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12/9/2007
THOMPSON GOES “ALL IN” FOR IOWA CAUCUSES

For Fred Thompson, the race for the Republican nomination has just gotten extremely simple.

Do well in Iowa or fold up shop and go home:

FORMER TENNESSEE SENATOR Fred Thompson has decided to take his campaign and virtually all of its resources to Iowa in an all-or-nothing attempt to register a strong showing in the caucuses here on January 3. “We’re getting ready to make this not only our second home, but our first home,” he told a small gathering of supporters at the Polk County Convention Center on Friday night. Thompson and his wife Jeri chatted with the crowd before making their way through the exhibits at the Iowa Farm Bureau’s annual meeting in downtown Des Moines.

Beginning Monday, December 17, Thompson will launch a bus tour that will take him throughout the state. From the beginning of that trip through caucus night, Thompson will essentially live in Iowa, taking only a one-day trip out of the state to celebrate Christmas at his home in Virginia.

“Iowa is critical to our campaign, and it may in fact be everything to our campaign,” says one Thompson official. “If we don’t do what we need to do in Iowa, it will be tough to compete effectively down the road.”

Outgunned and outmanned by Mitt Romney and on the downside of the boom for Mike Huckabee who has captured much of the support the former Tennessee senator was depending on to be competitive, Thompson finds himself in a do or die position in Iowa. He has disappeared from polls in New Hampshire, garnering less than 5% and trailing Ron Paul. Most importantly, he finds himself 3rd in the vital South Carolina primary, losing to Huckabee and Mitt Romney.

In short, Thompson must find a way to reverse his fortunes or he will be forced to make a quick exit from the race.

Thompson’s troubles have been well documented by the national press (I detailed those criticisms for Pajamas Media here). But beyond the familiar litany of charges that he’s too lazy, too detached, and doesn’t want to be president bad enough, there is simply the matter that Thompson never lit a fire under conservatives in Iowa or New Hampshire.

This left an opening for Huckabee who patiently cultivated the religious right and then tapped into the enthusiasm of the Fair Tax movement. The combination has proved itself potent - up to this point. Recent revelations about Huckabee and his intervention to get a rapist paroled (who then went on to rape and murder two women) as well as a groundswell of opposition being spearheaded by The Club For Growth who see his fiscal policies as governor in a decidedly unconservative light may create doubts in voter’s minds.

So Thompson’s “all in” move to Iowa may be coming at exactly the right time. As people begin to really scrutinize Huckabee’s record, Thompson will help them along by highlighting his opponent’s total lack of experience in foreign and defense policy:

“All I’m saying is that national security and foreign affairs is the most important thing facing this country,” said Thompson. “It affects our security and the security of our children. And who has nuclear capability is the most important part of the most important issue. I think it’s best if someone has experience in that regard. I’ve spent a lot of time–I served on the Intelligence Committee in the United States Senate, I’ve traveled around and met with foreign leaders. I chaired a committee that involved oversight of nuclear proliferation issues and things of that nature. So I think it’s surprising that someone that would aspire to be president takes the position like closing Guantanamo, for example, is a good thing. And does not keep up with what’s going on in Iran.”

In addition to throwing a bucket of cold water on the boom for Huckabee, Thompson’s emphasis on national security issues may finally excite those conservatives who see foreign policy and defense issues as the most important criteria to judge a potential candidate for president.

Previously, much of Thompson’s stump speech has been devoted to his thoughtful ideas on federalism - not exactly red meat for the right but positions that have earned him praise from most GOP quarters. A switch to emphasizing his foreign policy credentials while Huckabee stumbles over Iran and other issues dealing with the War on Terror could be just what his campaign needs to win back (or get off the fence) many conservatives who may be uncomfortable with Huckabee’s inexperience.

Thompson has previously said that he must finish third in Iowa to remain viable. That prospect certainly appears within reach even if he can’t overtake Huckabee. But realistically, Thompson must exceed expectations in Iowa by finishing second in order to generate the kind of momentum that would propel his candidacy forward. And a first place finish - a remote possibility but not unimaginable - would shock the field and give the campaign a huge boost, making the candidate a contender even in states that he’s not doing well like New Hampshire and Michigan.

There is something appealing about a candidate who recognizes what needs to be done and doesn’t hesitate to try and do it. In Thompson’s case, he is putting it all on the line in Iowa in a make or break effort to achieve a breakthrough.

