Yep, he’s using the “Power Tools” defense: a lobbyist, like a lawyer, takes no moral responsibility for the positions he advocates.
Can Fred Thompson really get away with telling social conservatives that the positions he took as a lobbyist have nothing to do with his real beliefs? It’s probably true. But I doubt they’ll hold him blameless as a result; nor should they.
Since Thompson loves folksy expressions, let me put in in terms he’ll be sure to understand: “That old dog won’t hunt.”
Footnote: I’m not sure show much Arianna Huffington is paying Tom Edsall, but she seems to be getting her money’s worth.
Second footnote The right-bloggers who denounced the original story as a hoax by the liberal media ought to be ashamed of themselves. But they won’t be. Life is much easier once you’ve trained yourself to disbelieve any inconvenient fact.
Author: Mark Kleiman
Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out.
Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken)
When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist
Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993)
Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989)
View all posts by Mark Kleiman