Today's Blogs

Fred-Heads Rejoice

Bloggers respond to Fred Thompson’s big announcement, Norman Hsu’s disappearance, and Luciano Pavarotti’s death.

Fred-heads rejoice: While the other Republicans were debating in New Hampshire, Hollywood actor and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson formally declared his candidacy … on The Tonight Show. No one’s surprised—Thompson had been “testing the waters” since June—but bloggers have lots to say about his timing and prospects.

Michael Falcone at the New YorkTimesCaucus thinks Thompson might have tripped at the starting gate: “We’ll see what kind of a reception Mr. Thompson gets from Granite State residents and the local press who seemed none too pleased that the former Senator skipped last night’s debate there.” And Ace at the conservative Ace of Spades says he’s glad Thompson jumped in but criticizes his performance with Jay Leno: “What’s up with him nervously slapping his hand on his thigh? How can this guy not be comfortable in front of an audience yet?” Over at New West Notes, Bill Bradley makes a similar point: “Intriguingly for a veteran performer, Thompson cleared his throat repeatedly in the beginning, and spoke fairly rapidly.”

Does Thompson have a real shot at the White House? Jesse Walker at Reason’s Hit & Run believes he does: “There are other social conservatives in the race, of course, but they don’t have the TV star’s crossover appeal.” Lefty Marc Ambinder concursif Thompson takes advantage of the media attention: “When candidates wear the lucky celebrity coat, every network morning show wants them on RIGHT NOW. Every magazine writer wants to put him on the cover. This – meaning – this week – is Thompson’s second moment. He probably won’t get another moment.”

Reaganite Ken Taylor at The Liberal Lie, the Conservative Truth is delighted: “Thompson is running a conservative campaign that stands for limited government, strong defense, less taxation and returning the power to the people while enforcing border security and immigration laws.” Lefty Joseph Palermo from the Huffington Post, on the other hand, complains about the legacy of actors as GOP politicians and claims that Thompson’s ” ‘qualifications’ amount to little more than being able to emote on demand and read a mean teleprompter. He’s not an ‘empty suit,’ but a desiccated, mummified version of 1950s Man. John Wayne meets Charlton Heston.”

Read more on Fred Thompson’s announcement.

Where’s Hsu? Norman Hsu, the disgraced Democratic donor and fugitive, has vanished. Last week he turned himself in after it was discovered he’d pleaded no contest to fraud charges in 1992 and disappeared before serving his sentence. He posted $2 million for bail and was supposed to appear in Superior Court Wednesday. He never showed up, and now no one knows where he is. Bloggers have a field day.

Over at Hot Air, righty AllahPundit expresses unrestrained joy: “Maybe he’s stuck in traffic? Could we really be so lucky as to have one of Hillary’s, and the Democrats’, top donors turn this glowingly radioactive? Stand by for giddy schadenfreudean updates!” Conservative Riehl from Riehl World View is pretty happy, too: “Democrat and Clinton contributor / swindler / bail jumper Norman Hsu fled to Hong Kong might be the current speculation. Did I mention he is a Democrat?”

Hugh Hewitt berates Hillary Clinton, for whom Hsu raised cash, for her part in the scandal: “Hillary’s campaign is stonewalling media requests for the names and amounts of bundled campaign contributions delivered to her by fugitive Norman Hsu, a big contributor and fund-raiser for her presidential campaign. … Investigators tracking Hsu ought to call Hillary’s campaign people and immediately demand the names of every bundled contributor as these are people the fugitive is most likely to contact.”

Sarah Pavlus of progressive Media Matters insists the Democratic candidates are not at fault: “No candidate or committee that received money from Hsu has been charged with any wrongdoing. Upon learning that Hsu was a fugitive, Clinton, Obama, and several other campaigns that received money from him said they would donate it to charity.”

Perhaps the best post of all is from financial analyst Flip Pidot at Suitably Flip, who snoops around Hsu’s SoHo address to see if he’s “still stuffing clothes in a duffle bag.” Unfortunately, Flip concludes that “we’ll never hear from Norman Hsu again.”

Elsewhere, conservative Clayton Cramer rounds up a Hsu box full of puns, and “Jrlingreenbay,” a commenter at Michelle Malkin’s site, offers up lyrics to “Runaround Hsu.” Read more about Hsu’s flight from justice.

Ciao, Pavarotti: Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti has died at age`71. Known not only for his voice but for his charisma, Pavarotti helped popularize opera.

Anchoress commends Pavarotti’s forays into mass media: “Although classicists and purists criticized him for performing with more ‘commercial’ (and popular) artists, I kind of liked how Pavarotti mixed it up with contemporary musicians. Opera gains new fans when singers dare to move outside of their repertoire, and that’s not a bad thing.”

At CultureGrrl, Lee Rosenbaum posts this reminiscence: “I saw Pavarotti at both ends of his career: I resonated with his nine perfect high C’s in 1972 when he achieved instant international fame in Donizetti’s ’La Fille du Régiment’ at the Metropolitan Opera. … Then in 1996, expecting much less, I marveled at how much of his voice and artistry were still intact in the last performance of his that I attended—revisiting one of his signature roles, Giordano’s ‘Andrea Chenier,’ also at the Met.”

And Alan Block praises the tenor’s work ethic: “He had that beautiful, lyric voice, of course, and an abundance of natural talent and charisma. But it took more than natural talent to become Pavarotti. He loved to sing as a youngster, of course, but when he was 19 he decided to try for a career and began taking serious lessons, which meant vocalizing for hours, day after day. You have to do that to be able to make it sound easy and effortless.”

Read more about Pavarotti. In Slate, Jane Eaglen remembers singing with the great tenor.