Carol Platt Liebau: Fred Thompson's Cancer

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fred Thompson's Cancer

I like Senator Thompson, and if he chooses to run, would welcome him to the race. Of course, at this point, I'd almost be willing to vote for a chimp on the Republican ticket, under the well-grounded assumption that the primate could run a more muscular and less craven foreign policy than the typical Democrat.

Even so, I think Thompson's admission that he has suffered from lymphoma is, perhaps, a bigger stumbling block than many Republicans would like to concede. It strikes me as very important that all medical facts be put on the table right now. Unlike prostate cancer or skin cancer -- which are relatively common, which means voters have some familiarity with them and are able to evaluate the relapse risks -- there's less general knowledge about lymphoma, and frankly, to me, it seems significantly more serious.

Senator Thompson ought to let his doctors come out and do a full and complete press conference, and then permit Republicans to decide whether his health is solid enough to be worth taking a chance on. Because unless the facts are put out there squarely and surely, Democratic operatives will be very capable of exploiting public fears about the senator's health should Thompson win the nomination. And God forbid he suffers a relapse after becoming the Republican nominee -- not only would it be a tragedy for him and his family, but also for the country insofar as it would effectively hand the White House keys to the Democrats without much of a fight.


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