Not a long shot by any means but rather a recognition of the reality of a campaign that is currently in flux. And where it will settle is anyone’s guess.

By: Rick Moran at 9:27 am
8 Responses to “THOMPSON GOES “ALL IN” FOR IOWA CAUCUSES”
  1. 1
    Stop The ACLU » Blog Archive » Fred Thompson Placing All The Chips on Success In Iowa Pinged With:
    12:54 pm 

    [...] I agree with Rick Moran: Thompson has previously said that he must finish third in Iowa to remain viable. That prospect certainly appears within reach even if he can’t overtake Huckabee. But realistically, Thompson must exceed expectations in Iowa by finishing second in order to generate the kind of momentum that would propel his candidacy forward. And a first place finish – a remote possibility but not unimaginable – would shock the field and give the campaign a huge boost, making the candidate a contender even in states that he’s not doing well like New Hampshire and Michigan. [...]

  2. 2
    OnePoliticalVoice Blogs » Blog Archive » Sunday Briefing: 12.09.07 Pinged With:
    2:17 pm 

    [...] Right Wing Nut House: In addition to throwing a bucket of cold water on the boom for Huckabee, Thompson’s emphasis on national security issues may finally excite those conservatives who see foreign policy and defense issues as the most important criteria to judge a potential candidate for president. [...]

  3. 3
    Pastor Dan Said:
    3:13 pm 

    If the Wayne DuMond case was the Huckster’s only problem, he might be able to weasel past it, but check out his whole record with paroles, pardons, and commutations. He makes Slick Willie look tough on crime.

  4. 4
    Melanie Said:
    5:19 pm 

    Being from Tennessee myself, I can’t begin to tell you how comforting it is to hear folks aren’t buying what Thompson is selling.

    I can see why Republicans thought his campaign would be on fire. A hack actor and a faux redneck rolled into one? The best the Gipper and Dubya in one guy? Yeehaw!

    I can tell you that Republicans here in my home state are quite stymied as to why that formula isn’t working.

  5. 5
    Rodney A Stanton Said:
    7:32 pm 

    I hope Fred is a very strong third. I share yor opnion of the Huckster. If he is “the man” the GOP will get crushed; and we will deserved to be crushed.
    IMHO Fred is the only man to seriously address the major isssues of the 21st century with well articulated ideas. Some of his plans will ge painfull. But if we do not attack these problems(ie. Soc Sec) the end result will be much worse than a little pain. Which is why (IMHO)Hill, Rudy, Mitt, Obama, et. al. are ducking them.

  6. 6
    Chris Said:
    12:03 am 

    Everything you list as aspersions against Fred are just that, aspersions. They are also patently false and were created/repeated by the left leaning MSM and political pundits before Fred even entered the race…they are that scared of a real conservative occupting the White House. Given your take on the situation, you were obviously taken in by it also. How could this be?…because people don’t do their own homework, they’re too busy parroting nonsense when all the information they could ever want is at their fingertips.

    A very similar thing can be said about the Huckster, only his reinvention of himself and what he says today on every subject except one, yes one, is a near complete or complete opposite of his position or actions a very short time ago.

    If you haven’t chosen who you’re supporting yet please, do your research first as the work has been done for you from reliable and credible sources. If you have already chosen a candidate based on only what they are saying today, you are being duped by several of the candidates….Fred isn’t one of them.

  7. 7
    Rick Moran Said:
    7:58 am 

    Chris:

    Everything you list as aspersions against Fred are just that, aspersions.

    That’s why I listed them, dolt.

    If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s an idiot who either can’t read or won’t read what I post. Which is it for you, ignoramus?

    If you read what I wrote, you would realize that it is a slavishly pro-Thompson piece. To ignore the “aspersions” is to ignore reality - something you seem very capable of doing.

    You sound like a young man. I would suggest you grow up before you start commenting on politics. Otherwise, you end up making a fool of yourself like you did with your comment above.

  8. 8
    kreiz Said:
    8:28 am 

    Thompson’s the GOP package except for one thing- his energy level is at 1 (out of 11 using the Spinal Tap scale). When Sominex is your corporate sponsor, you need to rethink your campaign.

    Love the last paragrpah of #7. Nothing worse than getting a whoopin’ behind the Moran woodshed. Ouch.

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