There’s a lot of fuss this weekend over news that a close friend and supporter of Fred Thompson’s, one Philip Martin, has a criminal record. More specifically, he was convicted of selling 11 pounds of pot 28 years ago. And in 1983, he violated his parole and got more time added to his probation.

Since then, he’s apparently lived a clean life. He literally “turned his life around” and is now a very successful businessman, been friends with Thompson for over a decade, is a key advisor, and often flies Thompson around the country on his private jet.

This is being used to go after Thompson — Mr. “Law And Order” palling around with a convicted drug dealer.

Personally, I don’t see the big problem. The guy did the crime, got caught, served his sentence (eventually), and went back on the straight and narrow. Since then, he’s not only stayed out of trouble, but become very successful.

He ought to be a poster child for the way the system is supposed to work. It looks like he’d rather put it all behind him, though, and that’s OK with me. Thompson should just say “he did it, he paid for it, it’s in the past” and tell anyone who disagrees to go screw.

On the other hand, this could be a very useful moment. If Thompson’s opponents want to use Martin’s past against him, then it’s fair game to apply the very same standards to their campaigns. Just looking at the roster of the Democrats’ leading candidate, we can demand that the Clinton campaign divest itself of Sandy Berger (who STILL hasn’t completed the terms of his plea bargain and submitted to a polygraph test by the Justice Department to explain just what the HELL he was trying to do when he pillaged the National Archives) and Bill Clinton (surrendered his law license for lying under oath). And I’m sure that there are plenty of others with similarly spotty records that ought to be purged.

Then let’s move on to Obama. I don’t have any particular names, but the guy came out of the Chicago political machine. There HAVE to be some interesting skeletons rattling around in there.

You wanna play this game, folks? Them’s the table stakes. Put up or shut up.

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