Skip to comments.Some view Thompson as next 'Great Communicator'
Posted on 08/18/2007 9:21:51 PM PDT by SmithL
WASHINGTON Hes an actor-turned-politician in the mode of Ronald Reagan, someone whos at ease in front of a camera or a crowd, a man who can charm an audience with a folksy tale or a clever turn of phrase.
But is Fred Thompson truly Reaganesque?
Reagan was, after all, the Great Communicator, a leader so skilled at connecting with his subjects that he has become the standard by which all would-be presidents are judged.
Thompsons admirers, elated over his expected decision to seek the Republican nomination for president, already are hailing his candidacy as the second coming of Reagan.
The former Tennessee senator, an ex-prosecutor who plays a stern district attorney on the television crime drama Law and Order, is expected to officially enter the race sometime next month.
Like Reagan, Thompson believes in smaller government and fiscal conservatism.
But lets put aside politics for a minute and focus on the other trait he shares with the last actor who was elected president an innate ability to communicate, to tell a story in a way that captures the publics attention.
Both men come across as strong, authoritative figures on stage and screen. Their speaking voices are fluent and resonant, though vastly different. Reagans was smooth, mellow, grandfatherly. Thompsons is deep, gruff, sometimes gravelly. Both men were blessed with the gift of gab and a flair for spinning a good yarn.
But is Thompson Reagans equal as a communicator?
Thompson does have the Reagan touch, said John Geer, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
Thompson is at ease with the camera, Geer said. Certainly, Reagan was at ease with the camera. Second, at least from what I can see so far, Thompson, when he decides to be critical of somebody or question them, he does it in a way that has less of an edge to it than a lot of current politicians, and I think that is also Reaganesque.
In some ways, though, Thompson seems less like the Gipper and more like Sheriff Andy Taylor of the old Andy Griffith Show, Geer said.
He has this kind of disarming quality about him, where he tries to use folksy kind of metaphors just like Taylor did, Geer said. But at the same time, Taylor was the most wily (man) in that entire city. Thompson is very smart as well, so he has this old country boy kind of routine that I think serves him pretty well.
Clark Judge, who worked as a speechwriter for Reagan in the White House, also sees a little of Reagan in Thompson.
Thompson has a very solid, reassuring presence at a podium and before a camera, Judge said. He comes across as someone you trust a lot. Look at him on some of his TV speeches, responses to State of the Union, that sort of thing. Hes very much someone whos talking to you.
One of Reagans greatest attributes, at least as an orator, was his ability to take written text and give it additional meaning, Judge said.
For me, it was very, very different listening to Reagan before I started working for him and then listening to him when he was delivering text that I had actually written, Judge said. He would find meaning in the text and bring it out through his delivery.
Judge said he doesnt know whether Thompson has that talent because hes never written for him. But, Thompson is a very effective communicator, which is one reason he has moved up so fast (in the polls), Judge said.
Others are less impressed by Thompsons oratory skills.
Hes no Reagan, said John Kares Smith, a professor of communications at State University of New York in Oswego, an expert in presidential and political communication and a devotee of Thompsons television show.
Ronald Reagan had an ability and a real underestimated skill of being able to touch very deep-held American myths and beliefs, Smith said. When he would talk about the city on the hill, he really could resonate with our puritan past. Fred Thompson, I dont think he has any of those skills at all.
Thompson just doesnt connect the way Reagan did, Smith said. Reagan had maybe three ideas, and everybody knew what they were. He knew people. He had a wonderful sense of humor. Fred Thompson is not known for his humor.
Reagan also was the eternal optimist and, like Franklin D. Roosevelt, used his speeches to raise peoples spirits, said David E. Johnson, a political consultant in Atlanta who worked on Bob Doles presidential campaign in 1988.
That was Reagans whole persona, Johnson said. Thats what his greatness was, very much like Jack Kennedy. Thompson, on the other hand, is more a just the facts type of person. He doesnt lift to the oratorical lengths that Reagan or Roosevelt did or even Bill Clinton did.
