Fred Thompson, Pro-Choice Lobbyist

There are undoubtedly Republicans who are pro-life. One of them is from my state, the incomparable Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who, while clinically insane, is certainly honest in her beliefs.

But I have long held a theory that most Republican politicians are not pro-life.

Oh, they’re not pro-choice; they’re perfectly happy to throw women’s rights under the bus as need be. But they’re not particularly pro-life either. Their anti-choice position is a posture, a game they play to keep the rubes lining up with checks and votes. Abortion can be legal or illegal for the hoi polloi, as long as their daughters can get one if they need one.

We’ve seen this playing out repeatedly among GOP presidential candidates this cycle, with Rudy Giuliani’s abortive attempt to stake out pro-life ground despite being consistently and vociferously pro-choice. And of course there’s Mitt Romney’s complete 180 on abortion rights, though frankly that’s just one of Mitt’s many 180s, so you can be forgiven for losing track.

And now, it’s about to play out with a candidate not even in the race yet, Fred Thompson, who lobbied for the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association in 1991.

Thompson is attempting to deny this, but unfortunately there’s a paper trail:

Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo adamantly denied that Thompson worked for the family planning group. “Fred Thompson did not lobby for this group, period,” he said in an e-mail.

In a telephone interview, he added: “There’s no documents to prove it, there’s no billing records, and Thompson says he has no recollection of it, says it didn’t happen.” In a separate interview, John H. Sununu, the White House official whom the family planning group wanted to contact, said he had no memory of the lobbying and doubted it took place.

But Judith DeSarno, who was president of the family planning association in 1991, said Thompson lobbied for the group for several months.

Minutes from the board’s meeting of Sept. 14, 1991 — a copy of which DeSarno gave to The Times — say: “Judy [DeSarno] reported that the association had hired Fred Thompson Esq. as counsel to aid us in discussions with the administration” on the abortion counseling rule.

Former Rep. Michael D. Barnes (D-Md.), a colleague at the lobbying and law firm where Thompson worked, said that DeSarno had asked him to recommend someone for the lobbying work and that he had suggested Thompson. He said it was “absolutely bizarre” for Thompson to deny that he lobbied against the abortion counseling rule.

“I talked to him while he was doing it, and I talked to [DeSarno] about the fact that she was very pleased with the work that he was doing for her organization,” said Barnes. “I have strong, total recollection of that. This is not something I dreamed up or she dreamed up. This is fact.”

Now, one can understand why Thompson is now trying to deny the truth, and frankly, given the events of the past six years, he may get away with it; the GOP is nothing if not credulous at this point.

As a staunch supporter of reproductive rights, I’m obviously thrilled that so many Republicans have a background as supporters of those rights, and I only wish that they’d actually come clean about those beliefs, so we as a nation could finally accept at long last that we are a pro-choice country. For the fact is that even many people who poll as pro-lifers aren’t really anti-choice; they think abortion is icky and wrong, unless they need one — but they also don’t want to see it outlawed. That many Republican candidates feel this way is frankly unsurprising.

Unfortunately for Thompson, Romney, and Giuliani, the rubes still have votes, and still have their checkbooks, and they expect their candidate to strictly regulate those harlots who would dare to have sex. Thompson has thus far succeeded as a candidate because he’s been a cipher, an empty vessel into which the right can pour its aspirations. But if it turns out he’s dared to ever have supported a woman’s right to choose, I’d say that he’ll be yet another Republican who’s not anti-woman enough for the base.
Fred Thompson Pro-Choice


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27 responses to “Fred Thompson, Pro-Choice Lobbyist

  1. Pingback: Blog of the Moderate Left » Fred Thompson, Pro-Choice Lobbyist

  2. Pingback: University Update - Fred Thompson - Fred Thompson, Pro-Choice Lobbyist

  3. Chris

    Who cares what clients that attorneys have? Should we string up Clintons lawyers? or the ACLU?…well, maybe that’s a poor example.

    Since the rest of the world is what the Constitution says is his job, what possible difference could it make what his personal view is!?…far too many people are shovelin’ what they don’t want to step in.

