This Fred Thompson Thing Is a Joke, Right?

06/30/2007 06:54 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Last night the USA Network had a banner onscreen announcing that a "Fred Thompson Marathon" was going on, and they were showing only episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit that feature the former Senator from Tennessee who fancies himself an actor and presidential material. Why?

Here's my slim dossier on Fred Dalton Thompson: I saw him at brunch at Balthazar in New York a couple of years ago. I first spotted him as I was standing in the vestibule waiting for a table. As a Wonk'd and Gawker Stalker operative I am always looking for celebs/politicos on whom to drop a dime as they walk their dogs or, as Thompson was doing, stab all the food off their dining companion's plate with their fork from across the table and stuff it in their mouth.

He had on Homer Simpson-style reading glasses and his eyes were beadier in real life than on TV. He was with a woman roughly his own age, who at that time I assumed was his wife. Now, of course, I know his wife was/is much younger, so I don't know who it was. I do know that for some reason he asked for a picture with the young, pretty waitress, which the older woman took.

No one was paying any attention to him that day. Why are they now?

Now, this sighting was during the height of my Law & Order habit, before I had seen literally all of the episodes of L&O you can see on TV, which I now have done (I'm so ashamed to admit I was watching again last night), so I was mildly interested to see D.A. Arthur Branch in the rather pasty, smaller-than-on-TV flesh, even though he's the most humdrum D.A. the show has had.

He's really planning to run for president of these United States? Seriously?

Jamie "Klinger on M*A*S*H*" Farr is a Republican, too -- he's not interested in running?

Pundits, consultants and media types -- so desperate for a viable Republican candidate to run -- are qvelling about how politician-turned-actor Thompson is 2008's answer to actor-turned-politician Ronald Reagan. Reagan had Bedtime for Bonzo, Thompson has Curly Sue. But the comparison ends there, my friends! I should know, since not only do I live up the street from the Hinckley Hilton, but...

Senator, I served with Ronald Reagan. I knew Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Ronald Reagan.