In response to Steve’s post, I mentioned that the recent L.A. Times piece on Senator Thompson and pro-abortion lobbying seemed more damaging after I read it than the American Spectator‘s preview made it out to be. Today, as it continues to percolate, the Spectator‘s own Philip Klein writes:
As far as I’m concerned, while I’d still like to see a “smoking gun” in the form of billing records, none of the criticisms of the Times story have held up to close scrutiny.
In fairness, Klein and I both support candidates other than Senator Thompson. (He likes Mayor Giuliani.)
Relatedly, the Times took another swing at the Senator today. Judge for yourself.
Finally, if you scroll through the Corner, you’ll see a great deal of discussion today of Senator Thompson’s position on state-level abortion bans–spurred, apparently, by an EFM post. Here’s what’s most interesting to me: Ramesh Ponnuru, Kathryn Jean Lopez, several readers, and I have all parsed Senator Thompson’s statements on the subject, and we can’t figure out where he stands. I think he said he would oppose a ban on abortion in his state; Lopez thinks he didn’t say; Ponnuru thinks he may have been trying to indicate that abortion-seeking women shouldn’t go to jail; readers have backed up that contention via e-mail, claiming he’s in favor of cracking down on doctors who perform abortions. That’s fine, but…
1. He said in 1994 that neither women nor doctors should be punished, and I haven’t found evidence of a switch. (If you have it, e-mail it–I’ve asked those readers to do the same.)
2. Should we really have to guess? Shouldn’t five politically engaged people of–apart from me–considerable intelligence be able to figure out where this guy stands on this key issue in light of his public statements?
As we’ve said before, we need a first-rate communicator in the Oval Office. This is a limited data sample, but I don’t see one in it–and I can think of few issues needing more careful and precise communication than the volatile one of abortion.