  4. anangryoldbroad

    Fred Thompson is for Fred Thompson. If that means being full of shit to get that payday,then fine.

    If this is the best the wingnuts can come up with for President,that party is well and truly fucked.

  5. Pingback: The Heretik : Crash

  6. “There are undoubtedly Republicans who are pro-life. One of them is from my state, the incomparable Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who, while clinically insane, is certainly honest in her beliefs.”

    Fracking hell.


    I’ll steal some words here from Marti Abernathy who was commenting on Ann Coulter.

    “I’m not defending Ann Coulter’s ideas or actions, but her personhood. It’s dehumanizing to Coulter, to transgender people, and to women.

    I wouldn’t say I’m attacking [Randi Rhodes], but she does need to understand how hurtful and demeaning her words are to a community that already gets mocked and demeaned…”

    I’m *no* fan of Michelle Bachmann. I love my state too much to see her represent even a part of it. But if you want to attack her by putting the personhood of my community on discount, then my response to you is that you, sir, can go to hell.

  7. Pingback: I Couldn't Make You Wait A Moment Longer » Sly Civilian

  8. Mitt Romney’s made so many 180s he shows up on local Dopplar radar when he’s in town, and they turn on the warning sirens.

    I’m sorry, but I’ve never voted a professional actor into a publlic office in my life, and I wouldn’t start with Fred even if he were a Democrat and apparently honest.

    (Yes, I know, one could argue that all politicians should automatically get their Screen Guild cards…)

  9. If there’s a paper trail, show us the billing records.

    Given that what we have here is a “family planning” group (an organization full of donors to Sen. Clinton’s campaign, btw) and the LA Tlimes (with its rather spotty record for accuracy), they should produce some billing records.

    Otherwise, it’s just another drive-by media hit piece done for the Clintons against one of their political opponents. Hey, I lived in Arkansas for 20 years. I’ve witnessed how Bill and Hill operate and seen the many lives they’ve destroyed.

    Let’s see the billing records.

  10. Pingback: Shocker: Frederick Dalton Thompson (R) - “Baby Killer”

  11. These two LAT & NYT hit pieces come on the heels of Keith-O’s “Nixon’s Mole” charge and of course, Joe Skankborough’s idiotic remark about “working the pole.” Thompson isn’t going to drag his wife and mother of his daughter into the mosh-pit skanks like Elizabeth Edwards like to slosh around in.

    Mike Rowe should take a stint as a DNC fecal-snuffer nosing through the garbage heaps of slander and innuendo—beats most of the Dirty Jobs he’s done on his Discovery show!

    Fred Thompson reeks integrity, and Clinton Inc has a thousand skeletons buried, in closets, & in plain sight. Can you imagine the shrieks & twittering if B. Hussein Obama gets a closer look in his childhood madrasa in Indonesia?

    Not to mention Hair-and-Makeup candidate Mr.Elizabeth Edwards.

  12. daveinboca, you have some really serious issues with women and power.

    I have a suggestion: either get some therapy or get bent. Your choice.

  13. Not that I think anyone reads your little blog, but Minutes from a Meeting held in 1991 isn’t exactly what I would call a paper trail. Where are the billing records? If someone is going to lobby for you wouldn’t you get paid for your services? If the group keeps Minute Meetings over 16 years old you would think they would keep records of the hours Fred Thompson billed? I believe this country is great because we can disagree with each other, however, it would be nice if the media could report without an agenda (yes even Fox News). The media like the politicians think Americans are too stupid to think for themselves, unfortunately they are usually right. This is a he said, she said story and will never be proven either way.

  14. JW

    Fred Thompson reeks of something. It ain’t integrity.

  15. KG

    Reproductive rights. What a nice euphemism for killing babies. That way you don’t have to feel all (what was your word?) “icky” inside knowing that you support murder.

    How about standing up for the child’s rights? Nah, why do that?

  16. JTS2002, even Andrew Sullivan isn’t buying your line:

    Which is more credible? Fred Thompson denying that he ever departed from the pro-life orthodoxy? Or literally a half dozen questionnaires, news accounts, and numerous eye-witnesses who insist he did?