As evidence, Johnson cited a speech that Thompson gave to a group of Republicans last May. Some complained that the address, Thompsons first as a prospective presidential candidate, was downright disappointing.
But whether Thompson can live up to the Reagan legend may be beside the point. He doesnt have to be a Reagan clone to win the GOP nomination, Judge said.
The real issue, Judge said, is how he compares to the rest of the field.
“Folksy Fred...” Bob Dole redux.
This just in: Mitt Romney is a more effective communicator of the factors involved in executive decision making than any candidate — for a long time — including Ronald Reagan (who was likely better with political philosophy and emotional leadership).
These types of articles serve no purpose other than to create animosity among FReepers.
he should communicate better with us. like, is he going to run or not?
it will take a republican greater than Reagan to win in 08. Anyone see one on the horizon? Didn’t think so. Mirages can be very misleading.
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Fred Thompson will advance through the campaign process on his own merits. He is a good communicator and a good conservative. If conservatives like what they hear from Fred, he’ll win the nomination. FredT maybe Reaganesque, I don’t see him being Reagan-like. Enough already. There was only one Ronald Reagan.
Well, we just don’t know that yet, do we?
Let’s wait and see how it all plays out.
Right. When the time comes, you can write in Alan Keyes name. LOL
Reagan had better hair
Fred's response to Michael Moore showed he has a great sense of (biting) humor, and knows how to use it.
Come on, now, you know perfectly well, at this stage, he can’t come out and say the words.
Fred epitomizes my political beliefs, and desired political style. I’m backing him...win, lose, or draw.
If the nomination goes to someone other than FRed, Hunter, or Tancredo, I sit at home and eat popcorn while watching reruns.
“Reagan had better hair”
Reagan had hair! LOL
That won't get anyone, including Mitt, elected.
One way in which Fred reminds me of Dutch is that both men understand that for a conservative to be elected President he must build a broad coalition. Pro-life, pro-2A, pro-Constitution, pro-sovereignty, pro-defense, federalist, limited-government, supply-side, low-tax, pro-family, pro-faith; we need EVERYBODY pulling at the oars together to keep the ship moving. I just don’t think Rudy, Mitt or McCain could ever pull this off. I hope that Fred can.
I’ll vote for fred if he’s the nominee.
I’m not so sure that he’ll be the nominee.
I agree. It’s almost like watching Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. On the other hand...On the other hand....On the other hand.
Fred Thompson does have the makings of it. I just hope he makes up his mind soon.
I think I’ll buy some Orville Redenbacher and Jiffy Pop stock so that I’ll have some money to spend before the Democrat you help to elect takes it all away.
I suppose he is impressive to many, but to many others Mitt comes across as artificial. I am one of those many others.
Shouldn’t we retire the Gipper’s “Great Communicator” jersey, and only take it out for special occasions, not for primary season?
I’d like to see FredT KO Hillary or Obama in a debate before we start thinking/assuming those “great” thoughts.
Ah. Now THERE’S a “great communicator”! :-)
And which democrat would that be?
I think Romney is good in front of a camera, I like him. I don’t understand the thrill about Fred, he doesn’t do a thing for me.
At times, yes. Other times, a great windbag. ;^)
Mitt is the most genuinely accomplished person running for President on either side, based on his experience with the Olympics, venture capital, turning businesses around, and being Governor.
He’s going about his current challenge by running as a center-right conservative Republican. That’s not artificial, he’s simply running for President in the same vigorous success-oriented way he’s done other things. Should he get the nomination, he will be a formidable candidate, as he is quite articulate in debates and has run an efficient campaign. Should he win the White House, conservatives would have a President better than GWB on many issues (fiscal/spending, immigration), and at least as good on all the rest (life, Judges, GWOT, etc). JMHO.
No, the one you’re going to help elect. The beast herself. While you eat popcorn. Just ducky.
There’ll never be another Reagan but Thompson comes close enough for me.
How ‘bout this? Fred Thompson / Mitt Romney n ‘08.
