How might a Southern Baptist like Richard Land find Fred Thompson morally acceptable as a condidate for President, asks TNR? Michelle Cottle suggests various possibilities:
1. Cite an expiration date on adultery. Unlike Rudy's relatively recent tackiness, Fred's marital indiscretions took place two decades ago--long before he was in public office. Land could always argue that Thompson has since experienced some sort of religious epiphany that showed him the error of his ways. Any mention of this subject could be brushed aside with something akin to George W. Bush's all-purpose "When I was young and stupid, I was young and stupid."
2. Cite the sad state of Thompson's first marriage. (You know, the old, "Adultery is a symptom not a cause of marital problems" line of argument.) Apparently, Fred and first wife Sarah were having troubles long before their 1985 divorce. Sarah's brother Oscar was recently in the London papers discussing Sarah's original divorce petition, filed in 1981. Of course, Oscar noted that the "cruel and inhuman treatment" Sarah accused Fred of in '81 had to do with Fred's tendency to "take opportunities" with the ladies--suggesting that at least some of their existing problems had to do with Fred's wandering ... eye.
3. Stress the exceptional cruelty of Rudy's behavior. It is hard to deny that Rudy isn't at least a little special in the utter disregard for human decency he displayed by announcing his impending divorce and his affair with then-mistress Judy at a press conference before he had told then-wife Donna the marriage was over. Fred at least kept Sarah safely back in Tennessee while he did his thing in Washington. And even if folks knew he was catting around, he at no time called a press conference to announce that he was dumping the mother of his three children.