Fred Thompson: a most unusual candidate

Byline: | Category: 2008 Presidential Election | Posted at: Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Updated to add video:

I don’t know what’s the best part of this video response to Michael Moore’s publicity stunt:  the cigar, the appropriate disdain, the lecture, the humor, or the quickness of the response, but what I do know is that Fred Thompson is the first politician anywhere to understand how the speed of the internet can change politics.

This is something that should alarm Fred’s opponents–both Republican and Democrat.  In certain military circles there’s this concept known as the “OODA Loop.”  OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.  The late Colonel John Boyd, a Korean War pilot, came up with the concept to try to explain why American pilots were so much better than their opponents in dogfights.  He determined that through a combination of training, aerodynamics, and cockpit design, American pilots and their aircraft could more quickly observe a stimulus and respond.  It allowed them to react and act again and again so quickly, that at some point, the American fliers were an entire decision cycle ahead of their opponents.  It’s called “getting inside your opponent’s OODA loop.”

Getting back to Thompson, Michael Moore issued his challenge to Fred Thompson just today, and by noon, Fred Thompson answered with a devastating response in a forum that will allow the answer to be viewed over and over.  

Imagine Thompson in a campaign against a hidebound Hillary Clinton who, like a typical candidate, runs every decision through polls and layers of staff.  Thompson would be “inside her OODA loop” so quickly that serious Republicans won’t know whether to laugh at her or feel sorry for her by the time of next November’s election.

When I said last week that Fred Thompson was a “usual” candidate, I was apparently very wrong.

Watch the whole thing.


Be sure also to check out Roger’s astute take on Thompson’s response:

By the way, Thompson’s reponse to Moore will have a much greater impact on the presidential campaign than anything said at this little shindig tonight. It’ll be seen by many more people too.


Some other very astute observations:

From HokiePundit at Dean Esmay’s place (emphasis added):

. . . the Democrats, the GOP establishment, and Congress should all be wetting their pants about now. Imagine a POTUS who releases a daily or weekly YouTube video on his views. It’d be like FDR’s Fireside Chats for today.

Mickey Kaus (emphasis in original):

. . . quite apart from its advantages as a campaign tool, the video is itself evidence of Thompson’s actual presidential qualifications. You can’t make a quickie spot like this unless a) you know what you think (or have a really fast pollster) b) you can react to new situations quickly, and c) you have some sense of theater. Those are all extremely important things for a president to have.

Ed Driscoll:

George Bush was re-elected in part due to New Media, which discovered CBS’s RatherGate scam and acted as a force multiplier to the Swift Boat Vets’ ad budget. But I’m not sure how much the Bush team fully understood the dynamics of the Blogosphere. (Remember, prior to both parties’ 2004 conventions and RatherGate itself, blogs were far from a household world . . .)  

It’s too soon to fully gauge the impact, but we may just be witnessing the first Republican presidential candidate who actually knows what he’s doing in the world of New Media.

As well as Bill Hobbs, who reminds us that while Michael Moore wrote a letter, it was Thompson who bested the “film maker” on film.


Moore responds–ironically, again, without film.

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48 Responses to “Fred Thompson: a most unusual candidate”

  1. Blake Says:

    a hidebound Hillary Clinton who, like a typical candidate, runs every decision through polls and layers of staff.

    I think that’s what many people are tired of with politicians today. Sometimes, even if I don’t agree with someone, I have more respect if they come out and say what they think without it being filtered through layers of polls, staff and lawyers. And I don’t think many politicians today can pull this off without looking like complete idiots.

    Thompson, on the other hand, can pull it off and he’ll continue to do so (hopefully).

  2. PC Martin Says:

    That’s the greatest response by any politician ever in the history of politics–regardless of what team you’re on, you’ve got to love that. Thompson might become a folk hero this is going to be his status quo.

  3. Wildmonk Says:

    I think you said it right, Blake. Not to mention the prominant cigar and the “we all know you’re an a$$hole” demeanor. This is like a hot knife through the butter of political correctness: it not only burns Moore, it does so in terms that completely undercut modern liberal pretensions to moral superiority.

  4. \”John Galt\” Says:

    …OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.

    Brings to mind Fred’s line in The Hunt for Red October, “Russians don’t take a dump without a plan.”