  17. Pingback: Brilliant at Breakfast

  18. And you got your license to practice psychiatry or clinical psychology when? Where? What’s with insulting a whole disability group to make a political point? Do you think it’s clever? It’s about as clever as school children who say “that’s so gay” about someone or something they don’t like. It’s intellectually lazy and keeps folks from reading the rest of your writing because who really wants to read the writing of someone who’s both prejudiced and intellectually lazy?

  19. Alix

    Where the hell did all the trolls come from?

  20. Reproductive rights. What a nice euphemism for killing babies.

    Pro-life. What a nice euphemism for the dictatorship of the Religious Reich.

  21. Hey, Sturm, you really get around. You left the exact same comment at my blog, too. Congratulations; you figured out how to use cut-and-paste. Next week you’ll learn mail merge?

    So how much is Fred Thompson’s campaign paying you to go around and put out this fire?

  22. “So how much is Fred Thompson’s campaign paying you to go around and put out this fire?”

    My thought exactly, when I read Alix’s question: “Where the hell did all the trolls come from?”

    They came from campaign land — which is kind of like Unicorn Planet, I think, but not so much fun.

  23. It’s Troll Saturday!!! Come join the fun!

  24. Pingback: So Much for Fred Thompson being the new Messiah of the G.O.P…… « Exposing The Neo-Right

  25. These trolls need to do their homework before they accept the job of Technorati-searching Fred Thompson posts and descending on reality-based blogs to spray their bullshit.

    Fred Thompson is, and was, the ultimate Washington insider, NOT a regular-ol’-truck-drivin’ guy like the imagined archetype politicians imagine most ‘Muricans want to vote for. Besides being a good little mole, Thompson made tons of money as a LOBBYIST. For all manner of corporate interests. Lobbyists don’t really have “morals” per se. They do what they’re PAID TO DO: gain access to those who have their sticky fingers on the levers of power, and bend their ears. Talk up their client’s cause(s) while working in whatever manner necessary to defeat their client’s opponents’ cause(s).

    It should come as no surprise that Thompson lobbied for a family planning group, but it might also interest CONSERVATIVES that he lobbied for legislation that led to costing taxpayers billions of dollars. For starters. I’ve posted this article before; here it is again–from the June 25 Boston Globe:

    Republican Fred Thompson, who likes to cast himself in the role of Washington outsider, has a long history as a political insider who earned more than $1 million lobbying the federal government.

    As a lobbyist for more than 20 years, billion-dollar corporations paid Thompson for his access to members of Congress and White House staff. During that time he was close to two Senate majority leaders, both from his home state of Tennessee — his political mentor Howard Baker and, more recently, his former colleague Bill Frist.

    During Baker’s tenure, Thompson lobbied for a savings-and-loan deregulation bill that helped hasten the industry’s collapse and a failed nuclear energy project that cost taxpayers more than a billion dollars.

    More recently, while Frist led the Senate, Thompson earned more than $750,000 lobbying for a British reinsurance company that wanted to limit its liability from asbestos lawsuits.

    That history as a Washington insider is at odds with the image Thompson has sought to convey to voters.

    NOTE TO THOMPSON’S TROLLS: you might want to do a little lobbying yourselves, morons–lobby for more pay to cover the many hours you’ll need to spend reading about Thompson’s More-Of-The-Same-Washington-Slime past. Who knows, perhaps reading it and realizing you’re going to be laughed out the door at blogs like this one–and treated with the contempt you deserve–will discourage you from filling the ‘Tubes with your stupidity. Perhaps. I won’t hold my breath.

  26. So speaking up against insulting people with psychiatric disabilities is being a troll now? Actually, we search the web for people acting like bigots, Democrat or Republican alike. I am not for Thompson, won’t be voting in the Republican primary actually. But don’t let that stop you from having your fun at other people’s expense.

  27. Pingback: appletree » Blog Archive » Tuesday Links: Surfing Edition

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