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Today in Good Lines


Garance reminds me of Belle Waring on Fred Thompson: “First of all, are women voters, taken as a whole, really so much like retarded kittens in our motivations? And secondly, doesn’t Fred Thompson pretty much look like a basset hound who’s just taken a really satisfying shit in your hall closet? Finally, even if we restrict our field of play to Republicans who have played prosecutors in the later seasons of Law and Order, I would much, much rather have sex with Angie Harmon, even though I’m not gay.” Indeed.

Of course, his objective attractiveness has nothing to do with why (predominantly heterosexual male) political reporters believe him the height of rugged handsomeness. Rather, it’s because he’s a Republican, and hence therefore represents an ideal type of masculinity to some journalists, just like America’s Mayor and Straight Talkin’ John McCain. (Alas, given his history when Matthews called Thompson an Aqua Velva man I’m pretty sure he meant it as a compliment.)

…I think this from Michelle Cottle’s profile, about conservative activists who seem to think they’re voting for his Law & Order character, is also relevant:

Happily for Thompson, his on-screen record of leadership is more successful–and vastly better known. Indeed, his four-year stint playing District Attorney Arthur Branch on “Law & Order” is arguably his number-one qualification for a presidential run. It’s not merely that Thompson’s character is a commanding yet avuncular figure; it’s that he’s an explicitly and appealingly conservative one, a type you don’t often find on network television. Within the context of the show, Branch is a down-to-earth, common-sense conservative surrounded by twitchy liberal Manhattan types whom he can lecture about their squeamishness on capital punishment and their ludicrously broad interpretations of the Constitution.

Authoritative but not authoritarian, paternal but not tyrannical, strong but not scary, Branch is, in many ways, the portrait of an ideal conservative. And, in the minds of countless Americans–including many inside the Beltway–Fred Thompson is Arthur Branch. As Bob Novak put it in a column a few months ago, “Sophisticated social conservative activists tell me they … are coming to see [Fred] Thompson as the only conservative who can be nominated. Their appreciation of him stems not from his eight years as a U.S. senator from Tennessee but from his role as district attorney of Manhattan on Law & Order.” One shudders to think how the unsophisticated activists decide whom to support.

I guess they didn’t learn their lesson with George Allen

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