Movie stars in the White House are nothing new – think Ronald Reagan before you even get to Martin Sheen – but the announcement to FOX News that ‘Law & Order’ star Fred Thompson may enter the presidential race introduces some interesting issues and, like any good actor, his timing is impeccable.
How serious can the comment be? Very serious, in all probability. Fred Thompson is a former Tennessee senator, a Republican minority counsel in the Congressional investigation of the Watergate scandal and former chairman of the Senate’s Governmental Affairs Committee. And a television star.
His role as the DA in “Law & Order” saw him with a large pay packet, a heightened national profile and the so-called “star power” he would bring to the race.
Recently, the Bush Justice Department enlisted him to accompany Supreme Court nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito on their visits to key senators when their nominations were up for ratification.
If President, he would also pardon his friend I Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who’s conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice last week aroused issues around his appeals and presidential pardon possibilities. Thompson is a fundraiser for the Libby defense team.
But it is Thompson’s timing that holds most interest. Presently, the race involves a certain lack of political color, with Giuliani a liberal on many issues and McCain something of a maverick who’s all over the room in his stance on various major issues. Thompson, by contrast, is a comfortable liberal without a blemish to his name and a clear, conservative profile and agenda.