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Tuesday, September 25, 2007
posted by SteveT | 10:05 AM | permalink
Is Fred Thompson running against himself?

In the last few weeks, Fred Thompson has been making some appearances around the country trying to sell himself as some kind of conservative firebrand. In the process he seems to be tripping over his own voting record. Let’s look at some specific issues.

No Child Left Behind Act

Now (Washington Post):
Thompson told a crowd in Jacksonville that Bush's signature education program isn't working and that he would provide federal education money with fewer strings attached.

"We've been spending increasing amounts of federal money for decades, with increasing rules, increasing mandates, increasing regulations," Thompson said. "It's not working."

He added that there are problems with Bush's No Child Left Behind program, which requires annual testing and punishes schools that don't make progress.

Then (National Review Article):

December 18, 2001

Thompson Praises Final Passage of Education Bill
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) today voted for final passage of The Leave No Child Behind Act, legislation based on President Bush's education reform proposal.

"The Leave No Child Behind Act sets an important new direction for federal education policy," Thompson said. "The combination of flexibility, accountability, and choice provided by the Act is a significant step towards ensuring that all of our students receive a quality education.

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage

From The Washington Post:

When he says he would have opposed adding the prescription drug benefit to Medicare, "a $17 trillion add-on to a program that's going bankrupt," he is fighting the bipartisan judgment of the last Congress.
There is only one problem with this, Fred has voted for a prescription drug benefit in the past, specifically 2001 (

Voted YES on funding GOP version of Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Vote to pass an amendment that would make up to $300 billion available for a Medicare prescription drug benefit for 2002 through 2011. The money would come from the budget's contingency fund. The amendment would also require a Medicare overhaul.
Reference: Bill H Con Res 83 ; vote number 2001-65 on Apr 3, 2001

So he voted for the $300 billion dollar drug benefit in 2001, but would have voted against the estimated $395 billion dollar package in 2003. Is there anything outside of his new found presidential ambition that would cause him to change his mind?

Global Warming

Just to add one last example of where Fred Thompson seems to be saying one thing to conservative audiences and then something else to other people, is the issue of Global Warming.

From his columns and speeches, we get this (Washington Post):

Thompson seems to have taken particular pleasure in mocking global warming.

"It seems scientists have noticed recently that quite a few planets in our solar system seem to be heating up a bit, including Pluto. . . . This has led some people, not necessarily scientists, to wonder if Mars and Jupiter, non signatories to the Kyoto Treaty, are actually inhabited by alien SUV-driving industrialists who run their air-conditioning at 60 degrees and refuse to recycle," he wrote.

... Scientists who insist that global warming is ruining nature, he said, are like those true believers four centuries ago who insisted that the Earth is flat. "Ask Galileo," he said.

Except this is what he told some voters earlier this month in New Hampshire (from the Manchester Union Leader):
…a couple of young environmentalists asked him very well-rehearsed questions about global warming…He told the global warming guys that climate change was real and that the United States needed to address it. He mentioned working with other nations to find solutions, but he had no specific agenda. (Afterwards, the activists said they were not satisfied with his answer.)

What can we take from this? Will Fred Thompson fight the environmentalists tooth and nail or will he be the next to sign a new version of Kyoto?

So which is the real Fred? The guy who in speeches to conservative audiences and news columns appears to be very conservative or the far more moderate senator?

From previous shifts on Immigration, Abortion, McCain-Feingold and now No Child Left Behind, Prescription Drugs and Global Warming, Fred seems to be running from his past. The interesting thing is that much of this stems from his voting record, not just past statements on the issues.

With a growing list of position changes, Fred has some explaining to do. In the end, one can conclude that Fred Thompson is no more the candidate of consistency than any of the others.


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Check out the hit piece on Fred Thompson, including a few things the media never talks about. To read it go to

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