As much as there is talk of Fred Thomspon being the “new Reagan,” it’s doubtful that he will garner the same kind of Hollywood support that the Gipper garnered in the 1980s or that Obama and Clinton are enjoying this year.
In the Los Angeles Times today, Tina Daunt notes that Thompson will have a tough time drawing huge numbers of donors because of the town’s Democratic bent and because so many of the major Republican donors already are committed to one candidate or another, namely Rudy Giuliani or John McCain. (Perhaps not so coincidentally, Giuliani has trumpeted a couple of showbiz endorsements in the past few days).
Back in June, when Thompson was still “testing the waters,” I speculated a bit on his prospects, noting that such prominent industry Republicans like Lionel Chetwynd and Harry Sloan already were committed. And as much as has been made about Thompson’s stardom, he is a favorite character actor, but he is not a born and bred Hollywood figure. So far, Thompson has been emphasizing such things as national security and fiscal conservatism over gay marriage and abortion. Many Hollywood Republicans are turned off when candidates press socially conservative issues — even if their nod may not mean much if you are trying to win a primary.
This is not to say that Thompson is without praise or any support in Hollywood. And his work in the industry could pay off in other ways.
Some have speculated that Dick Wolf would hold an event for him, given that the “Law & Order” creator has been so complimentary toward him.
Another who also has offered praise is Arnold Schwarzenegger. He said in an interview with ABC News that Thompson’s acting background will prove an asset.
“Coming from show business, your presence is different, you are comfortable in front of the camera,” Schwarzenegger said. “You have trained yourself to connect with people.”
He added, “I think there are only advantages coming from the entertainment background. I don’t see any disadvantages.”
Schwarzenegger also seemed flattered that, in announcing on “The Tonight Show,” Thompson was taking a page out of the Governor’s playbook.
“Anytime anyone copies you it is always nice,” Schwarzenegger said.
Here’s Thompson’s Des Moines debut on Thursday: