Just might have been the last of a vanishing breed.
Fred Thompson, a former U.S. senator from Tennessee, GOP presidential candidate, Watergate attorney and actor who starred on the television drama “Law and Order,” died on Sunday in Nashville. He was 73.
Mr. Thompson died after a recurrence of lymphoma, according to a prepared statement issued by the Thompson family. Mr Thompson, who had recently purchased a house in Nashville to return to Tennessee, was first diagnosed with cancer in 2004.
“It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of grief that we share the passing of our brother, husband, father, and grandfather who died peacefully in Nashville surrounded by his family,” the Thompson family’s statement reads.
“Fred once said that the experiences he had growing up in small-town Tennessee formed the prism through which he viewed the world and shaped the way he dealt with life,” his family said. “Fred stood on principle and common sense, and had a deep love for and connection with the people across Tennessee whom he had the privilege to serve in the United States Senate. He enjoyed a hearty laugh, a strong handshake, a good cigar, and a healthy dose of humility. Fred was the same man on the floor of the Senate, the movie studio, or the town square of Lawrenceburg, his home.”
The REAL tragedy is that he didn’t win in his bid for president in 2008–although, with his integrity and sense of honor and patriotism intact, he’d probably be ill-suited to lead the kind of eye-gouging, bare-knuckles battles that will have to be fought if liberty is ever to prevail against the Goosesteppin’ Left. Those fights are going to require admitting that they’re not any sort of Loyal Opposition at all, but a dastardly enemy of Constitutional government who will stop at nothing to win; they’re going to require getting down in the gutter with them and fighting every bit as dirty as they do. I don’t think Fred would have been at all comfortable confronting that fact, sad as it is, and I’m as sure as I can be that he wouldn’t have been happy about it. But then, neither is anybody else, really.
That said, if there was anybody in the Senate–hell, in Mordor on the Potomac period (quote: “After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood”)–who understood the meaning and intent of the Constitution better than Fred, and who could articulate it in a more plainspoken, common-sense way, I don’t know who it would be. Bless him; may he rest in peace. I’ll use an old category from 2008 one last time for this post; it’s a reminder of a might-have-been that might have made a world of difference to us. And I’ll let Fred have the last word:
“Maybe I needed to be reminded of what an old-timer told me years ago after I’d had some success: ‘Just remember, son, the turnout at your funeral is still going to depend a hell of a lot on the weather.'”
Farewell, Fred. The nation needed as many of your kind as it could get, but unfortunately we only had just the one.