Fred Thompson is still hopeful, but in a different way than when he entered the presidential race. He gave an insightful interview to Fox News’ Sean Hannity,
and it had some of the most refreshingly honest answers we’ve heard in
politics in a while. But then, Thompson is out of politics…

THOMPSON: It might be — a lot of people seem to think,
and it might very well be true, that a person has got to be extremely
personally ambitious and desire the office more than anything else in
the world, and willing to do what’s necessary, and anything that’s
necessary, to achieve it.

And I just never was there. And — but I was what I was. And I come
out the other end of it the same way I went into it, and that’s much
more important to me than a particular election.

And we got to talk about things, the few things, the handful of
things that really matter. Most of these things we spend all our time
on don’t really matter. The president can’t do anything about them
anyway. But…

HANNITY: Boy, that’s an honest statement, that you don’t really often hear.

THOMPSON: Well, it’s true, and everybody knows it’s true. But you’ve
got to go around, you know, and talk about and answer all the
questions, and be — try to be all things to all people. And nobody can
really do that.

I saw this interview when it aired. It loses something on the
printed page. Thompson was blatantly honest about the nature of a
presidential campaign.  And the near total certainty that he’d wind up
in the VP spot.

The presidency is the only job in town that’s worth
going through what you’ve got to go through to get it. And that
includes the vice presidency and all of the rest of them, as far as I’m
concerned.

And I thought I had an opportunity to do some things a
different way. And if I was successful, I could lead in a different
way. That didn’t work out. I’m interested in absolutely nothing else
other than doing what I can to help those who are trying to help this
country, and be a good citizen and do those things that I can do now in
the private sector to help these kids and grandchildren.

But that does not involve, you know, going to state funerals in faraway places.

That pretty much describes the traditional role of the vice-president.

How does Thompson see Barack Obama?

Well, Senator Obama is a great unknown. I think seldom,
if ever, has anyone gotten this far in the process and we’ve known less
about them. He’s new, and he’s inexperienced. That’s one of the things
that’s troubling to me, considering the times that we live in and that
we’re going to be living in.

What we do know indicates that he is very typical. He is a young man
on the move, very ambitious politically, been laying his groundwork for
a long, long time to run for president. And he is one of the most
liberal politicians in Washington. And he walks lockstep with the most
liberal positions that come down the pike on every occasion.

That’s what we do know about him. And those are troubling things.

So these — these gaffes that he’s making, so-called, these unsavory
friends that we’re hearing a lot about it, I mean, that’s — that’s
insightful, I think, in trying to determine who this guy is. But the
very fact we’re going through this process of trying to determine who
this guy is this late in the game is unique and different.

Trying to figure out who the presumptive nominee for president is,
this late in the game, is more than unique and different. It’s
unsettling, even for a lot of Democrats.

And how about the embattled Republicans?

Well, the question is whether or not we’ve kind of
learned our lesson. You know, we — as the old saying goes, you know, we
came to town to drain the swamp, and we — instead of that we made
partners with the alligators. And now we’ve become, you know, big
spenders ourselves and engaged in the same kind of stuff the Democrats
have been engaged in. Have we learned our lesson? We got our clocks
cleaned last time.

We need to reform ourselves. We need to learn our lesson. We need to
get back to basic fundamental conservative principals. The things that
we are supposed to believe in, which should guide us through all these
issues that come down the pipe.

The problem is, as we sit here today, very few people on Capitol
Hill have any credibility. Saying it is one thing. Saying a, you know,
death- bed confession or conversion is one thing, but having a track
record and standing tall when times are tough is another thing.

So….what about John McCain?

We can’t run a typical campaign with typical kind of
promises and so forth in light of what’s happened, in light of the
unpopularity that so many Republicans have nowadays. And some of it’s
deserved. Some of it’s not. We’ve got to have a different kind of
approach, different kind of campaign and a different kind of man, the
kind of man who everybody gave up for dead.

Figuratively and literally, that would be John McCain.

I mean, when I got in the race back last September
everybody had written John off, including me. And so now he comes back,
the longest of the long shots, and now, ironically, he, more than
anyone else, is in a position in this supposed to be terrible year for
Republicans, is postured to win in November.

At this point, anything could happen. And now, an intriguing
question is where some of these former candidates will wind up, like
John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Sam Brownback, Fred Thompson…

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....