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Senator-Actor’s Conservative Credentials Blemished by Stance on Illegal Aliens


By John Tiffany

Fred Thompson’s formal entry in the Republican presidential sweepstakes helps Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) to the detriment of others competing for the “conservative” label. But Thompson the politician has problems that could be fatal.

The former Tennessee senator and TV star is trying to dress himself up as a little tin Ronald Reagan but an examination of his Senate record shows he may fit the image too well. Although Reagan, is a conservative icon, he was too easy on immigration. As a senator, Thompson was, too.

But, unlike the Reagan years, immigration is a burning issue in the nation today and especially with the Republican “core conservatives.” During eight years in the Senate, Thompson repeatedly supported amnesty for criminal aliens. When voters become aware of this, Thompson will have to feverishly repent and promise to sin no more.

Here’s Thompson’s immigration record: In 1995, he voted against an amendment that would have restricted benefits for illegal aliens. The amendment passed 94-6, and Republicans voted 49-5. In 1996, he voted against a worker citizenship verification program designed to keep illegal aliens from getting jobs. The program was approved 54-46. Republicans voted 20-33.

Ron Paul has long and consistently opposed rewarding illegal aliens with tax-funded benefits and amnesty. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is an outspoken advocate of amnesty. Reps. TomTancredo ( RColo.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) also strongly oppose amnesty. Mike Huckabee, former governor of
Arkansas, who had no previous record on the issue, says he opposes amnesty. Others are ducking for political cover now but cannot escape their past.

Former Massachusetts Gov.Mitt Romney is a late-life convert. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani still supports amnesty on grounds that entering and re-entering this nation illegally is somehow “not a crime” but a “civil violation” that should be tolerated.

Paul is one of three candidates in either party who would end the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan immediately. All the others, except Bill Richardson (D), governor of New Mexico, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) waffle about on “timetables” and “give the surge a chance.” Richardson, and Kucinich, would yank the troops immediately. Paul would also, as the only America-first candidate, bring U.S. troops home from around the world.

Despite establishment and media efforts to keep Paul sidelined by ignoring his candidacy, demeaning him, and keeping him out of debates, his message is resonating with voters. He was neck-and-neck with Hunter in a Texas straw poll you didn’t read or hear about and none in the “top tier” broke single digits.

Paul’s name remains the Internet’s most searched for politician. According to See more at Ron Paul ’s website: Contact Paul’s office toll free: 1-888-322-1414.

John Tiffany is the copy editor for AFP and the assistant editor of THE BARNES REVIEW historical magazine. Email him at [email protected] or [email protected].

(Issue #38 & 39, September 17 & 24, 2007)

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Updated September 14, 2007