Now that the Fred Heads have had their moment to sit down, take a deep breath and hug their life-size Die Hard 2 posters, can we please have a more grounded conversation about Fred Thompson?

Jonah Goldberg of NRO waxed the waxiest of poetics today over the seemingly boundless appeal of the Fred. In addition to listing the same old “Fred Thompson fought Mothra” nonsense, he went on to explain how Thompson’s articulate, “folksy” way makes him the ideal candidate for leader of the free world:

First and foremost, Thompson’s articulateness shouldn’t be underestimated. He shares with Ronald Reagan — another actor-politician — an ability to communicate ideas in folksy, almost conversational ways without losing important nuance or meaning.

Most Republicans won’t admit it, but Bush’s trouble articulating his views — compounded by a terrible communications operation (save for standout Press Secretary Tony Snow) — is a major irritation on the Right. There’s a reason that IMAO’s No. 1 “Fred Thompson Fact” is “Fred Thompson has on multiple occasions pronounced ‘nuclear’ correctly.”

Bush’s sloppy speaking style only serves to bolster the perception of his incompetence. That’s why the least discussed but most important theme in the Republican primaries is competence. McCain, Giuliani and Romney are all running as the competence candidates (as would Gingrich, if he jumped in).

And Fred Thompson just seems so darn competent. Whether he’s the ideal president or just plays one on TV remains to be seen. He’s certainly typecast himself as the cocksure, wise, hands-on type in almost every movie role he’s had and as the district attorney on Law & Order.

That Fred Thompson…he’s just so darn competent. I know that’s what I like in a President. Anyway, perhaps it’s time for a reality check on Freddy. There are some serious concerns that should be raising red flags with the red state crowd here:

He opposed tort reform

How will Republicans be able to sleep at night without having this issue to throw at John “the abulance chaser” Edwards? As a freshman senator, Thompson worked to strip thou reforming of torts from a medical malpractice bill. So when Big Freddy stands (someday) on stage with the other GOP candidates, and he’s asked to defend this, what will he say?

He is John McCain 2.000

What, really, is the difference between these two? After all, Thompson believed in McCain so much that he supported him for president in 2000. In addition to supporting McCain’s presidential ambitions, he voted in favor of the Arizona senator’s controversial Campaign Finance bill.

Will Thompson be able to, once again, stand across the stage from John McCain and articulate (in his own “folksy” way) why McCain deserved his support then but doesn’t in 2008?

He has a mediocre resume

As a senator, Thompson didn’t make any waves, nor did he rock the boat. He was a one-and-change term senator who in fact developed a reputation for being just a tad bit lazy. He approached politics reluctantly, has approached the presidency reluctantly, and as Ezra Klein pointed out, walked away from American politics right when the going got tough.

“Folksy” speeches and “darn” competence are all wonderful traits for the grandfather character in some sitcom. But Fred Thompson is almost super-sure that he wants to be leader of the free world. He told you so, because he blogs at Townhall and RedState a lot about stuff. He told you so, because he’s leaving a failing Law & Order program. He told you so…well, what tells you that he really wants this job?

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