Senator, Thompson was branded a rising star and a sign of the "new" Republican party. He even got to give the Republican response to a Clinto State of the Union speech! But when Thompson convened the campaign finance hearings, it all seemed to go wrong.

The hearings turned up a gigantic snakepit of money abuse. It was all there and clear as day. The Clinton White House, and to a far lesser extent the Republican Party, were flouting campaign finance laws like never before. Unfortunately it was pretty complex to follow, the press had a hard time getting sound bites and comprehensible (i.e. sound bite) explanations, and the Clintons stone-walled like crazy. The hearings bogged down and then faded away. So too, it seemed, did Thompson's spirit. For a man who made his early reputation as a member of Sam Ervin's Watergate crew, it had to have been a bitter disappointment. What should have been a crowning success, a career-making highlight, sputtered instead into rug-sweeping ignominy.

So Thompson drifted into the background. He was even going to retire from Congress after a single term, something unheard of. A Senatorial career is a cushy lifetime appointment into the highest reaches of American wealth and privilege. To give it up is almost incomprehensible. But he was prepared to, until the Republicans needed to hang on to his seat. Thompson was prepared to stay another term, but then tragedy struck and his daughter died unexpectedly.

Today, Thompson has sprung back. The papers have announced that he will be taking the role of District Attorney on NBC's Law & Order, a part previously played by Dianne Wiest and Steven Hill. He's tailor-made for the part and since it's a part-time role, should fit his schedule, allowing him to fly down to New York (I presume) from Washington to film it.

Now he's appearing in political ads for Lamar! Alexander, touting Lamar! like he's sliced bread and good for you.

Welcome back, I guess. I hope you're happier now than you've been recently.

Until next time,
Your Working Boy

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