Very occasionally, you pick up the newspaper and you read where a political candidate has, for whatever reason, spoken a horrible, brutal truth. They have thrown off artiface entirely, and said something genuine. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, there’s an almost surreal tinge to it.
In this case, it was Fred Thompson, bored actor turned reluctant Presidential candidate. When asked about the slow start to his campaign by the Times, Thompson bridled, blaming the negative coverage of his launch on a punditocracy deeply invested in the long campaign.
His own stealth campaign, he argued, had offended their writerly sensibilities.
But somewhere on the way to this self-serving explanation, Thompson lost his bearings, and spoke truth:
“Some may be vested in the notion that you can’t get in this late, that I’m trying to just say, ‘Well, they’ve seen me on “Law & Order” and that will carry me to the presidency.’ They just don’t think that is right.”
Please, read that quote again, because it’s breathtaking. Even more breathtaking is that Thompson doesn’t seem to know it’s breathtaking. It genuinely puzzles him that the media “just don’t think that is right.”
Ronald Reagan, all right, just not quite as brainy.