Fred needs to get seriousIt has been reported that Fred Thompson is running a "strong second" in both Iowa and New Hampshire by the major press, as though this is evidence that Thompson is not only among the front-runners for the 2008 Republican nomination, but he is about to go over the top. The problem with all of this is that Fred's numbers are static-they aren't showing any immediate sign of improvement. That wouldn't be such a big deal if we had months on end before the first Primaries begin, but as it is the Iowa Caucus will take place just over three months from today.
So far, however, his speeches in Iowa have been underwhelming, and some are reported to say that in person he does not look healthy. He is running in second in Iowa and New Hampshire, but his 18% poll rating in Iowa (to Mitt Romney's 29%) suggests that he has a long way to go to approach the top. If this were an "ordinary" year, it wouldn't be unusual at all to finish second or third in Iowa only to come back and win the nomination, but the 2008 Primary schedule is so closely-packed that the winner in Iowa and New Hampshire is likely to be the Republican nominee.
Then there is the issue of Fred's focus on the campaign trail. He has recently shown himself unschooled in key issues that normally confront candidates these days, something that would not have been the case in 1994. On top of all this, evangelical leaders are showing signs of hesitancy toward the Thompson camp, and in conservative circles you will have terrible trouble getting elected without evangelical support.
Am I saying this because I am opposed to Fred Thompson? No-the contrary is true-I still believe that the Thompson campaign has the best chance of beating the Democrats in the fall. However, if Thompson is to win the nomination he really must get his act together. Because of the early Primary calendar, we don't have months to go at this point before voting begins-we can begin counting down the days in weeks. Every day that Fred Thompson remains in second place is a lost day.
The big test will be tomorrow's Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan. Thompson will need to score a knockout-the future of his candidacy may be riding on his performance.
Labels: Presidential Election