  5. kathie Says:

    Fred is totally disarming. I have heard it over and over again. He will make the other politicians look like 1st graders. What he says about immigration……..Mexico’s biggest export is it’s citizens we need to do something about that, like close the border. About governance……. it is growing hugh while politicians grow small. Flat out truths while Hillary is screaming it’s Bushes fault, it’s Bushes war, it’s Bush’s gas prices, it’s the rich, etc. I love it! He is the next President, and the progressives will not know what hit them. This country Republican and Democrat, will vote for him because he is non-confrontational and right on.

  6. Hang Right Politics - Archives » You Da Man, Fred! Says:

    […] You. Really. Are. […]

  7. Susan C. Periano Says:

    Fred Thompson’s ability for quick intelligent responses will be hard to beat. If he sticks to policy issues and doesn’t mud-sling or use character assassinations, he will move rapidly ahead. His integrity shines through and through.

  8. Steve-o Says:

    Good response, but Michael should be able to parody it in a hour or so…


    Oh, Michael?


  9. Will Becker Says:

    Simply briliant.Fred is our man.

  10. William Says:

    But in the final analysis, he smuggly runs from a debate, with his Cuban cigar in hand.

  11. Dave A. Says:

    Uncle Fred, the straightforward Uncle for all Americans.

  12. HokiePundit Says:

    It was a brilliant ad; who’d have thought the rock star of the compaign would be a Republican?

    As for the cigars, Thompson isn’t guilty of violating the embargo if he bought it through a third-party sourc. If he doesn’t support the embargo then he’s not being hypocritical, although if he does it seems like a bit of a lapse.

  13. Pundit Review » Blog Archive » Why Fred Thompson? Says:

    […] Bob Krumm has it exactly right, I don’t know what’s the best part of this video response to Michael Moore’s publicity stunt: the cigar, the appropriate disdain, the lecture, the humor, or the quickness of the response, but what I do know is that Fred Thompson is the first politician anywhere to understand how the speed of the internet can change politics. […]

  14. kcom Says:

    Getting back to Thompson, Michael Moore issued his challenge to Fred Thompson just today, and by noon, Fred Thompson answered with a devastating response in a forum that will allow the answer to be viewed over and over.

    And, best of all, Fred Thompson answered Moore directly and not in response to a question from a reporter. By cutting out the sainted “gatekeeper” he’s given everyone the opportunity to judge his response on their own, without some reporter telling them what to think before showing the clip.

  15. CelticKnight Says:

    Fred Thompson has the necessary qualities demanded of a public servant. His sincere, down-to-earth manner cannot be rehearsed, scripted or simulated. This is why the left is so fearful of him. His ease at dismantling the opposition is uncanny. He also has something the left lacks…integrity & character. He could be the next president that makes a stake in history. To the Colors. For Fred: “The trite saying that honesty is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy.” —- Robert E. Lee

  16. Sandra Binder Says:

    One question!

    Where do I send my campaign contribution to for Fred?

  17. Brian Says:

    Thompson runs, he wins. Really, only the die-hards will vote for Hillary. The middle and right will give Thompson Reagan-like vote margins.

  18. Wizzo Says:

    Given the number of other web sites carrying this clip, I’ll bet 1,000,000 people will have seen it before 24 hours pass. I’ve personally passed it on to 200 other center/right voters (and they have reposted it, etc.).

  19. Accounting Bum » Blog Archive » Fred Thompson Says:

    […] See also Bob Krumm. […]

  20. postpolitical » An Interesting Day Says:

    […] Imagine Thompson in a campaign against a hidebound Hillary Clinton who, like a typical candidate, runs every decision through polls and layers of staff. Thompson would be “inside her OODA loop” so quickly that serious Republicans won’t know whether to laugh at her or feel sorry for her by the time of next November’s election. (Bob Krumm) […]

  21. Thomas Says:

    William Says:
    May 15th, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    “But in the final analysis, he smuggly runs from a debate, with his Cuban cigar in hand.”

    You can’t live debate people, like Moore, who make up facts. At least not in a live / real time debate. Maybe in an email exchange with a few days before responses (so you can fact check)…

  22. Mike A. Says:

    His LAW & ORDER contract had better be over soon.

