Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Inside the Thompson campaign

Today's Washington Post has a long article about the Thompson campaign. If Fred does not gain the nomination this will be credited as being the first post-mortem. If Fred does win the nomination this article will be credited with identifying the turning point in his primary campaign.

I think the heart of the matter is found here:

As Rietz planned it, Thompson's campaign would be run by people wise in the ways of Washington but able to think beyond the Beltway. It was a campaign that would be radically different, unencumbered by the typical pressures of a big-budget organization. With technology, the team members believed, there would be less need for Thompson to attend every rubber-chicken campaign dinner.

On May 15, they showed what they meant. On the Drudge Report, Corallo and McFadden saw a story about filmmaker Michael Moore's trip to Cuba and his challenge to Thompson to debate him. Within an hour, the pair filmed a cigar-chomping Thompson in a biting, 38-second response: "A mental institution, Michael. Might be something you ought to think about."

They posted the video to a news Web site called Breitbart TV, and it became an instant hit. It was the epitome of the rapid-response, new-media ideas that Rietz and the others thought could shake up the 2008 White House race.

"Those were heady days for the campaign," said one staffer who later quit. " 'This is all working. We got a trillion hits on the Michael Moore video. We don't need to do the traditional things that a campaign does.' "

It was also the last time that the Thompson campaign did anything remotely like it.

Failure to follow up on success has doomed many a political campaign and lost many a war.

Thompson still does have time to turn things around, and there are indications that he is doing so, but the clock is ticking.

Thompson remains the best man in the race. Let us hope that he is successful because the likely alternative may very well mean the end of the United States.