Yesterday's "First Read" (yeah, I'm a little behind) includes a telling exchange between Fred Thompson and a Native American rancher in Coralville, Iowa. The rancher asked Good O'l Fred how he would improve conditions on Iowa's Indian reservations. Fred, who, let's face it, probably didn't know that Iowa has reservations, turned the tables and asked the gentleman what he thought the government should be doing. The rancher reportedly "launched into a long response that spanned the need to honor the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, Clinton's failure to pardon Native American activist Leonard Peltier and the need to 'introduce something from the corporate America that will help them, so we're not relying on the government so much.' "
To which the apparently "overwhelmed" Fred oh-so-thoughtfully said he'd "look into it" and noted:
"You've raised my consciousness level on some things that I'll look into...I can't give you a lot of answers to what you're talking about in old treaties and Leonard Peltier."
I'm sorry, but even most politicians who know next to nothing about Indian affairs have some idea of what the Leonard Peltier controversy is about and could have pulled a more substantive answer out of their...hat. And, not to pick on poor ol' Fred, but I would expect him to have a smidge more info and be able to wing it better than most seeing as how he appeared in "Thunderheart," the 1992 fictionalized account of Peltier's saga.
Wait! Do we think this somehow means that Thompson's acting background doesn't qualify to run the country?! Next thing you're going to tell me is that Val Kilmer isn't fit to be head of the FBI.