  23. Fred Thompson: a most unusual candidate « Maine for Fred Thompson Says:

    […] Read the rest of Bob’s comments HERE […]

  24. Dark Jethro Says:

    Where does it say the cigar is Cuban?
    Real cigar smokers know the cigar talent left Cuba for the Dominican Republic when Castro took over. Current Cuban cigars are crap to smoke…their only attraction IS their status as contraband, pimped by for years by Hollywood, and we all know who controls that propaganda machine.
    I seriously doubt Fred is smoking a Cuban…

  25. » Fred Thompson’s Cigar Smacks Sicko Michael Moore » MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Says:

    […] love this analysis, too: This is something that should alarm Fred’s opponents–both Republican and Democrat. In […]

  26. Kathy Says:

    At least Fred Thompson smokes the cigar – where’s Michael Moore’s letter to Bill Clinton??? or worse to Monica?

    Run, Fred, Run

  27. wkm Says:

    859-word screed from your critic $.02
    Posting the screed on the internet. $.00

    Gutting and field-dressing your critic in a ninety-word video response: PRICELESS!

    He’ll take care of everything else. Fred Thompson.

  28. Mr. Harold Foster Says:

    If we ever needed a man like Fred Thompson its today. Please jump in today and at the same time invite and groups in favor of closeing our border first then work out something with all the illegals already here. It now looks like the Senate will wait till monday to vote on a plan that will destroy the working men and women in America. Please don’t wait, you will have so many people wanting to help you get elected that you’ll have to beat them off with a stick. T real people of this country are against any plan that fails to shut our BODER first. I don’t even know if anyone close to Mr Thompson will read this but please if you have any way to get word to him please do. I’m just a nobody retired watching my grand kids grow up. If I can be of any help to Mr Thompson contact me any way you have ro. I’m a prode man but if getting on my knees would help get Mr Thompson in today I’d do it. Im sorry for any spelling errors but I think you get my drift. Thank You in advance.

  29. WetWorx » Blog Archive » Fred Thompson nails 500 pounds of blubber to the wall, and whips it. It is good. Says:

    […] If this is a foretaste of a Thompson campaign, it’s pretty potent. As Bob Krumm notes, it’s all about the OODA loop. […]

  30. esb82 Says:

    It’s pretty funny that this old man did this in such a humorous and intelligent way. It truly deserves to be the viral video of the week.

    Unfortunately, though, if Thompson’s really thinking about running for president in 2008, this would make me even less likely to vote for him. After two terms of seeing the way Bush handles criticism and his attitude toward debate, especially through his jerk-ass press secretaries, I’d much rather see someone in office who will show some kind of accountability.

    Moore and Thompson enjoy the spotlight, and for a little matter like this, the personal attacks are just funny. But as this administration has proven, when politicians lose the maturity to debate fairly and respectfully, we all suffer.

    Sorry, HokiePundit, but this is NOT the stuff of fireside chats.

  31. Denny Lancaster Says:

    What a stark contrast in personalities and character. Thompson articulating zingers which go through each ear, leaving an opponent in bewilderment; Moore a pontificating blubber of hot gas eminating from his extemities.

  32. Webutante Says:

    Whether Fred Thompson is ever elected president, one thing is for sure: Fred is a candidate who grasps the revolutionary power of the Internet to transform a race.

    Fred is articulate, faster than a speeding bullet in responding and understands the timeless maxim of leaving an audience wanting more and not less of him. He didn’t go on and on with Michael Moore, but rather he had fun with him.

    And it’s refreshing to watch. If it’s not a little fun, then why do it?

    I strong support Fred Thompson for Presidential Candidate of the United States of America.

  33. RepublicanRDH Says:

    It’s about time someone stood up to that American-hating Michael Moore. It was digusting to see him at the Democratic National Convention being treated like a star and seated next to President Carter. He is always bloviating about the plight(s)of the “little guy” but lives lavishly like the Limousine Liberal that he is. Moore is going after him because he fears Fred Thompson. After Senator Thompson’s quick and effective response, it is more clear to me than ever that he should run for President. I have copied and e-mailed the Moore letter and Senator Thompson’s video response to all in my address book and have asked them to forward.
    Run, Fred, Run!!!

  34. PayBackTime Says:

    How about a Thompson .vs. Moore cage match?
    Pay Per View?

  35. William Says:

    Fred Thompson insults Michael Moore then refuses to debate him on healthcare – real classy. No wonder, a new study finds US last in healthcare among wealthy nations.

    Michael Moore was right about Iraq and 2 new studies show, he’s right about US healthcare: it’s the most expensive in the world and the least effective among wealthy nations, and it’s gotten more expensive and corrupt under the Bush Administration.

    So Fred, since you raised hundred of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the health care and insurance industries . . . you better keep hiding.

