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I'm Brendan Loy, a 26-year-old graduate of USC and Notre Dame now living and working in Knoxville, Tennessee. My wife Becky and I are brand-new parents of a beautiful baby girl, born on New Year's Eve.

I'm a big-time sports fan, a politics, media & law junkie, an astronomy buff, a weather nerd, an Apple aficionado, a Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fanatic, and an all-around dork. My blog is best-known for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina, but I blog about anything and everything that interests me.

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Thompson apparently dominating debate

There's a Republican debate going on right now in South Carolina. I'm not watching it, but John Podhoretz says that Fred Thompson is "not only winning this debate, he is giving the most commanding debate performance we've seen from any candidate in either party since the beginning of this endless primary process."

At NRO's The Corner, Rich Lowry says Thompson has been "funny, pointed, substantive, and conservative." Kathryn Jean Lopez writes that his performance exemplifies "why he wears well with conservatives even after what seems like a lackluster campaign — he sounds like one of us. He spontaneously sounds conservative. Because it's a natural element for him."

But it isn't just conservatives who are impressed; so is the New York Times blog:

Mr. Thompson rocks tonight. Asked about the recent confrontation between United States warships and Iranian speedboats, he suggests casually that if Iran’s Revolutionary Guard becomes more hostile, the Iranians will see those virgins they’ve been looking for.

Heh. And earlier, "Mr. Thompson draws the biggest applause of the night so far with his litany of accusations against Mr. Huckabee, including the charge that he is basically a Democrat."

Jonah Goldberg says, "I think if he'd been this guy from the beginning, he'd be at the top of the pack." He wonders if Fred will get a bounce from his performance tonight. And a reader thinks it could be a double-bounce: "I don't know anyone who doesn't like Fred, but they all support someone else because they don't think he can win. If he gets a small bounce in the polls after tonight's performance, it could very well translate into a large bounce once it looks like he has a chance."

Peter Robinson seems to agree: "in my judgment, Thompson need only sustain this performance for a couple of days before votes, and money, start moving in his direction." In tonight's debate, Robinson adds, "the one consistent and authentic conservative in this race made himself the man to watch. When Fred roars, he roars."

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Ned Lamont has endorsed Obama. I'll try not to hold it against you, Barack. ;)

By the way, about that Kerry endorsement I mentioned earlier: NRO's Andrew Cline questions the timing.

Oh, and Dennis Kucinich is demanding a recount in New Hampshire.

UPDATE: Via Hot Air, Thompson on Huckabee:

Ouch.

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I don't know what debate they were watching. Fred Thompson was average. The leaders in South Carolina stayed that way in the debate. It was McCain and Huckabee all the way.

Condor, no offense, but I'm not sure if you're Fred's target audience, ideologically speaking. :)

perfect! he can challenge the votes and make sure all the votes are accounted for while obama does not have to do so and lose any credibility. a win-win situation.

Mr. Condor exhibits the signs of Fred-denial. Mr. Huckabee is slippery and has much to be slippery about. Mr. McCain is in denial on his immigration/amnesty shenanigans and tax position.

It is very simple: will the Republican Party remain conservative? Certainly not if Huckabee or McCain is the nominee, and probably not if Romney or Giuliani is chosen.

I want a conservative. Fred.

Now, far be it from Mee to, like, wanna Say anything but what have I been Tellin' yez about ol' Fred? Watch out for Fred. He's easily the closest thing to a Republican in this allegedly Republican race.

Kucinich said he...wants assurance that "100 percent of the voters had 100 percent of their votes counted."

Oh, well, is That all you want, Dennis? Well, hell, that's Easy. / As a longtime New England professional elections administrator I hereby Assure you that 100% of the voters had 100% of their votes counted, just like Always up here in the Perfected regions of the Cradle of Liberty & of Gov. John Winthrop's shining City upon a Hill. ;>

Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlon said... "Perhaps the best thing that could happen for us is to have a recount to show the people that ... the votes that were cast on election day were accurately reflected in the results. And I have every confidence that will be the case."

Your Confidence is inspiring, DepSOS Dave. / But your understanding of The People whom you verycommendably wish to so Show, may be somewhat Incomplete. For they already Know that what you want to Show is False & indeed Impossible, because: they Lost.

