We were at the CNP dinner on Saturday night and heard the aforementioned Mr. Thompson. He indeed receive a standing ovation from the crowd, and an enthusiastic reception when he took to the podium.
It’s interesting that people were confused by the Libby references, when Thompson stated clearly why he was using Libby as an example of overall legal and judicial reach. After explaining how the John Roberts nomination showed how the Left would do anything to destroy a good conservative, and why conservatives must fight for “first principles,” Thompson detailed the Libby case. We took notes on his remarks:
“In our system all citizens are guaranteed equal protection. And when we appropriate unlimited resources and give unlimited power and direct it all toward one individual, there had better be extraordinary circumstances.”
Later, Thompson added that the Libby prosecution was, “Just a case of public officials without the courage to do the right thing and stop this farce before it began.”
Throughout the speech, you could hear people murmuring, “Amen,” and in a speech without a lot of clear applause lines, we counted at least six or seven times folks burst into applause.
In speaking with several people after the event, all came away impressed with Thompson, less with his style, but with the fact that he came into CNP and spoke about an issue that everyone in the room cared about. “He didn’t pander, which is something I might have expected, frankly, given his future plans,” says one senior former Reagan Administration member. “I expected a laundry list, and instead we got a thoughtful, focused speech on the judiciary. Everyone here cares about judges.”
We think Thompson’s style is throwing people off. They are used to a candidate too nervous about appearances to stray from prepared text. Instead, they have a fellow who writes much of his own material, stands before them and talks about what he thinks is important. If we’d been force-fed pre-packaged, political pablum for six months, we’d be thrown too.