  36. Nony Mouse Says:

    On healthcare: is it more expensive here? Yes, for several reasons, including malpractice insurance and the fact that medical boards aren’t quick to suspend the licenses of the few who make the most mistakes. On the other hand, the needles aren’t reused and the drugs are actually stocked, and insurance premiums won’t go down unless jury award fees go down or medical boards do a better job at policing the field. In Cuba, you can be treated at the show hospital if you’re a VIP, but if you’re a local, good luck. Google Babalu blog for some perspective, or ask someone who knows firsthand. The rafts are not being built in Miami to get into Cuba for darn good reason.
    For a personal story, an aquaintence of mine was a dual US-Canadian citizen. As a teen, he was involved in an accident that broke (“fractured”) the metatarsal bones in one foot while living with his father. His mother took him to a doctor in Canada because of the “quality and cost” of healthcare. He got x-rays while still in the states, so the doctors knew what the problem was. The Canadian doctor waited until he thought the time was right to set the bones. Which had already knit. With nasty bone spurs.

  37. Bob Krumm » He’s been given all the seriousness he is due . . . and then some Says:

    […] Moore responds to Fred Thompson’s video answer to Moore’s original letter. Essentially, Michael Moore’s hyperventilating response […]

  38. Random Schmuck Says:

    Ok William, you’re an idiot.

    Now, you can spend some time and effort posting all the links to Cuba and U.S. Healthcare and compare and contrast Cuba’s healthcare for tourists vs. Cubans…

    I expect at least 1000 words on why Cuba’s healthcare (for actual Cubans) is superior to America. Also, 400 words on the plight of Journaism in Cuba, and 250+ on the economic struggles of Cuba.

    Feel free to ignore me rather than spending the time and effort to write these papers, but then you’ll be avoiding a super-serial debate with a really important personage (namely me).

    So are you going to run from this debate William, or maybe just claim that I’m not important enough for your time? When you do, understand the irony of the situation.

  39. Volunteer Voters » Okay, Maybe The Guy Is Reagan Says:

    […] said when I watched this video yesterday I was most certainly reminded of Ronald Reagan. As visionary as Reagan was and as […]

  40. Says:

    This entry brings up many great points. I was also impressed with the speed of FDT’s response… and that’s becoming a consistent characteristic of FDT. There’s nothing hidden about him. Other candidates will wither away when placed next to him on an auditorium’s stage for debate or on the national stage for an election. He will have wide appeal… including from democrats who are fed up with the crowd. Every state’s a FRed State in 2008.

  41. Jason Clarke » In significant ways, Fred Thompson video challenges the status quo Says:

    […] Bob Krumm said it best when he argued that Senator Thompson’s response speed could be a powerful factor should he […]

  42. Bob Krumm » Fred has seized the internet’s high ground nearly unopposed Says:

    […] said earlier that this week that Fred Thompson may be the first political candidate to truly understand the revolutionary changes brought by the […]

  43. Tirdad Gharib Says:

    Dear Friends Our Great Fred Thompson is not only a true american patriot, he understands the danger of terrrorism and he is a true hero.Michael Moore should be ashamed of himself,and i recommend michael to go and live in cuba. very sincerlly yours to our great Fred Thompson your video is superbe. a proud american conservative. Tirdad from Nashville Tennessee a very strong supporter of you.Honoroble Fred Thompson.

  44. A Second Hand Conjecture » Fred Thompson Reportedly Will Enter The Race Says:

    […] really should come as no surprise, but it is a welcome one. Thompson is, in the very least, an atypical candidate in that he has a presence that says “gravitas“, he hasn’t spent his entire career […]

  45. Richard Says:

    Thompson has a sense of theater but, last time I checked, managerial and executive skills, decision making, diplomacy and experience still were prerequisites for a good President. “Mission accomplished” was also good theater- I’d rather have competence.

    Rudy ’08

  46. John Oh Says:

    Finally a candidate I can get excite about. I was seriously considering voting for Obamma just to have my wife leave me alone but Fred…where have you been? Time to get passionate again about our country and finally get behind somebody that can do something about it. Where do I send my check to?

  47. Kyle Says:

    Who is Fred Thompson? Is this some kind of cartoon character or something?

  48. tansi Says:

    Fred Thompson can leap tall buildings with a single bound. Water boils in a glass if he frowns at it. sen Reid and Hillary wet their pants just if they hear the name of Fred Thompson.