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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Did Fred Thompson "have to" get married?

Trading comments with EPM below, I got to wondering about this.

Fred Thompson got married at 17, did he have to get married?

As far as I have been able to determine, Thompson was married on September 19, 1959. His first child was born in April of 1960.

By my count, that's seven months.

(Also, as far as I can tell, Thompson's current wife Jeri (Kehn) Thompson was born in January 1967. His three children by his first wife were born in 1960, 1963, and 1965.

So, the answer is yes. His second wife was younger than his children when he married her.)

I don't know, but I'd like to hear about those moral values again.


  • I have to think that people won't hold something that happened when he was 17 against him, if that's what you're insinuating. If we are judged by our actions as teenagers, then God help us all.

    By Anonymous Pedro, at 11:50 AM  

  • The irony (hypocrisy?) is that the Republican base does indeed hold quite a bit against today's 17 year-olds. That they would say tish-tosh to the same behavior in one of their own, simply due to the passage of time is interesting.

    But then again, the Republican base has never been consistent in the application of their moral yardstick.

    By Blogger -epm, at 12:59 PM  

  • Pedro, I agree with you in principal, but if you're out front preaching moral virtue and abstinence and hiding this, it would be a big deal.

    It would be like if the top anticrime guy were hiding a teenage autotheft.

    Really, I think I'm blowing this up because of the "ick factor" I'm getting off his much younger wife.

    She was born the year he graduated law school.


    EPM, True.

    My moral yardstick is arbitrary and not absolute.

    The young old thing creeps me out.

    Dodd having a toddler creeps me out, too.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 1:48 PM  

  • In Thompsons defence, from my frame of reference:

    I don't personally give a rippin' fart if Thompson "had" to get married.

    While I have no insight into his relationship with his first wife, the fact that they were married so you -- and presumably had a tough row to how, at least in the early years -- the fact that they were married 26 years is something I don't dismiss lightly. Can you imagine the emotional and intellectual changes one goes through from the time of their 17th birthday 'til their 40's? I know a little of which I speck here. (Though I haven't divorced and taken up with my youngest daughters college roommate. *snark*)

    He didn't "dump" his wife for the cheerleader... It was another 10 years or so before he met Jeri, and another 6 years before they married.

    I haven't heard anything (yet?) that he is estranged from his children since the divorce. In fact at the time of the divorce his "baby" was 20-21 years old.

    By Blogger -epm, at 1:54 PM  

  • Mike, while you might claim that your "moral yardstick is arbitrary," it seems you apply that given yardstick consistently. Others have very rigid yardsticks, but it's their application that is arbitrary.

    I'll take your consistently applied arbitrary yardstick, to the arbitrarily applied rigid yardstick any day.

    By Blogger -epm, at 1:59 PM  

  • Well, for instance, if Thompson's wife wasn't so "plastic" it probably wouldn't bother me as much. And if it were sexually reversed for instance Clinton and a twenty year younger man, I would peobably be shouting "go for it, baby."

    There's something that feels predatory to me about this. That may be completely false, but there's something in the image that just feels very wrong.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 2:24 PM  

  • There are two things going on here. 1) the 'ich' factor, and 2) 'do what I say not as I do' factor.

    This is about 'ich'. I think the pairing looks odd so we search for reasons and come up with calling him a leach and her a gold-digger.

    To try to balance these thoughts, I remember old Justice Douglas who had a late acquired wife half his age – for a very long time. And Henry Kissinger and his “younger” wife have stuck it out (I think). But Douglas’ wife was devoted to his environmental work, and Nancy Kissinger seemed to be extremely bright and interested in Kissinger’s work... (Have to remember I could have been hoodwinked by publicists.)

    Then I look again at that picture and I have a hard time taking the high road from the visual cues they were both displaying!!

    By Anonymous Marcia, at 3:27 PM  

  • Right.

    And, let me add that, for me, there's a predatory feel to this as well.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 3:59 PM  

  • I will say this on Thompson's behalf, being from Nashville. Thompson and his first wife are on good terms, and she campaigned for him when he ran for senate. Secondly, His second wife is 40 years old. Yea, it's an age difference, but not that big of a deal. I can't blame him for marrying a hottie.

    By Anonymous Pedro, at 9:27 PM  

  • "Predatory." That's the feeling I get from these images.

    These two -- like the couples marcia references -- may indeed be kindred spirits. However, the fact we can't find the mutual, intellectual, emotional connection between Fred and Jeri (as opposed to the possible banal connections of self interest) shows how little we know about Thompson and what really drives him.

    By Blogger -epm, at 9:29 PM  

  • Predo, I made a similar point elsewhere... that Jeri isn't exactly a spring chicken. The 'ick' factor comes from the fact that Jeri looks like she's 19 and Fred looks, well, let's just say he's done nothing to soften the ravages of time upon the human body.

    So, for me personally, I'll admit that my reaction is emotional and somewhat shallow, and not a reasoned criticism.

    By Blogger -epm, at 9:35 PM  

  • Pedro, that's a really good point about the first wife being on good terms.

    EPM & Pedro, I'm not really trying to make an argument that Fred Thompson is somehow "wrong" in this.

    I'm just expressing that it creeps me out.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 9:36 PM  

  • Mike, I find this an interesting discussion on social norms and mores regarding marriage/divorce and age differences in intimate relationships.

    I'm not trying to "win" an argument. It's just an enjoyable exercise to do some self examination on how and why I feel the way I do on social issues. Good stuff here.

    By Blogger -epm, at 10:12 AM  

  • Hey you all should look up President Thompson's record on peterepublic.org; educate yourselves!

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