Former Mexican President Vicente Fox claims George W. Bush is afraid of horses. Bush’s Crawford, Texas, ranch is reportedly “equestrian-free.” It’s a little shocking. It’s kind of funny. But more than that it adds to my theory that Bush has contempt for anything smart and hardworking (see Valerie Plame and U.S. Armed Forces).

Really? He pretends to be a cowboy, and he doesn’t like horses? I am deathly afraid of monkeys. I am. They’re gross. But you don’t see me dressing up like Tarzan as part of my public persona.

But maybe that’s how you get to be the Decider. Like WWF wrestling, you have to choose a character for theatrics. “Sunday Night – the Decider meets his arch nemesis – The Inquisitor! In a smack down of biblical proportions!”

So in the contest to be the next Decider – the tights are pulled on, and we’re ready to rumble! The latest contender is Fred Dalton Thompson. His character? Multi-millionaire former lobbyist, Hollywood actor? Naw, he’s an unassuming Southern bumpkin lawyer. It’s Ben Matlock – played by Fred Thompson!

Now it’s going to get interesting! And when has hype ever been wrong?

Thompson played a committed, competent yet tough public servant on television‘s Law and Order. He can do this. He can read the script and be convincing. That’s all we need in the ring.

When Thompson announced his candidacy on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, it was like time stood still. Really. I think time actually stood still.

“It was about as riveting as a steel worker on strike,” as Matlock might say as he was driving a pick-up truck on his way to fetch some fried chicken and biscuits.

Ahem. Thompson’s real political record is as follows: He won a special election seat for the Senate in Tennessee in 1994 and was then reelected in 1996. He was the alleged ’down to earth’ candidate that drove a now infamous red pick up truck along the campaign trail.

The Washington Post reported that his red pick-up truck was leased.

He didn’t BUY it – but the voters did!

When Thompson doesn’t know something on the campaign trail, he uses, “I can’t pass judgment.” “They were good people.” “We can’t take anything off the table.” And then there are times when he just flat out states that he doesn’t know. Questions on anything specific are all curve balls to him. He said he couldn’t recall the details about the Terri Schiavo because it was ’going back in history.’
I thought only tweens considered 2005 ’back in history.’

While in Clarksville, Tennessee, The Jackson Sun quoted Thompson saying the US is “on a good course” in Iraq.

On a good course? Maybe that’s ‘going back in history’. Like to 1991.

But it‘s been working. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. So we don’t have to know either. And that has made him tied for second place with McCain in some polls. I think that’s the definition of ‘failing up.’

Fred Thompson is a skillful producer of white noise. It’s soothing once you get used to it. And it frightens me to think that’s enough of a qualification to be the next president of the United States.

Because with his All American story of coming from nothing and becoming a television star – he just plum picked himself up by his bootstraps and accidentally stumbled on power, money and fame – he’s like a Norman Rockwell painting.

If there was a Norman Rockwell painting of a simple farmer and his trophy wife.

There’s just something about that twang. “I’m just a simple Southern Lawyer.” It makes people want to trust him. Colonel Sanders won’t do nothing that’s bad for you. Foghorn Leghorn don’t mean no harm. Matlock has got it all figured out. Aw, shucks, that’s why you should vote for him.

Like politics, professional wrestling is fake. But like we have seen with Benoit, the wrestler who killed his family and then himself – real people can actually get hurt.

With a botched trillion dollar vanity project known as the Iraq War being dropped in the lap of whomever is the next president, it’s time to end the make-believe. We’re in real trouble.