Fred Thompson’s surprising third-place showing in the latest USA TODAY-Gallup Poll is certainly a reflection of rank-and-file Republicans’ unease about the declared GOP candidates. But it also provides insight into the show-biz requirements of a successful modern candidate.
I wouldn’t call it unease. I’d call it disgust and frustration. Either the candidate is NOT conservative and has proven it, or they do not have enough name recognition, but would run a good campaign.
Thompson, who has oscillated between the political and entertainment culture for 35 years, personifies that cross-cultural appeal more than any Republican now in the field. Simply put, Americans like a little rock star in their presidential candidates. (See Barack Obama).
Are they serious? The fact that Thompson was a conservative while in the Senate doesn’t seem to occur to anyone. Yeah, he made one major mistake – McCain/Feingold, and admits it. Of course, it sure doesn’t hurt that he has a face that people recognize.
The question is whether a few polls and some Internet buzz is enough to entice a 64-year-old man with two children under age four and a successful career on NBC’s Law and Order series to jump into an 18-month meat grinder toward the presidency.
No doubt it would be a serious pay cut, but I think he can afford to live on the paltry $400,000 a year.
Before being elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee in 1994, he was a Republican lawyer on the Watergate committee, then went into acting. He is well thought of as a movement conservative, though his support of campaign-finance reform puts him at cross purposes with right-wing activist organizations that don’t like the restrictions on third-party advertising in federal campaigns.
Since he went after the Nixon White House, that should put him in a good light with those on the left. (sarcasm)
Evangelist James Dobson, who has taken it upon himself to pass judgment on a number of GOP wannabes, told U.S. News and World Report recently he didn’t think Thompson was a Christian. Thompson’s spokesman Mark Corallo disputed that, saying he was a member of the Church of Christ.
Sometimes, Dodson can seriously stick his foot in his mouth. I guess if you aren’t considered Evangelical, you’re not a Christian. Many Christians would be REAL surprised to learn this.
“My sense is he is seriously considering it. No other way to put it,” Corallo said. Here’s another sign that Thompson is on the move: His wife Jeri, a former GOP PR operative, has been dusting off her old political reporter contacts list.
I wonder if he already has the beginnings of a “war chest”.