With Fred’s communication skills and Romney’s superb organizational skills and throw in Newt as a campaign advisor.....Katie bar the door.
His current inconsistency in the I support/ I don’t support the Federal Marriage Amendment says anything but great communicator.
I have now a wait and see posture.
“Geer said. Certainly, Reagan was at ease with the camera.”
That isn’t what made Reagan special. Reagan was at ease with himself because his beliefs were deeply ingrained in his being. Reagan lived and breathed it. He never had to pretend to be something he wasn’t unlike most politicians who have to manufacture their image and agendas.
Reagan was real, most politicians are phony and poll driven and are easily flipped.
Really? How’s that possible? All of the RudyMCRomney obsessed ones here say that only their man can beat her.
I say, go for it. MY vote will only go to someone that fits MY beliefs, not yours.
You might try that bs scare tactic over at du, FRiend, I ain’t buyin’ it.
“Mitt Romney is a more effective communicator of the factors involved in executive decision making than any candidate for a long time including Ronald Reagan “
That is the second time today that I have seen that exact wording.
Well, perhaps before you can get "unspun," you gotta get spun!
“””The fact that he is even more articulate than the great communicator himself, Ronald Reagan is also a plus.”””
It wasn’t exact, but it could be another angle of attack on President Reagan by the Romney campaign and supporters.
So, unspun, perhaps you could explain explicitly what these supposed "factors" are?
Mitt Romney is a more effective communicator of the factors involved in executive decision making than any candidate for a long time including Ronald Reagan
Anybody that believes that does not remember Reagan.
Reagan Quotes: (Imagine Romney saying these, and reaching the public so deeply and effectively with a few words.)
Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement.
Don’t be afraid to see what you see.
Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.
All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk.
Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.
Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.
Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
Governments tend not to solve problems, only to rearrange them.
History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.
Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver five minutes longer.
The exact same things were said about Ronald Reagan.
I should check out ‘Second Life’ - perhaps he has already ran and won the Presidency there.
I’m glad Ronald Reagan himself had a quite different opinion of the good Doctor.
Alan, I should be the one thanking you, because you did such an extraordinary job in the first 7 years of our administration: working with Jeane Kirkpatrick at the United Nations, serving as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, defending our country against the forces of anti-Americanism.
I think particularly of your work at a conference in Nairobi where you and my daughter Maureen worked to eliminate the disgusting ``Zionism is racism’’ resolution from that conference’s final report and earned the gratitude of all Americans. And there was your performance as my Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, where you pursued successful reforms of the United Nations and opposed with every ounce of strength in your body all those who have served to foster and legitimize state-sponsored terrorism.
Alan, I should be thanking you — and I am — because every time I asked you to do your best, you did that and better. Every time I asked you to stand for America, you stood tall, and you deserve not only my thanks but the thanks of every citizen of this great country.
It’s hard for me to imagine two politicians more different than Ronald Reagan and Mitt Romney.
One told you what you needed to hear, whether you liked it or not. The other tells you what he thinks you want to hear, whether he actually believes it or not...
Bulloney! You know better than that.
In Reagan’s first attempt at politics he was elected Governor of California. Then reelected. After a short two year pause he organized a challenge of a sitting GOP President and almost pulled off a huge upset. Four years later he was elected POTUS and reelected in two historic landslide victories. By all acounts Reagan is one of the great Presidents in US history.
Alan Keyes has won no political office in several tries. Again, Keyes is great with the rhetoric but unless he makes some drastic changes, he’ll never win elected office.
We aren’t talking about his appointments to positions in the Reagan administration. We’re talking about what it takes to win election to public office. Whatever the factors are, Alan Keyes doesn’t have what it takes to be a successful politico. Reagan was a natural.
“Its hard for me to imagine two politicians more different than Ronald Reagan and Mitt Romney.”
I am starting to think that Romney is more of a movement leader than I thought, actually I was having a problem figuring out what his interest in politics is, but now I am starting to believe that he does indeed have internal passions driving him, and I don’t think it is in favor of Reagan conservatives.
Now you're talking.