All over the news today is the "unofficial" confirmation--Former Senator Fred Thompson will jump into the Presidential race on the Republican side. July 4th is the possible date for becoming "official"--but that's just a tactic to assure continuing media attention.
To conservatives who have been asking, "Is there anybody else?", Thompson has had the advantage of being viewed from a distance. Don't most of us look better at a distance than up-close? One media outlet, Congressional Quarterly, has already posted a summary of Thompson's U.S. Senate voting record. Another has posted his history as a lobbyist. Now that he's evidently made a decision, there'll be a rush to examine his record and history.
Meantime, another conservative icon, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, will be watching Thompson's campaign rollout, looking for useful lessons in case Gingrich joins the fray, possibly in September.
Pundits love this, because it provides a multitude of new angles for making news by voicing their speculations (which many prefer to actual hard news), such as:
- Will this help Giulani by further splitting the conservative vote? Or hurt him by countering one celebrity with another?
- Surely it can't help McCain by putting one of his good buddies up against him!
- Romney has banked on conservatives who cannot stand Giulani or McCain flocking to him, but now those voters have another option. On the other hand, Romney looks more like a Hollywood star than the real-thing Thompson!
- Will social conservatives truly rally around him? After all, Dr. James Dobson already questioned Thompson's faith!
And get this--A former girlfriend of the former Senator, country singer Lorrie Morgan, has already announced her support for Thompson. (No, I'm not making this up!)
Be prepared for lots of spin talk about Thompson's being in the mold of Ronald Reagan or Arnold Schwarzenegger, thanks to his TV and movie work. But which is it? Reagan or the Governator? Those two have very different politics!
The only sure thing is that the Thompson move creates a new job opening: Who wants to play the D.A. now on NBC's "Law and Order"? Maybe one of the many who have recently departed the U.S. Justice Department?