Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Roundup of the Fred rumors and speculation

From Neocon News:

So with it circulating that Fred won’t be at the next debate, people bailing, and rumors of a McCain endorsement, it seems that Fred’s lackluster third place wasn’t enough to keep the fight going. I hope that I’m wrong, but it looks like curtains for Thompson. This is a shame, because I think out of the bunch, Fred was the only one really espousing core conservative beliefs in a way that sounded even a bit heartfelt. Fred sounded folksy, but he also sounded like he knew what he was talking about.

Unfortunately, Fred also was lazy. He thought that he could dangle a bit of Reagan nostalgia and get the conservative base drooling. He seems to have managed this much with the Internet blogger crowd, but that’s because we were desperate for the real deal. We were willing to do the legwork, willing to search him out. The average voter is not. Those deep pockets in the Republican party are not. Fred simply wasn’t effective in getting his message out. His campaign was sloppy, his organization was late in the game, and he just didn’t have the fire in the belly constantly and hot enough to stand out. It sucks, but it seems to be the truth.

So if you’re a fredhead, pray for a miracle, because that’s what it is going to take for Fred to not throw in the towel. It would take even more (perhaps a few cases of energy drinks) for him to jazz it up on the campaign trail so that he could rise to the top.

From The Jawa Report:

There's a lot of talk about Fred dropping out. There's a lot of talk about Fred not dropping out. I'm not sure what to think right now. I have thought about who I might be willing to support if Fred were to drop out. I haven't made up my mind, but McCain and Huck are out as far as I'm concerned. If we're going to have a Democrat in the White House, I'd rather he or she operate under the Democrat brand name.

If this poll is reflective of general sentiment, 3 of 4 FredHeads would support Romney if Fred were to drop out of the race.

If these polls are accurate, Romney is 5 points behind McCain in Florida and Fred has 8.5 points in his corner. Three-fourths of 8.5 is about 6.4.

So, if Fred were to drop out before Florida, and 3 of 4 Florida FredHeads were to actually break for Romney, Fred could very well hand Romney a win in Florida by dropping out of the race before the Florida vote.

On the other hand, if Fred stays in the race, and there's no serious shift in the polls in the next nine days, Fred might secure a McCain win in Florida by staying in.


Fred denies that he is in the race to be a stalking horse for McCain and I'm willing to take him at his word - for now. But if he is in the race in to dilute the anti-McCain vote in order to get the VP slot or some such then as far as I'm concerned Fred is as wretched and beneath contempt as McCain's other southern fried cornpone lickspittle butt-boy, Lindsey Graham.

From Right Wing News:

Last week-end was pretty grim for conservatives. Duncan Hunter, who admittedly was already out of it, officially dropped out of the race and Fred Thompson finished in third place in South Carolina, which, barring a miracle, knocks him out of the running.

I know that's tough for some people to hear, but you gotta understand...

* Fred skipped New Hampshire, Nevada, and Michigan, all of which he bombed in, in order to compete in South Carolina.

* South Carolina is a state that's extremely friendly to conservatives.

* South Carolina is a state that's extremely friendly to Southerners.

* Fred had the money to run ads and spent more time in South Carolina after Iowa than any of the other candidates.

After all of that, Fred only pulled 16% of the vote, which was barely good enough for third place and less than half the percentage of the vote that McCain pulled in -- and this was Fred's last opportunity to win a state before Super Tuesday.

Moreover, even in the pre-South Carolina polls, Fred was in 5th place in Florida and 5th place nationally and it seems highly unlikely that he can improve his prospects significantly after coming up way short in a state that was practically tailor-made for a Fred win.

PS: Given that Fred's support is probably down to hard core conservatives at this point, Fred may stay in to help out his buddy John McCain.

Normally, a candidate would help out another candidate in this situation by dropping out and endorsing him. But, given that Fred's supporters are mostly hard core conservatives and very unlikely to vote for McCain whether Fred endorses him or not, Fred can help his friend John McCain more by just staying in the race through Super Tuesday and peeling off some conservatives who would probably be inclined to vote for anyone but McCain.

Again we have the specter of Fred acting as stalking horse for McCain. I pray this isn't true because to give aid and comfort to John McCain is an act of black-hearted betrayal to the conservative movement. The movement which has given Thompson almost the only support he has received in this race. If he does this he is as much a back stabber and betrayer as McCain and I guess they deserve each other.

Lisa Shiffren on The Corner:

Listen, all of you e-mailers, I like Fred. I think he is a real conservative. Clearly the one who covers the most bases in the race this year. But is not getting any votes. Why is that? Maybe it is because we want more from him, and projected more on to him than he has to give. Maybe his style is just not compatible with the moment. Maybe energy in the executive is not a small issue. Maybe the majority of GOP primary voters don't like him, or like someone else better. Who knows?

