For a wrinkled guy, Fred Thompson has that rosy, fresh scent, if for no other reason than he is not yet actually running for president. Once the reality of his entering the race hits, all those people that want Thompson in the race are likely to suddenly become disillusioned. Good press (as reporters search for ever more candidates in the already overflowing field) will often follow an unofficial candidate right up until he/she officially declares, at which point the attacks begin. Clearly then, the smart thing for Thompson to do would be to hold off declaring until late October of next year, at which point he might stand a chance of winning.

Unfortunately for Fred, that can’t happen, so when he announces his presidential run in a couple weeks, he’ll have to answer hard questions about his years of work as a lobbyist. Right now none of Thompson’s past lobbying efforts are in the forefront of the minds of voters, but once his past becomes common knowledge, Fred is going to have some serious problems. Lobbying for a billion-dollar failed nuclear project and for a saving-and-loan bill that helped collapse the industry are, granted, not something most voters cast ballots based on, but on top of those misguided efforts, Thompson was a lobbyist for the horrific Haitian President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

To refresh unpleasant memories, Aristide, ousted among protests of corruption (among other things), was globally despised for endorsing a sick form of execution where tires, soaked with gasoline, were thrown around a victim’s neck and set on fire. This practice, called “necklacing” was, quite disturbingly, praised by Aristide, who stated, “The burning tire, what a beautiful tool! … It smells good. And wherever you go, you want to smell it.” Even more disturbing, perhaps, is one presidential candidate to-be’s lobbying the White House on Aristide’s behalf.

If Rudy and Romney are having a tough time answering questions of social liberalism and flip-flopping, respectively, the cross-examination of Fred Thompson should be the stuff of movies, and without a script, Thompson is going to be faced with the nearly impossible task of maintaining his likable facade.

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