Thompson Is In

The Tennessean is reporting that Fred Thompson will run for the GOP nomination. This is hardly a surprise, but does confirm the rampant speculation.

In many polls, Thompson is already in second or third place, which means that he’s got a more than credible shot at getting the nomination. I suspect that Thompson will steal some of Giuliani’s thunder — he has the same leadership characteristics as Giuliani without as much of the baggage. Both Giuliani and Thompson have the sort of gravitas that the GOP currently lacks. Thompson has an accomplished record in governance in law, and has been actively courting the conservative base in a way that Giuliani has not.

I’m not sure how this will all shake out. McCain and Romney are down, but certainly not out, and Romney has been giving some very strong performances as of late. Giuliani and Thompson might do what Clinton and Obama threaten to do with the Dems — take each other out and leave the field open to a dark-horse candidate. Such turns are certainly not unheard of in American politics.

If nothing else, Thompson’s entrance will make this race, already hotly contested, into an even more interesting competition. The Republicans have the advantage of a very strong field, and the top-tier candidates offer much to the party and to the nation. Even the middle- and lower-tier candidates have something to offer: Duncan Hunter is surprisingly well-versed on the issues, Tommy Thompson may have no chance of winning, but his welfare reform efforts helped millions of Americans, and even Ron Paul, while a nut, brings something to the debate. (Even if that something is a punching bag for the other candidates.) It’s a strong field, and the person who finally gets the nod is going to have to demonstrate competence, charisma, and knowledge to make it — which is a good thing for the country in general.

5 thoughts on “Thompson Is In

  1. Thompson’s caught in a bind here. Like Wesley Clark for the Dems in 2004, Thompson’s only distinguishable characteristic in this contest is that he’s not even in the contest….and once he enters, expect the energy (and eventually the oxygen) surrounding his campaign to be sucked out at the same dizzying speed that Clark’s war four years earlier. Thompson certainly realizes that he has nowhere to go but down once he declares his candidacy, but the economic reality is that he has to get in now to have the funds he needs to run a competent top-tier campaign.

    I’ve seen little of Thompson in campaign mode, but what I have seen pales in comparison to Giuliani and Romney when they hit their rhetorical stride. My money is on a Mitt Romney nomination, which would be the worst-case scenario for Democrats. Thompson’s conservative resume doesn’t seem quite as flawless as what the McCain-Giuliani-Romney haters expects it to be, specifically on the immigration issue that has conservatives so furious right now. I just don’t see Thompson bringing anything to the table except vague familiarity as “the old, bald white guy” on a TV show that lost a third of its audience last season.

  2. I have to admit that Romney seems pretty impressive, but I’m not sure that he has enough momentum for him to win at this point. I think his chances are better than McCain, but Thompson and Giuliani would have to knock each other out for him to have a strong chance. (Which, admittedly, could happen.)

    Thompson could be a Wes Clark, but his chances seem stronger. There wasn’t room in the Democratic race in 2003-2004 for Wesley Clark — Dean had the liberal base, Kerry had the “electability” vote, and Edwards had the likability factor. There’s room for Thompson in this race, which is why he’s already beating Romney in the polls without even having announced his candidacy. Giuliani isn’t conservative on key social issues, McCain’s age and “maverick” status works against him, and Romney’s not gaining much traction nationally.

    It’s still a very open race, and at this point, Thompson’s just as viable as any of the top-tier candidates.

  3. Fred Thompson is being underestimated by a lot of people because a lot of people haven’t put his name with his familiar face yet. His Law and Order career is but one of his many recognized roles. Recent drops in the show’s ratings are irrelevant.

    Is familiarity with the characters one plays on the screen a asset for the leader of the free world? Probably not.

    …whether people like it or not, is it an asset as it regards getting elected? Probably so.

    I like his chances and think Romney and Giuliani’s stance on abortion has created a void in their candidacy that just hasn’t been filled yet.

  4. IF Thompson is the Wes Clark of 2008, then Romney is the Howard Dean……the untested northeastern Governor who is gaining plenty of grassroots support within the base, slowly building momentum in the long stride to the finish line, but harboring plenty of logistical liabilities and weaknesses that could end up exploding in his face. Romney is a better politician than Dean, but only time will tell if he’s polished enough to win over his critics and get the nomination. If he gets the nomination, I’m betting he’s the next President.

    Thompson may well be the real deal, but I’d be surprised if his mystique hangs around once he’s no longer the “exciting would-be candidate”, but rather just another boring dude participating in already overcrowded candidate debates and failing to stand out in the crowd. But if Romney flops, Thompson could win by default as I remain doubtful of Giuliani’s chances with GOP primary voters and can’t see a scenario where McCain redeems himself at this point.

  5. My reponse to the idea that Thompson’s mystique will disappear once he gets in is the fact that he’s more then the mystique. Not only is his foundation on the principles of Federalism something that will endear him to the conservative base who have sought after a small goverment candidate but his approach to campaigning through the internet and videos such as his response to Michael Moore allow him to strike a cord with voters who are sick and tired of the same old candidates with only answer questions after taking about a dozen polls on the subject.

    Besides Clark didn’t possess the ability to “rally” people to his platform while I believe Thompson can do exactly that. Heck he’s done it with me and I really don’t get excited by presidential candidates at all.

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