There are lots of possibilities, and it is hard to say which is the case, but the thing about an election, or a primary, is that in the end you get hard numbers, and you make your decision based on what they say. Romney, McCain and Huckabee — deeply flawed as each of them are — have numbers that justify going on. Paul is a sideshow. The results are not in yet to measure Rudy's strategy, but, while he was clever about numbers and where to contest he seems to have forgotten "the psychology of the individual," and that old saying "out of sight, out of mind." He will know everything he has to know on January 29 and February 5th. At this moment I would not bet the farm on his emergence as a serious contender.

Arguably Fred knows everything he has to know. I think he should drop out because I don't really see what he has to gain by staying in. It will only keep muddying the contest between the three leaders. Any smart Republican president will give him a serious job in the next administration. And yes, that leaves us with a really, really, problematic field. But the other side is not comprised of statesmen or giants either. So on we go.

From The Tennessean:

While Fred Thompson took a break from his struggling campaign to visit his ailing mother in Tennessee, the political blogosphere was busy dissecting what went wrong with his formerly high-flying presidential ambitions.

Politico.com has all but started the deathwatch on the former Tennessee senator's presidential campaign, with periodic check-ins with his campaign director. ("No plans or decisions have been made," Todd Harris told them at the last check-in.)

On Thompson's Web site, the little red pickup truck icon, which had been tracking the latest contributions to the campaign, has vanished, along with the campaign's pleas for donors to help "fill the tank."

The site's links to Thompson's South Carolina campaign schedule have not switched to Florida, the next big Republican contest before Super Tuesday on Feb. 5.

Harris said the campaign has no public schedule for Florida to share.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee bloggers who know him best are speculating whether Thompson will, or should, drop out of the race.

BobKrumm.com has Thompson's political obituary all but written, starting with a comprehensive list of mistakes and missed opportunities by the campaign. The list includes starting not too late, but too slowly; skipping New Hampshire; failing to go negative on his competitors, particularly John McCain, who was running on fumes when Thompson was polling in second place; and relying too much on the Internet.

Go Check out that Bob Krumm piece it is excellent.

Jay at Stop the ACLU:

I have still not ceased being amazed at how many conservatives have been fooled by Huckabee. Even more amazing to me is that in a state where illegal immigration was quoted as being the most important issue voted for the king of amnesty. Perhaps there was a reason that Fred Thompson's campaign headquarters felt like a funeral last night. Duncan Hunter dropped out too. It makes one wonder if conservatism was buried last night.

[. . .]

I really can't see a strategy at this point that could bring a win for Fred if he stayed in. If anyone else is holding out hope and sees one, please share it. If he stays in, it will be interesting to hear the new strategy. So where to go from here? I have to agree with Bob Krumm,
anyone but Huckabee! I'm pretty sure I want be joining my friend at the Scratching Post's choices. I could probably hold my nose and vote for Mitt, especially if he were to pander to me and pick Fred for VP…if Fred is up for that. I'm sure anti-gun Rudy is hoping we all come flock to him. I'm really left in a state of not knowing where to turn.

Protein Wisdom sounds off:

I will not, will not, vote for John McCain.

I will not, will not, vote for Mike Huckabee.

I will not, will not, vote for Ron Paul — unless he runs for Fuhrer. In which case, he’s got my full support.

I might hold my nose and vote for Mitt Romney, but to be perfectly honest, I have no confidence in him, and my vote would be moot, anyway: there’s no way he wins a national election. Because let’s face it: the average US voter is simply not ready to give the White House to a guy named after a first baseman’s glove.

Which means that if Fred Thompson drops out of the race (aside: I have no idea what Republican primary voters are thinking — other than that they are no longer interested in conservatism, and have become every bit as statist as their progressive counterparts), I’m resigning myself to a Democratic presidency in 2008 — and to the years of pain that will follow should the Dems maintain control of both the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Who knows? Maybe they even get the courts, too.

In other words, Hello “progressivism”! Which, as Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn can tell you, is simply another word for tyranny of bureaucracy under the auspices of an anti-individualistic, centralized coalition government — and is about as “American” (in the strictest, foundational sense) as caviar or goulash or the Yugo. Decline and fall.

So, what to do? Well, my first thought is to buy some remote land in Idaho and try to hole up for the next decade or so, learning to sustain myself with nothing but a Bowie knife and some animal pelts. And maybe Dish Network and a HD DVR receiver.

But why bother? Some well-meaning Green group empowered by the progressivists will no doubt find a reason to “re-claim” the land for the common weal, anyway, and pretty soon, anything good on TV will come under the auspices of some intrusive unelected commission or other.


So. There you have it, comrades. It’s Mourning in America.


Sharon Cobb posts this:

A source close to Thompson tells me Fred will announce his withdrawal from the Presidential race this morning.

Ace of Spades is also commenting on the Fred situation.

Rush Limbaugh was depressed about the state of the Republican Party and implied that if McCain or Huckabee were the nominee that he would not endorse them and sit out the election. (Transcript here)

I have this to say in closing. If Fred Thompson is going to withdraw from the race he should announce this as soon as possible so that he stops being a distraction to the party. Without a genuine conservative in the race we are going to have some hard decisions to make and we need to focus all of our attention on making them.