I watched a ton of political coverage on MSNBC yesterday, and there was this one really maddening part where a whole bunch of talking heads kept saying that with his formal announcement, Fred Thompson would now start getting more scrutiny. But nobody offered any scrutiny. He’s got what seems like a good ad to me:
Still, though, I wonder about the scrutiny. My recollection was that in 1994, Republicans were swept into office. They then attempted a series of legislative initiatives that became incredibly unpopular. They lost a lot of seats in 1996, and Bill Clinton pummeled Bob Dole with ads grounded in the “Dole-Gingrich” record. Things like “The Dole/Gingrich budget tried to cut Medicare $270 billion,” or “President Clinton strengthened school anti-drug programs. Dole/Gingrich tried to slash them fifty percent.” Then Republicans lost ground again in 1998. Then, in 2000, they picked a nominee whose main qualifications were that he had high name recognition but wasn’t associated with the 90s-vintage congressional GOP. Indeed, this very nominee lambasted congressional Republicans for their efforts to “balance the budget on the backs of the poor.”
At any rate, I don’t really remember any of this because I was 15 during the 1996 campaign, but I’m not aware of any evidence that a record of Medicare cuts and slashing school anti-drug programs has become more popular over the past ten years. This seems like a potentially giant problem for Thompson as a general election candidate.