Politicians of opposing campaigns were known to get the “Warren Treatment.” He ran Bush’s 1980 campaign, in which anonymous flyers and telephone calls accused John McCain of fathering an illegitimate black child.
In 2007, he was running Mitt Romney’s campaign in South Carolina, where Mitt was behind the rest of us in the polls. Of course, when confronted, both Tompkins and Mitt were “shocked” to learn that a rogue employee (who ran Tompkins’s office) was running such a website (out of the office), and the site was taken down immediately. One of the more benign and amusing things the site accused me of was being a “flip flopper.” I kid you not.
This doesn’t mean that Mitt is behind the Herman Cain hit piece. I’d like to think that he — and his extensive staff, many of them with training in the “political dark arts” — has learned that when you hire the meanest dog in the junkyard, it’s a little difficult to claim that you are surprised when he bites.
Most of us have long since given up on adherence to Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment, but Republican candidates do enough damage to each other out in the open these days. They shouldn’t get away with peddling stuff they’re ashamed to be associated with, and that can be used later by Democrats. Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree. I hope so. Still, I’d like to know who dropped the dime on Herman.
— Fred Thompson, who represented Tennessee in the U.S. Senate from 1994 to 2003, is an actor, lawyer, and political commentator.