For decades now, columnist Robert Novak has served as the unofficial but very real loudspeaker in national politics for the serious conservative activists of both the economic and cultural variety. Throughout the Reagan and G.H.W. Bush years, Novak was the guy who could be counted on to express the unhappiness of the Right with any deviation from its agenda by Repubican leaders. And most famously, it was Novak who, back in 1998, did George W. Bush the giant favor of a column calling him the ideological son of Ronald Reagan rather than his own father.That’s why it’s noteworthy that the Prince of Darkness today placed his imprimatur on the all-but-official candidacy of Fred Thompson, in no uncertain terms:
In just three weeks, Fred Thompson has transformed the contest for the Republican presidential nomination. It is not merely that he has come from nowhere to double digits in polls. He is the talk of GOP political circles because he is filling the conservative void in the field.
The Dark One briskly dismisses Thompson’s rivals:
Sophisticated social conservative activists tell me they cannot vote for Giuliani under any conditions and have no rapport with McCain or Romney. They do not view Sen. Sam Brownback, representing the social right, as a viable candidate. They are coming to see Thompson as the only conservative who can be nominated.
But here’s my favorite part of the column: Novak’s explanation of Thompson’s specific appeal to the Right:
Their appreciation of him stems not from his eight years as a U.S. senator from Tennessee but from his role as Manhattan district attorney on the TV series ” Law & Order.” The part was molded to Thompson’s specifications as a tough prosecutor, lending him political star power.
So that’s how Thompson gets to be the Heir of Reagan, eh? He’s pretended to be an ideal conservative on the screen. If Fred’s bandwagon gets to rolling, expect Rudy Giuliani–who actually was a successful prosecutor in Manhattan–to have great sport with Thompson as his Mini-Me.