Just a moment ago, I suddenly remembered who Fred Thompson keeps reminding me of, and it turns out it’s a fellow Tennessean — Victor Ashe, the former mayor of Knoxville.
Mr. Ashe was the Republican nominee selected as a sacrificial lamb to go up against Al Gore in 1984, as Rep. Gore strode easily into Howard Baker’s former Senate seat. I covered the race, such as it was.
Mr. Thompson reminds me of Mr. Ashe not because of any physical resemblance — there is none — but because of a rhetorical quirk.
During the 1984 campaign, Mr. Ashe led a bulldog around on a leash, and adopted the slogan, "Bulldog Tough — Downright Tennessee!" At least that’s the way I remember it; it was either that or something equally goofy and meaningless. (If you were there, and have a record of the exact quote, please contact me.)
Perhaps as his answer to McCain’s "Straight-Talk Express," Mr. Thompson has apparently also named his bus tour. It’s called "The Clear Conservative Choice: Hands Down!" Really. I don’t know what they call the bus when they’re in a hurry. "Clear," maybe. A sample release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Darrel Ng
December 17, 2007 571-730-1010
"The Clear Conservative Choice: Hands Down!" Bus Tour Schedule
McLEAN, VA – The Fred Thompson campaign announces an updated schedule for Senator Thompson’s bus tour through Iowa from December 18-December 22.
In addition to Senator Thompson’s previously scheduled events in Iowa on December 18th, he will also be interviewed on various radio and television programs. There are no other changes to the schedule.
Media inquiries for the Iowa tour should contact Darrel Ng …
… and so forth. "The Clear Conservative Choice: Hands Down!" is almost, although admittedly not quite, as devoid of clear meaning as Mr. Ashe’s long-ago effort.
It reminds me of some of the statements Jim DeMint has issued in favor of Mitt Romney. Never mind the details, he’s conservative, I’m telling you! Just like you and me!
Buzzwords, but no buzz, as near as I can tell. But wonderfully goofy — Hands down! Downright Tennessee!