On April 3, EFM predicted:
Yes, right now Senator Thompson is seen as the “Conservative Messiah,” as David has put it. But soon the laudatory media coverage will fade and he will face the same scrutiny Governor Romney, Mayor Giuliani, and all the rest have all encountered.
Well, it’s starting. On Friday, there was this Los Angeles Times story, which Jim Geraghty rightly labeled “perhaps the cheapest of cheap shots ever.” (I meant to heckle the Times on Friday but found the article so fundamentally unserious that I, um, forgot.) And now, here comes the Washington Post:
Fred Thompson fervently backed the Iraq war, railed against an expanding federal government, took stands that occasionally annoyed his party and rarely spoke about his views on social issues during his tenure as a senator from Tennessee or in his writings and speeches since leaving office.
In short, the man some in the GOP are touting as a dream candidate has often sounded like the presidential hopeful many of them seem ready to dismiss: Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).
The Post piece, unlike the Times screed, strikes me as being factual–Senator Thompson has never hidden the fact that Senator McCain was one of his chief allies during his time in the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body. And it looks like he can expect more of the same over the coming weeks and months. (I thought the “honeymoon” he had with the media would last a bit longer, but it looks like folks are increasingly impatient with his playing coy about the race.)
What will be the result of the scrutiny? I doubt there will be any revelations. But the many who currently see Senator Thompson as some kind of conservative Superman will have to face the facts: he’s an imperfect and fallen man just like the rest of us. His political record has warts, and he’s changed his mind over the course of his career. The MSM will be only too happy to point out each and every instance. And conservatives are going to have to make a choice: Are we going to demand that our nominee in 2008 has always been exactly what he is today, and allow the MSM to gleefully wield veto power over anyone who doesn’t meet that description, or are we going to come back to reality?
Much, my friends, including the outcome of the war on the jihadists, depends upon our answer.
UPDATE: Here’s another piece, in which Bob Novak laments that Senator Thompson seemed “ordinary” in his recent California speech. Imagine that. He’s a man after all!
ANOTHER UPDATE: The drib-drab of negative coverage continues. Here’s Ryan Sager documenting that in 1994, Senator Thompson agreed with the statement, “Abortions should be legal in all circumstances as long as the procedure is completed within the first trimester of the pregnancy.”