LAWFUEL -The Legal Newswire – Tonight, coyer-than-thou Fred Dalton Thompson finally steps into the Republican race with ads on the always-friendly Fox News, a Leno appearance, a Webcast going live at midnight, and then a multi-state fly-around where he might actually talk with real people.
At the moment, it’s unclear whether Thompson is the new Ronald Reagan or another Chauncey Gardner. He was right about one thing: He skipped the first half of Republican Death March to ’08, and it so did not matter. Thompson didn’t pay hard cash to grassroots get-a-lifers communing with the same seventeen Ames, Iowa, activists. There were no clandestine meetings with the South Carolina black ops guys who did in McCain back in 2000. Instead, Thompson smoked cigars at his Virginia home, played with his kids, and watched the field self-implode.
For all the talk of below-expectations fund-raising and staffing problems, Thompson’s miscues dwarf the missteps of the guys already in the race. While Thompson was busy doing nothing, Rudy’s South Carolina campaign manager was indicted for cocaine possession, his flighty wife fell victim to critical Vanity Fair and New York pieces, and New York firefighters called “fraud” on his 9/11 record. Romney’s body guy was fired for impersonating a policeman, and he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to win an Iowa straw poll everyone has already forgotten. Meanwhile, McCain spent all his money, his campaign went into a coma, but might have done so early enough in the elongated process that he might regenerate again. The second tier? Still the second tier.
Sometimes, hard work spits in your face. Fallen presidential candidates watch The Fred Thompson Experience with awe and jealousy. “It seems the less he says, the higher his numbers go,” marveled Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander on MSNBC. You can hear the bewilderment in Alexander’s voice as he contemplates his 400 days on the road leading up to the 2000 presidential campaign that ended with zero delegates.