(btw, Watch out for lots&lots More of this crap as the election Cycle wheels Onward :)

Fred was meat and potatoes conservative all the way. It was absolutely a commanding performance. Everyone else was lackluster to acceptable.

Rudy better damn well hope that he can hang in there until Florida votes. His performance in the debates thus far has been very, very tired and not compelling at all.

Romney looks like he's gotten to the point of being everyone's second choice. Could work for him, but he looks like he wants to stamp his foot on the floor, and say "Me first, dammit"

I don't know what's up with McCain. I think he's stepping off of whatever throttle he may have had in NH.

Huckabee is going populist, which typically doesn't really work until the general election. It's weird. I don't know if there are a particularly large number of "independent" voters that are coming out for the primaries this season and that's why the populist thing is working or what.

Yo, Instalanche comin'


If Fred had jumped into the race last Fourth of July - and actually made an effort to get votes in the straw poll, and did more summer campaigning - I think he would've taken a lot of the late-2007 momentum that went to Huckabee.

Fred's other issue: Saying you won't play the game is great, but the problem comes when everyone else still is.

"Condor, no offense, but I'm not sure if you're Fred's target audience, ideologically speaking. :)"

You might be right, but in all fairness, Podhoretz and NRO aren't just Fred's target audience, they practically make up the bullseye.
I'll defer to the NYTimes, though, on this one.

As Thompson supporter and a student of speech:

He did well but not overwhelming so. Guliani was weak. Paul tolerable. Romney not bad, as with Huckabee, who focused, and skillfully, at recovering from past hits.

Thompson and McCain (apart from faltering on illegals) did well. It was a good performance for Fred, but not a stunnng win.

That's not what the FOX News focus group said. According to them, Fred hit the ball out of the park.

Is anyone else besides myself getting tired of all the references to Ronald Reagan? It was like whatever their position was, they had to invoke Reagan's name to put some authority or authenticity or both behind it.

Can we petition a new rule in the debates? How about don't utter Reagan's name unless it's really germane to the discussion, e.g. "Reagan conservatism," as opposed to just dropping names, e.g. "I was a foot soldier in Reagan's army," "Reagan raised taxes, too," etc.

As for Fred, I hope he's found his magic formula and stays with it. When he's feisty and aggressive, he comes off really well.

And Huckabee totally weaseled his way out of the religious quote question (re the wife submitting to the husband). Any true Christian would have caught on to his misinterpretation of the biblical passage. I think there's something in the ten commandments about lying...?

I was surprised when Fred Luntz' folks overwhelming ruled Thompson the winner and I'm even more surprised to see that same sentiment here on the internets. He made some jokes, but I didn't hear anything specific, as some said he outlined. Pretty much he just railed Huckabee and Huck took it without much of a fight, I really didn't expect that approach to pull much weight, but apparently it did.

Thompson ended up getting spotlighted because everyone else was really low-key. Romney sounds like a broken record, Guillani is history, McCain did well, and I thought Huckabee was really solid with his stand for religion and separation of religion and his duty as president. And Ron Paul won the text voting poll again, and really cleverly exposed the Fox Anglows when they tried their best to desparage his mighty campaign.

Funny. A debate or two ago I said: "enough of these effing debates".

So I still think Thompson sucks, having not watched the umpteenth debate to see him "dominate".

Too bad it took him, like, 19 debates to get his sh*t together. Maybe he has a shot in 2012, learning lessons from this year. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's had enough by now.

Thompson is a non-starter. All he is doing by pointing out Huckabee's record is ensuring that McCain gets the nomination.

Thompson laid into Huckabee accurately and effectively in the clip Brendan linked to, and if you saw Huckabee's response, his answer, while charming, addressed exactly none of Thompson's points.

As a man of the south I found it a little strange that Mr Luntz focus group did not have southern accents? HMMMM!

My rankings for this debate:

1) Fred
2) Rudy
3) McCain
4) Paul
5) Huck

I forgot Romney --

1) Fred
2) Rudy
3) Romney
4) McCain
5) Paul
6) Huck

I watched about half of last night's debate.

It was great watching Thompson lay waste to Huckabee's record.

