In significant ways, Fred Thompson video challenges the status quo

Many blogs have already noted Tuesday’s amazingly quick, and quick-witted, video response by Senator Fred Thompson to the re-surfaced Michael Moore’s open letter.

Senator Fred Thompson vs. Michael Moore

Fred Thompson answers Michael Moore.

Blogger Bob Krumm said it best when he argued that Senator Thompson’s response speed could be a powerful factor should he decide to run, particularly compared to lumbering campaign operations like Senator Hillary Clinton’s.

The video, though, is also important from another perspective. Let’s examine Michael Moore’s pathetically predictable modus operandi. He’s got a movie coming out at Cannes in a few weeks. Despite being publicly silent for two years, he breaks into the news last week with a manufactured controversy, which is immediately lapped up by the media. If you think this is a genuine turn of events, you weren’t watching closely enough in 2004, when Moore manufactured a fake controversy just prior to the release of his last film, Fahrenheit 9/11. While there were folks who were watching and responding to Moore (myself included), the mainstream media did the entirely expected: they parroted Moore’s talking points, helping him to a $100 million-plus box office take.

So here’s why Senator Thompson’s video is important. While critics of Moore like myself and many other bloggers are typically viewed by the media as conservative cranks at best, the gravitas that Senator Thompson lends to a critique of Moore simply cannot be ignored, and will only grow more watchable to as the campaign season goes on. Particularly if all his responses- to Moore and other public idiots- are as clever and as devastating as his retort this week.

Others with stature and media oxygen have wisely chosen to ignore Michael Moore, a position I commend and support. At the same time, I am grateful to see somebody taking another approach, and facing Moore head-on. It’s a battle of wits Moore frequently baits people to engage in, if only for his own rewards, and he often chooses poorly. This time, a man who severely outmatches him has chosen to flick him away, in 30 seconds or less, for the world to see and share. I’m looking forward to the next time Moore, or somebody of his ilk, challenges Senator Thompson.

My statement on OJ’s new book

Via MSNBC, I just learned that my former publisher, ReganBooks, is putting out a book by O.J. Simpson titled “If I Did It.” According to news reports, the book will describe how Simpson “would have” killed Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, murders he was aquitted of in 1995.

Although I value free speech, I also value appropriate restraint, and in this case I think ReganBooks has gone beyond the pale in their effort to publish sensational material. More than that- I’m truly disgusted and thoroughly embarrassed to be associated with a publisher who is stooping to such a disgraceful act.

UPDATE:
Gratefully, ReganBooks parent NewsCorp has decided to junk both the book, as well as TV special created to accompany it.

Mickey Kaus and the infalability of Malcolm Gladwell

To be honest, I think it’s getting past time for somebody to infuse some much-needed skepticism into Malcolm Gladwell‘s writing.

As much as I love and respect Gladwell’s writing- his book, The Tipping Point, is one of my all-time favorites- he’s coasted far too long on an overwhelmingly unchecked public image. Call me cynical, but I believe that few, if any, public figures should enjoy a 100% approval rating.

It’s curious, then, that along comes Mickey Kaus to inject a healthy arched eyebrow towards Gladwell’s latest New Yorker article, subtitled The bad idea behind our failed health-care system.

Kaus doesn’t trash Gladwell- he just raises some interesting arguments that suggest Gladwell’s tendency to sometimes avoid mentioning counter-arguments hinders his points. Kaus’ sharpest criticsm:

Like many New Yorker policy articles, Gladwell’s reads like a lecture to an isolated, ill-informed and somewhat gullible group of highly literate children. They are cheap dates. They won’t think of the obvious objections. They won’t demand that you “play Notre Dame,” as my boss Charles Peters used to say, and take on the best arguments for the other side. They just need to be given a bit of intellectual entertainment and pointed off in a comforting anti-Bush direction.

Interestingly, Gladwell’s healthcare article isn’t getting flack from Kaus only- here’s the IceRocket blog search results for the article’s URL.