Hail to the Chief?Well, no one wanted to believe me when I said that I thought there was something to all of this Fred Thompson for President talk. Things looked a little suspicious to me when The Hotline floated this as a non-story and then Thompson's name starts popping up in respected conservative publications as a viable and winnable alternative to Rudy McRomney. Then the talk gets really loud when we hear rumors that Howard Baker, Jr., East Tennessee's GOP establishment big boy, and the grand old man of Volunteer State Republicans, is making a few phone calls on Fred Thompson's behalf.
Now, no matter what you think of Howard Baker-whether you think he is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or you are a liberal Democrat who hates him, or you think as I do that his prime concern is victory all the time at whatever cost-Howard Baker has three things that are of help to any late-entering Presidential candidate. The first is that as a former Senate Republican Leader, he has a level of respect that other politicos would not have. The second is his access to channels of big time cash-he can raise lots of it. The third thing is that he has highly-placed friends and he can change minds and win endorsements. If Howard Baker is making calls for you, you will have the resources you need to begin a major campaign.
The rumors, carried on in no small part by the blogosphere, picked up steam when Howard Baker admits to the Knoxville News-Sentinel that he is, in fact, making the calls in question and that this is therefore no rumor at all.
Finally, Fred Thompson himself appears on Fox News Sunday yesterday where we learn that he is indeed thinking about a run for the White House. Thompson wanted to sound non-commital but he did a poor job of it. He even tried to say that his thinking about a candidacy has nothing to do with the poor field being offered to conservatives-I do not buy this for a second. I think Thompson knows that conservatives-especially Southern conservatives-are hungry for a candidate that they can embrace with a clear conscience, knowing that his conservatism cannot be questioned, but also believing that he has a very good chance at actually winning. Whether he decides to formally enter the race or not, Fred Thompson knows that a whole lot of people would back him immediately. He would make a great candidate because, being out of government for the last seven years, he cannot be tied to all of the blunders of the current administration.
I said earlier that I am not yet ready to make an endorsement for the Presidency, and I stand by that. However, my endorsement will likely be of little consequence other than the fact that I will lend what small assistance that I am able to the campaign of the candidate that I do endorse. What I can say is that if Fred Thompson enters the Presidential race, I know what I believe will happen regardless of who I endorse.
Labels: Presidential Election