First and foremost, Will has both Reagan and Thompson wrong in the same manner that people dismissed Reagan in his political career. Thompson has a long career as more than just an actor. Thompson's acting career was accidental; his political career was much more deliberate. He made his name as a reforming activist lawyer, first with Watergate, and second in exposing corruption in the Tennessee governor's office. And like Reagan but in a much shorter time frame, he has spent the last several months delivering speeches and papers on issues.
Thompson first came to national attention by working with Senator Howard Baker on the Watergate committee. It was Thompson who brought out the Oval Office taping system that captured all of Richard Nixon's incriminating conversations. Thompson also asked the critical question: "What did the President know, and when did he know it?"
Afterwards, Thompson pursued a case of pardons-for-bribes corruption in Tennessee. He represented Marie Ragghianti, a whistleblower who uncovered the corruption. With Thompson's help, a number of Tennessee state officials went to prison, and while Governor Ray Blanton managed to remain free, his political career was finished. The film Marie tells the story based on the Peter Maas book, and Thompson played himself. That started his improbable Hollywood career; he did not train to be an actor, but a lawyer and a clean-government activist.
It's a shame that more people don't know more about Fred!, and his background. His tenure in the US Senate (8 years) is 6 years more than a certain "clean and articulate" Democratic candidate who has NO BACKGROUND other than he's black. And he supposedly gave a decent speech at the '04 Donkey Convention. And with Fred!, you know that what he says, he means--unlike a certain pantsuit-wearing, lifelong
Yes, Fred! may have voted against impeaching Bill Clinton. But, is it wise to hold that one mistake against him? Absolutely not! Because compared to the current crop of GOP'ers running for Prez--most of which are RINO's at best--he represents the conservative viewpoint much more completely.