That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.
Lackluster? Many pundits view Fred Thompson’s debut debate performance on Tuesday as less-than-dazzling but free of gaffes. One even said that the problem is he has to compete against the image of himself as Arthur Branch on “Law & Order.” Of course, none of this will mean much a few news cycles from now, when the focus will be on another GOP debate, this time in Manchester, N.H., on Sunday.
Even so, Andrew Sullivan weighs in on The Atlantic Online with a few words of praise for Thompson. He likes the laconic side.
Sullivan writes, “I haven’t changed my mind on the essential vacuousness of Fred Thompson’s candidacy. But watching the debate last night and judging it purely as style, I can see his appeal. Others have written of his solemn demeanor. For me, what stood out was that he seemed the only candidate who held something back, who wasn’t obviously aiming to pander or please, who has a sense of self that isn’t purely that of a candidate. (That’s partly what I like about Obama as well: he hasn’t become a total politician yet.) You get the sense that Thompson may actually have a view that is his own and not filtered through various polling mechanisms.”
Abby Approval: Dear Abby, a.k.a. Jeanne Phillips, is for gay marriage. “There should be gay marriage. I believe if two people want to commit to each other, God bless ’em,” the syndicated advice columnist said in an interview with The Associated Press. “That is the highest form of commitment, for heaven’s sake.” Her mother, Abigail Van Buren, the original advice columnist, is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease but in 1984 referred a parent of a gay child to the organization PFLAG.
Commercial Break: Thompson got an unexpected boost during a commercial that aired mid-way through the debate: It was from Sam Waterston, his “Law & Order” co-star, doing blurb spots for Ameritrade.