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Get Them A Maalox

Andrew Ferguson has an interesting history of presidential campaigning and the relatively recent (and to me, bizarre) phenomenon of the need for "fire in the belly."

I don't have to wait until spring to miss Fred Thomson. His absence was quite obvious, even glaring, in the last two debates.

Thompson didn't give off the usual political vibe: the gnawing need to please, the craving for the public's love. A few voters and journalists found this refreshing, many more found it insulting.

I think that this is one of the reasons that reporters and pundits often acted as though he didn't exist--they were trying to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy, and unfortunately, they succeeded. But I think that there were other reasons that the press didn't like Fred Thompson. For one thing, unlike John McCain, he was a true straight talker, and it wasn't the kind of centrist "liberal" "straight talk" that they liked to hear.

But I also think that they felt their livelihoods and stature threatened by him. After all, the conventional wisdom had become that the campaigns now had to start two years before the election, and if that's the case, it gives journalists a lot more to cover for a longer period of time. By his late entry, Fred stood to potentially upset that applecart. If he could enter late, and still win, it would not only show the pundits who proclaimed the need for early campaigning to be laughably wrong, but it would also make people think twice about wasting time and money campaigning for a year before New Hampshire in the next cycle, and then what would the political reporters have to do?


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Fuloydo wrote:

Fred is still listed on the MO primary ballot, or was the last time I checked. I'm voting for him even if I have to write his name in. It's looking to be a brokered convention anyway and I can not, in good conscience, vote for either of the front runners. Give Fred enough votes, write in or otherwise, and maybe he can score the VP slot. I'd feel a lot better about voting for Romney or McCain if they had Fred as their VP to balance the ticket a bit.

Kent G. Budge wrote:

"If Thompson could plausibly avoid an overnight campaign trip, he did, preferring to return home to his wife and children in suburban Virginia.... At one party in a private home last year, Thompson made the rounds of money-shakers, delivered brief remarks, and then slipped into a bedroom to watch a basketball game on TV by himself."

I think there is legitimate grounds for complaints about this kind of campaign style. It comes across as a man who doesn't really want to win, and that's not something you want in your nominee for the general election.

And I say that as someone who would have been very happy to vote for Thompson.

Jonathan wrote:

McCain-Feingold is a boon for the establishment press, because it restricts competing information sources. McCain in general has been good to the establishment press, and the establishment press is good to him. What did Thompson have to offer them? His YouTube videos and online essays bypassed them. He refused to pander. He didn't suffer fools. So of course the MSM tried to ignore and marginalize him.

VoteForPedro wrote:

Fred? That loser was a snoozer. Good thing he wasn't that boring as a trial lawyer or he'd never have raised enough money to buy his Senate seat. He's nothing more than John Edwards without the good hair. Yeah, I'm sure he would have voted for tort reform but, uh, he's for state's rights, that's it. It had nothing to do with all that money he was being given from the trial lawyers. Nooo. His vote couldn't be bought, I mean, unless you were talking some big money... Get over it!

Jim wrote:


While I agree that Fred's self-assured lack of preening for adoration was refreshing, he had to at least want to win. Not just believe he would make a good president, but actually believe it was worth fighting for.


We always hear that big media doesn't like unlimited campaign spending so they can control information, and I also believe there is an ideological desire to control the debate against anti-progressive forces (like corporations) but not more d/D-emocratic ones like unions and other gov't client associations.

But given the requirement that TV ads be sold at the minimum rate to all candidates, isn't there also a pure economic desire to minimize spending so that some advertising can still be sold commercially for higher prices?

- Jim Muncy

ken anthony wrote:

Ann Coulter endorses Hillary over McCain on H&C. This is why I love her. She gave the supporting facts that HRC is more conservative than McCain.

Mike Puckett wrote:

Ann Coulter has become the Colonel Kurtz of the Republican Party.

There is simply no way in hell a rational, objective, thinking person can conclude HRC is more conservative than McCain.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on January 31, 2008 10:54 AM.

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