Fred Thompson was never much of a presidential candidate, but for a moment in 2008 he was the toast of the conservative blogosphere. Dismayed at the idea they might be saddled with John McCain, blogs like Instapundit started flogging Thompson’s wannabe viral videos with him offering some of the acting he did on Law & Order but in a presidential campaign context. When he finally got on the campaign trail he was a dud, and even Fox News noticed.
After he exited the race he dabbled in a little talk radio then became a fixture on cable news as a pitch man for “reverse mortgages” from a company called American Advisors Group (AAG).
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the watchdog created by President Obama and hated by Republicans, just released a consumer advisory about companies like AAG and their advertising:
Ads for reverse mortgages are found on television, radio, in print, and on the internet, and many ads feature celebrity spokespeople discussing the benefits of reverse mortgages without mentioning risks. We looked closely at many ads and found incomplete and inaccurate statements used to describe the loans. In addition, most of the important loan requirements were often buried in fine print if they were even mentioned at all. These advertisements may leave older homeowners with the false impression that reverse mortgage loans are a risk-free solution to financial gaps in retirement.
The agency goes on to note:
Seniors said the ads made reverse mortgages look like a good way to travel and enjoy retirement while they were still young and active. Yet Americans are living longer, more active lives than ever before. Reverse mortgage borrowers can outlive their loan funds by borrowing without careful planning.
As the CFPB explains, “the lender can foreclose on your home” which is not something Fred Thompson says in his ads which have invoked Reagan in order to convince right-leaning cable watchers that this product is for them.
There is so much hucksterism on the right, and it looks like Fred Thompson is getting his slice of the pie.