McCain was weak and I can't see how any conservative can support him -- bad on taxes, immigration, judges. Also let's not forget there's probably baggage going back to the S&L scandal that for certain the Clinton folks will be able to dig up.

Guiliani was weaker than he really is -- unlike a lot of the guys on the stage he's got a lot of accomplishments -- brought down organized crime in NY, turned the city around and of course 9/11. Plus he's a typically a straight shooter and great speaker. He'd be a good president.

Thompson is the truest conservative so I like him too -- his views and answers were all solid. He needs to be more aggressive and go on the attack more. being positioned way off to the side of the stage didn't help much either.

I want to like Romney -- says the right things, a man of accomplishment outside of government, good speaker. Don't really get why he doesn't do better.

Huckabee is a slimebag and anyone who doesn't see it is blind. Are you really ready for another president from Arkansas? That said, if I were him, I'd outline my achievements as governor in the context of picking up the pieces from the Clintons' admin as opposed to Tucker. Maybe he's saving this for head-to-head against Hillary if it comes to that...

Ron Paul's a non-starter, nothing more.

Bottom line is I'd be happy with Thompson, Guiliani or Romney.

Ron Paul was a distraction, and Fox's decision to exclude him previously was wise.

Romney sucks. I have never liked him in the debates. He is like Kerry. He responds to the question but he never actually answers it.

By the way, Bush is saying that the U.S. should have bombed Auschwitz during World War II. Given the fact that high altitude bombing in WWII usually resulted in entire city blocks being destroyed, I'm not sure if Bush simply doesn't understand history or if he is an advocate for killing off the Jewish inhabitants of concentration camps faster than Hitler did.

It's nice to see Fred getting some love from the supposedly conservative National Review crowd.

Too bad those jokers have already given Romney their big wet kiss.

I'm all for banning references to deceased politicians. No more remarks about which one's the "Goldwater Republican," the "Reagan coalition leader," or the one trying to continue the "legacy of FDR." They're dead, and they're probably never have endorsed someone like you.

Heh

Rudy strikes me as a James Polk Jacksonian.

"Ron Paul was a distraction, and Fox's decision to exclude him previously was wise."

God forbid that a debate involves, well, debate (or as you put it "distraction").

Debate is not obviously distraction. Ron Paul is a distraction because he has no chance whatsoever of winning the nomination.

I meant "Debate is obviously not distraction."

Ron Paul has finished ahead of Thompson and Guilliani in the primaries thus far, so arguably, none of those three jabronies should be in the debates. I mean Thompson got ONE percent in the last primary, I almost tied him!!

A&A, I'm not sure what it's got to do with the 2008 campaign but since you Mentioned it: I've seen Documentaries in which Holocaust Survivors told of how the Jews imprisoned in the deathcamps prayed for the Allies to bomb the genocide factories ~ knowing full well that many of them would die as a consequence. Perhaps the most Famous survivor of all, the great Elie Weisel, has confirmed that he & his fellow prisoners were ready to sacrifice their own lives to enable the forces of Civilization to mount a Direct assault upon the demonic machinery of mass murder.

I think (may be wrong on this) that Churchill was pushing for this also. Some Allied leaders were, anyway. I gather that the Military honchos nixed the idea, partly because of the inevitable Collateral damage but even More so because they didn't want to Distract the aerial bombardment campaign from its primary Task of destroying the Nazis' military/industrial War machine. (Which, they plausibly argued, was the shortest path to defeating Germany altogether and thus halting the Extermination as quickly as possible.)

Much of the history I read and recall indicated that Churchill and others wanted the Allies to bomb the railways leading to the concentration camps, and not the camps themselves.

I saw a documentary on this a few years ago. The Jewish groups were pressuring FDR to bomb the camps but he felt, as Joe Loy points out, it was better to use those bombs on the German war-making machine and end the war sooner.

It could also be that a WASP President in 1940s America didn't see the liberation of some Jewish prisoners as a priority when you consider how far the planes would have to fly inland under heavy fire to do it. It was hard enough to survive bombing Berlin much less traveling into Poland and Czechoslovakia. I guess the alternative would have been to get Stalin to do it, but he was too busy executing Polish Army officers to worry about liberating Jews.

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