September 13, 2007

"Important neutral Republicans decreed privately that [Fred Thompson's campaign] had crashed and burned on takeoff."

Writes Robert Novak:
Failure to use the past six months to craft an inspirational, exciting campaign can be partly explained by the exclusionist attitude of the old friends and political professionals in possession of Thompson's candidacy.
Novak blames Mary Matalin, whom he calls "a Washington insider who does not espouse the socially conservative views Thompson is expected to project by those Republicans in search of a nominee." It sounds like Novak has a lot of old friends himself, and they are being excluded from the campaign they want in on. And Novak seems to think that the Thompson campaign is trying to keep the candidate from looking too conservative. So Novak is on the attack because he wants his friends to get jobs and he wants Thompson to be quite conservative. I expected Thompson to make a showier start, but that doesn't mean his approach isn't a deliberate strategy that will ultimately play out well. And I'll like it if Thompson isn't too conservative, just like I like it that Clinton isn't too liberal.

More Novak:
Thompson's great asset remains the collective glass jaw of his opponents. Giuliani is not only a social liberal in a socially conservative party but is burdened with a life story that makes Democrats tremble with anticipation. Romney, who has transformed himself from liberal to conservative on social issues, seems to many Republicans to be a multimillionaire investment banker willing to make any deal (though his biggest problem with evangelicals and strict Catholics is his Mormon faith). McCain seemed his old feisty self in the New Hampshire debate, but on Sunday he came across as melancholy on ABC's "This Week." So there is still a void. But can Thompson fill it?
Perhaps he is filling it, just by not being any of those things. Why then should he be any more specific or exciting than he's been? It's worked well so far. It's possible that he knows what he is doing.

24 comments:

Fritz said...

Which Clinton are you referring to? Hillary is a leftist hiding behind Democrat liberalism. If she could, she would remake America to become like Venezuela. Bill Clinton yes, not Hillary.

Mortimer Brezny said...

And I'll like it if Thompson isn't too conservative, just like I like it that Clinton isn't too liberal.


This is crazy talk. We know that Clinton will be liberal, because Democrats will likely have 57 seats in the Senate if and when they retake the Oval Office. (Or as Hillary would have it, the Ova Office. Bring your brooms!) She's not going to veto Democratic legislation just to appeal to conservatives and she's not going to promote free trade in treaties with an isolationist, pro-union Democrat Senate. That the woman knows how to appear moderate to upstate New Yorkers and to be collegial in the Senate and market her image to soccer-Moms (which is debatable, in any event -- that Republicans think she's the least lefty and most experienced Democrat only proves they haven't been looking at NRA's favored son Governor Bill Richardson too closely), doesn't mean she'd restrain herself once she had some real power. The last time she had some real power -- HillaryCare, she went nuts. The idea that she's going to be moderate for moderation's sake is somewhat silly, and the notion that she's not going to be weighed down by the Iraq War and end up a one-term President if the antiwar CodePinkers don't get their way is somewhat silly, too.

EnigmatiCore said...

One thing I find interesting is how, no matter who the Republicans nominate from the current crop, 'Republican experts' will have been wrong about their chances, since as best I can tell 'Republican experts' have said there is no way for each and every one of them to win the nomination.

Rudy can't win, because conservative voters will never go for him.

McCain can't win, because his campaign is nearly broke and because he has antagonized too many grassroots Republicans.

Thompson can't win, because he's lazy, hasn't assembled enough ground forces in the right states quickly enough, and is behind in fundraising.

Romney can't win, because evangelicals will never vote for a Mormon.

Huckabee can't win, because economic conservatives like the Club for Growth hate him and his nanny-statism won't play outside of the south. Besides, his ballyhooed break into the top-tier after the straw poll hasn't materialized.

The rest can't win because they haven't made any move towards the top-tier.

But someone will win the Republican nomination. The experts will be wrong either about Giuliani's ability to hold conservative votes, McCain's ability to come back and to soothe ruffled feathers, Thompson's fire in the belly and long-term appeal, the lack of a Mormon problem for Romney, the appeal of Huckabee's economic populism, or of the ability of another to escape the bottom tier.

John Stodder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Stodder said...

The Republican pundits love their Romney, and Thompson is the biggest threat to him. Hence, this pundits' revolt against Thompson was entirely predictable.

Meanwhile, no matter how many puff jobs Novak, Hewitt and Will give Romney, voters as measured in polls continue to say they don't like him. Given Guiliani's apparent vulnerabilities and McCain's real ones, Romney's low poll numbers among GOP voters are inexplicable except for the fact that regular people viscerally react to him like he's a strange, mysteriously unsavory character.

hdhouse said...

has the Future President Butterball campaign taxied to the runway yet? Will the beast get off the ground? Talk about drag....talk about overload....

Hoosier Daddy said...

has the Future President Butterball campaign taxied to the runway yet?

Dunno but I hear Hillary is already picking out new curtains and cushions for Broomstick One.

Joe said...

Novak's column is mostly a whole lot of whining. I do disagree with the pundits though; Thompson's campaign didn't crash an burn on takeoff because, to slaughter a metaphor, the plane is nowhere to be seen. His is about as big a stealth campaign as you can find.

Just how freaking clueless is his campaign? Try finding his web site. (Not one that says, "join me and give me money", but one that actually makes declarative sentences.)

Paddy O. said...

East coast men like east coast politicians. It's the rest of the country that matters.

Fred is playing to win the rest of the country. And positioning himself outside the pundits might be a great idea.

