After months of slouching toward a campaign, Fred Thompson finally breaks out of the gate, it seems, only to immediately stumble over his own lack of focus or ability to run a campaign, coupled with his hazy record on the issues and a weeklong slog of lackluster performances:
Fred Thompson’s plunge into the presidential pool — more belly-flop than swan dive — was the strangest product launch since that of New Coke in 1985. Then, the question was: Is this product necessary? A similar question stumped Thompson the day he plunged.
New Coke was announced on April 23, 1985, with the company’s president piling on adjectives usually reserved for Lafite Rothschild — “smoother, rounder yet bolder.” Almost 80 days later, the public having sampled it, the company pulled the product from stores. Perhaps Thompson’s candidacy will last longer than New Coke did.
It is not entirely clear what Thompson believes. When he was Senator he seemed to support an open-borders approach to immigration. In recent speeches Thompson has not supported President George W. Bush’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, which was soundly defeated.
If the Thompson balloon were launched high but then returned to earth, with Thompson falling behind other candidates, that would mean the several-month tease in the form of his exploratory committee would have been for naught.
[Thompson will] take some heat for that but the larger issue for social conservatives may be this: If California start to have legislatures endorse gay marriage and have a liberal Governor sign it into law then what Thompson is saying is that he’ll live with that because it didn’t come from an unelected judge but rather elected representatives. How will that go over with conservative pro-family groups?
One would hope that on the fundamental, driving issue of national security — the issue that is driving so many as we head toward 2008 — having to backtrack on the very basic issue of what to do with Osama would be unnecessary.
The first Thompson statement was a tacit endorsement of the Clinton policy this nation repudiated after September 11th.
And at this stage in the game, even Hillary Clinton has answered more competently on that subject that the Thompson campaign’s first stab at it.
That the campaign required a second stab at that basic question makes me shudder with disbelief.
When it comes to overhyped underperformers, Fred Thompson’s entry into the presidential race was right up there with Britney Spears at the MTV awards.
The Republican Party’s great tall hope announced his intentions on Jay Leno’s show, and timed it to coincide with his avoidance of the candidate debate in New Hampshire. That was supposed to send the message of – what? A fear of crowds? A preference for answering questions only while seated? His performance certainly could not have been more low-key. You do not often hear somebody say “I’m running for president” in the same tone Jay’s guests use to announce that they’ve signed on for the next season of “Dancing With the Stars.”
Now that Fred Thompson is officially in the race, it is appropriate to say that he is, on the face of it, by far the weakest potential president of the top tier Republicans.
Strongest is Giuliani who, alone of all the candidates in both parties, has done something. Two things—saved New York City; and led America for two days six years ago.
Fred Thompson came to the offices of National Review some years when he was still in the Senate. I liked him fine. He has done nothing, anywhere, ever. The Hubble Telescope could not find what he has done, because he has not done it.
It would be unwise to put such a man in the White House at this moment in history.
Hat-tip to Race42008.com.