Why should Fred Thompson announce his candidacy for president?
Without it, he can bask in being whomever, whatever, anyone projects on him. Even though he's working hard at a campaign, he's doing great in the polls, "exploratorying" his ass off and getting free radio airtime at the same time!
(He signed on with ABC News Radio in 2006 to serve as senior political analyst and fill-in for Paul Harvey, where he's used the national platform to articulate his political positions. Earlier this month he was released from the analyst part of his contract).
And boy do the Republicans have expectations of Thompson, 65, the white-hatted stranger to ride in and save them from Tainted Rudy, and Mitt The Mormon. There's already been a McCain Mutiny, and such whodats as Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback and Tom "Two-headed" Tancredo are but figments of their own imaginations.
Mediocre in the Senate, and a longtime Washington insider, (and womanizer) these Republican fantasiies thrust on the erstwhile actor seem to be based on the tough character- the avuncular landscaper appropriately named Arthur Branch- he used to play on NBC's "Lawn Order."
The FredHeads are avid and a Draft Fred Movement is churning away on Freep Republic. Meanwhile, Republican pollster Frank Luntz calls him the "Six-million-pound gorilla," and Thompson has left more doors open than a cigar smoker in a convent; tested more water than a urologist.
He's playing it cool, bloviating often on-air in 87-year-old Paul Harvey's stead when the old radio bull goes surfing.
Pretty good deal, eh?
(OK, OK, we know Dave Ross (KIRO m-f, 9a-12p) stayed on the air until he filed for the 8th district congressional seat in 2004; and we would probably do the same thing- it's all legal).
It hasn't all been so rosy for the Mr. Everything-to-Everybody. It was discovered that he represented a pro-life group when he was a Washington lobbyist. First he denied it, then equivocated, then it burst undeniably into the press- the conservative press, we might add.
That didn't settle well with the Southern-based moral sticklers of the GOP who have so much staked on him being perfect for the job. When he finally breaks out running, there'll be more surprises, assuredly.
Tuesday he announced he was replacing his campaign manager, Tom Collamore, a former tobacco company CEO with former Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham.
(photo: Mrs. Thompson from Rush Limbaugh's perspective.)
We can't believe Thompson can catch fire in time for the 2008 presidential. He's like wet newspaper- slow to ignite and hard to keep going. His deliberative, mush-mouthed style on the air drives us crazy; he sounds too slow to inspire much confidence or excitement in a restless, change-hungry electorate.