A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

May 1, 2007

Thompson to the Rescue?

From Stuart Rothenberg:

First of all I support Rudy Giuliani, and have done so since he spoke at the National Convention in ’04. I also don’t dislike Sen. Thompson, I admire him a great deal, but the idea of him coming to the rescue of the GOP is just not in line with reality.

Thompson has some positives on the balance sheet; that is certain.

Thompson surely has assets both in the race for the Republican nomination and in a general election, the single most important being that he both looks and sounds like the president of the United States of America. Don’t dismiss the “he sure looks like a president” factor. It’s important.

This is a good point, about the looks. He wouldn’t be a bad front face for the GOP.

Anyway, Thompson didn’t offend conservatives when he was a Senator and he doesn’t have a pro-choice, pro-gun-control record, which makes him more acceptable to conservatives than either Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) or former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. More recently, he has substituted for longtime radio commentator Paul Harvey, where he has sounded, according to one Republican observer, “like a conservative Southerner.

Okay, that helps with the “Solid South”, and “IF” the GOP is fighting for those areas, the race will not even be worth running. The real question is how does he sell in the Rust Belt – where McCain and even moreso Giuliani poll very well.

There are also some negatives to a Thompson Presidency.

Regardless of whether it is deserved, Thompson earned a reputation around the nation’s capital as someone who didn’t like to raise money and who didn’t have a high energy level in the Senate. When he had the chance to be handed a second full term, he turned it down, choosing instead to return to his acting career.

Obviously, there is a world of difference between an executive position such as president and a legislative one, and if he does enter the GOP contest, Thompson could say that he’s a “doer,” not a “talker,” who would feel more comfortable in an executive post.

I think that is a “huge” factor. I don’t see the “eye of the tiger” in Thompson. I understand that it may be his understated nature, but there has to be an air of expectancy to make me, and I assume most others to want to hop on the bandwagon. If you can’t be outgoing about your desire to be the Chief Executive, is it likely you’d be assertive as the Chief Executive? Sen. Thompson’s delays about announcing, and he’s been toying with the idea for close to two months, are not doing anything to change this perception of his plans to run. His inaction is reminiscent of the Monty Python film where there were memos from committees to plan meetings to form new committees. Some smoke, perhaps; but where’s the fire?

But what do I know?

But it is undeniable that whatever the question marks around Thompson, he looks like a serious competitor for the Republican nomination even before he has announced whether he will run.

This is a strange election. Instead of the calendar narrowing the field and making the eventual nominee more apparent, the GOP race is looking more up for grabs, with none of the three hopefuls in the top tier seemingly able to overcome their liabilities. That gives Thompson an opening, and it is likely to remain that way for at least a few more months.

It is indeed, however with the overall mediocre at best performance of the current Administration and approval ratings for the President on a good day hitting 40% – I don’t buy into Harris’ interactive online 28% poll – it is understandable that the GOP is being a bit fickle and choosy with the current cast of candidates. The question is does Sen. Thompson’s minor differences from Sen. McCain on the issues and his deeper Conservativism than frontrunner Rudy Giuliani make him a more viable candidate for the nation, and not just some part of a pessimistic and more polarized base within the GOP.


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