How it’s done

Andrew Ward reports on Fred Thompson: he’s campaigning as an outsider, but in fact was a Capitol Hill lawyer who morphed into a corporate lobbyist.

Andrew Ward of the Financial Times shows what a real reporter does when a candidate’s assertions don’t match the facts:

Until now, Mr Thompson’s policy pronouncements have amounted to little more than broad expressions of conservative principles. Much of his appeal stems from his charisma and star quality. Obvious parallels with Ronald Reagan, another B-list actor who became president, have also helped at a time of rampant Republican nostalgia for the Reagan era.

Once on the campaign trail, however, Mr Thompson’s policies, leadership abilities and life history will come under closer scrutiny.

Like Mr Reagan, he projects himself as an outsider intent on challenging the Washington establishment. In reality, he has spent much of his life in the capital, dating back to his role as a congressional lawyer during the Watergate investigation. He went on to become a political lobbyist, representing big business on Capitol Hill.

There! Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

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. Books: 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) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: