Fred Thompson's Surprising Social Moderation

| Sun Nov. 4, 2007 6:27 PM EST

Fred Thompson had this to say on Meet the Press today, via Marc Ambinder:

MR. RUSSERT: This is the 2004 Republican Party platform, and here it is: "We say the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution"... Could you run as a candidate on that platform, promising a human life amendment banning all abortions?
MR. THOMPSON: No... No. I have always—and that's been my position the entire time I've been in politics. I thought Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. I think this platform originally came out as a response to particularly Roe v. Wade because of that. Before Roe v. Wade, states made those decisions. I think people ought to be free at state and local levels to make decisions that even Fred Thompson disagrees with. That's what freedom is all about. And I think the diversity we have among the states, the system of federalism we have where power is divided between the state and the federal government is, is, is—serves us very, very well. I think that's true of abortion. I think Roe v. Wade hopefully one day will be overturned, and we can go back to the pre-Roe v. Wade days. But...
MR. RUSSERT: Each state would make their own abortion laws.
MR. THOMPSON: Yeah.

Bravo for not pandering, Mr. Thompson, though you've made your life just a little bit harder. Also, this is tricky issue on which to apply the old federalism argument. If you believe life begins at conception, it's hard to argue that states ought to make their own laws. Life ought to be protected everywhere. If you believe women have a fundamental right to control their own bodies, then you believe that right ought to be protected everywhere. This isn't like school vouchers or gun laws. Inalienable rights are in question.

Anyway, I also liked this from MSNBC's First Read:

We noticed more than 30 "umms" from Thompson before losing count and at least nine throat clearings -- often right before answering a difficult question.

Yeah, he's not the slickest guy in the world.