Sarah said...

I only went to the Fred08 site to try and send them a comment. Don't judge his popularity or his appeal based on his first-week pop announcement bounce.

Cincinnatus said...

I agree about Romney, he's twice as slick and polished as I wish he was. Historically, republicans have benifitted enormously for having candidates that you trust in your gut against democrats that you don't. Thompson is the very model of this.

Bankerdanny said...

I would love to know when it became a requirement for a Republican to be an overtly religious anti-abortion social conservative. Somehow I missed that memo.

It seems to me that both Thompson and Rudy are fair representations of mainstream Republican America. Socially moderate (and to me, not opposing abortion is a moderate viewpoint), a preference for low taxes and minimal government intrusion into private lives.

Rudy and Thompson are divorced. Well so is a large portion of the electorate. Thompson isn't a regular church goer. So what? I haven't been inside a church for anything but a wedding or funeral in years. My own wedding was a civil service.

If the Republican leadership thinks that Bush won because he was an anti-abortion christian I think that they are sadly mistaken.

Pick a man who can lead, and then sell America on why he is qualified. And the fact that he attends church regularly is not a leadership quality.

M. Simon said...

Maybe Novack is jealous of us nobodys who connected with Fred's campaign with hardly a glitch.

If you need a friend Fred is there on MySpace. If you need a widget for your blog Fred is good to go.

Maybe Novack doesn't understand the computer thing.

M. Simon said...

You know its funny but i had no problem finding Fred's site.

That search engine thing really works. I'm going to try it more often.

Fred has a real blog. You can leave comments. Fred asked for people to write him about what they considered the most pressing issues of the day.

Mac 458 said...

Cincinnatus and Paddy O. -- if you think Fred is playing to win the rest of the country, or that he's the model of trust (by comparison to Dems), by my lights he has a long way to go. He wore gucci loafers to an event in Iowa, for crying out loud. And trust me, I live in McLean (his real home, not TN), I've seen him around -- that was not an aberration. He is not middle America (but he's an actor, so maybe he'll improve on that).

More importantly, IMO, he doesn't seem to understand his own record as a Senator, or his opponents' positions -- or if he does, he isn't articulating either very well(see George Will's column today for this point).

Really, Thompson's campaign has been uninspiring to date. (And I want to be inspired!)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It seems to me that both Thompson and Rudy are fair representations of mainstream Republican America. Socially moderate (and to me, not opposing abortion is a moderate viewpoint), a preference for low taxes and minimal government intrusion into private lives.

Rudy and Thompson are divorced. Well so is a large portion of the electorate. Thompson isn't a regular church goer. So what? I haven't been inside a church for anything but a wedding or funeral in years. My own wedding was a civil service.


It seems that bankerdanny has describe me and every other republican that I know. The evangelical hard line anti abortion position is the minority. The majority are moderates who take a live and let live stance on many issues, want smaller government, less taxes.

Seneca the Younger said...

"Important neutral Republicans degreed privately that Thompson should have hired them and not those other clowns."

Brian said...

The only people complaining about Thompson are political insiders and pundits. Truth be told, who really cares about what they say? They are impatient and want something to either write about or the jump on the bandwagon.

I think Mr. Thompson realizes that the more these guys speak, the better he looks through silence. I am not concerned one bit with his campaign. The campaign is too long anyway. C'mon, we are still a 14 months from the election, and this has been going on for 6 months already. Enough already, especially because no one besides the die-hards are paying attention.

reneviht said...

Huh, only 19 comments on a political post? I expected twice that, especially since the GGriffen/Jesus post broke 100.

hdhouse said...

M. Simon said...
"Fred has a real blog. You can leave comments. Fred asked for people to write him about what they considered the most pressing issues of the day."

Taking your advice I wrote this:

Dear Mr. Thompson,
My deepest concern is that we keep getting mediocre putzes running for president...you know the type, 'heck, its raining, can't play golf today, guess i'll run for president'...and its damn depressing..ya' know what i mean....damn depressing.
regards,
hdhouse

and mysteriously it was taken off his blog....it was the blog about thanksgiving turkeys right? the butterball blog? that was thompson's blog...errr maybe i'm wrong....google??? ohhh i thought you said gobble.

nevermind.

gullyborg said...

These same "experts" in 1980 told us there was no way Reagan could win the nomination.

The "experts" need to get outside the Beltway once in a while and talk to real Americans.

Zeb Quinn said...

It seems that bankerdanny has describe me and every other republican that I know. The evangelical hard line anti abortion position is the minority.

Of course
they are in the minority. But that's not the point. A minority yes, but also a discrete bloc that votes that way, when they are motivated to get out and vote, which is just enough votes to give the repugs a winning margin. But here's the problem: they just as easily might not vote too, which is what happened in 1976, 1992, and 1996, when they stayed home on election day, and you can see what happened those years. Give them a reason to vote, and they'll be out with bells on their toes. That's why they get pandered to. Even the dummycrats understand this calculus. That's why they love to make big deals about the Mark Foleys and Larry Craigs. They know the evangelicals find that stuff repulsive, and therefore it operates to suppress the evangelical vote, enabling the dummys to slide in.

Joe said...

How very strange. When I posted the above about not being able to find Fred's web site, I couldn't. All I found was a simple site with a video message asking for donations. Today, I went to the same web address (from my history) and there it was. I can only assume it was down temporarily and/or hijacked.

Joe said...

BTW, Fred's site still sucks. Long on nothing, short on specifics. If this reflects his campaign, he's DOA.