December 14, 2007


Fred Ain't Dead (Quin Hillyer, 12/14/2007, American Prospect)

Memo to readers: With his superb performance in Wednesday's debate in Iowa, Fred Thompson has made a monkey out of me. By early afternoon on Tuesday, the column that appears below, one which posits that Thompson's presidential campaign might still find a way to win, was ready in exactly the form it appears here. But I thought the column would still remain exactly on target throughout the week, so (for various reasons) I aimed for a Friday release. At the time, I thought that until Thompson began his Iowa bus tour on Monday the 17th, my contention that he "ain't dead" yet would seem noteworthy for its boldness.

Then Thompson ruined it all by so clearly running away with the laurels in Wednesday's debate -- and in particularly Reaganesque fashion. Just as Reagan did at the famous Nashua, N.H. debate in 1980, Thompson used the unfairness of the debate moderator as a foil in a way that justly earned the candidate plaudits as a no-nonsense kind of guy. Now everybody is taking a second look at Thompson's chances. Deservedly so.

But of course a debate performance like that should not have been a surprise. As my column reports, pollster Frank Luntz said even before Wednesday's debates that Thompson was hitting his stride and connecting with audiences at earlier debates.

Because it was his turn, Reagan's loss to GHW Bush in IA was a hammer blow. Had he lost NH as well it would have been over. Fred Thompson, on the other hand, will be a "winner" if he pulls out a top 3 finish in IA after getting in the race so late in a state that rewards organization.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 14, 2007 9:23 PM

When one considers the moronic debates and Rudy's and Mitt's warchests, Thompson's best shot was to lay in wait to start performing.

I wonder whether anyone saw Huckabee's surge coming. I didn't, though I'll bet his embrace of the Fair Tax is part of it.

Huck could pull this off.

What a weird year.

Posted by: Bruno at December 15, 2007 1:24 AM

It's a religious Right party. Candidates of the religious Right do especially well in places like IA.

Posted by: oj at December 15, 2007 8:21 AM

National Review and the rest of the libertarian "right" are having a fit about Huckabee. They really don't care for evangelicals, do they? As if we didn't know that already.

Not sold on Huckabee myself but the over the top attacks by our side makes me think twice.

Posted by: Bob at December 15, 2007 9:51 AM

Recall that the Zeus worshippers opposed W in '00 too, for the same reason.

Posted by: oj at December 15, 2007 12:19 PM