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CATEGORY: Decision '08, FRED!

If you’ve been following politics as long as I have or have been involved in a few campaigns, you usually have a sense of where the race stands on the day of the voting. Perhaps not exact numbers or even the winners or losers so much as who’s on the way up, who’s tanking, and who’s on life support.

On the Democratic side, while there seems to be a surge for Obama, that may be an illusion. According to the polls, a majority of Obama’s support comes from independents. In order for the candidate to translate the enthusiasm for his campaign into a victory, those independents will have to show up to the caucuses in much greater numbers than they have historically.

That’s why I think John Edwards will be the winner tonight. He also is enjoying a surge in support plus he has a genuine ground game in the state thanks to his union endorsements. It will be close but I think Edwards pulls out a narrow victory over Obama with Hillary not far behind in third. If independents do not show up for Obama, Hillary has a shot at second. But the Illinois senator has energized voters with his message of change and hope so look for enough unaffiliated Iowans to boost the candidate into a strong second place finish.

For the Republicans, I honestly don’t know. Enthusiasm for John McCain has become evident over the last 48 hours so anything is possible. I believe Huckabee is dropping while Romney is holding on. Fred also is enjoying a mini-surge according to Zogby. But when people around the campaign start setting a date for dropping out, the writing is on the wall.

Thompson himself denies the rumors:

GOP presidential hopeful Fred Thompson said in an in-studio interview with KCCI-TV in Des Moines that there is no truth to rumors that his campaign will fold before New Hampshire if he doesn’t have a strong showing in Iowa.

“That is absolutely made up out of whole cloth,” said the former U.S. Senator from Tennessee.

Thompson said a rival campaign was likely the source of that rumor.

“Can you imagine such a thing in politics?” he asked.

Thompson said his campaign is seeing a “surge” in interest right now, and said he has visited 50 communities in the Hawkeye State in the last couple weeks.

“I’m not going to play into any scenario that’s not totally optimistic,” he said.

Politico may be a little teed off at Thompson because bloggers exposed Roger Simon as a liar when the reporter mischaracterized a Thompson campaign event last month. But Jonathon Martin’s reporting appears to me to be sound, based on observations from both staff and politicians who are close to the campaign. And it’s not a secret that the campaign is out of money and that a poor showing – less than 15% – would place Thompson in an untenable situation where Fred would be forced to compete in New Hampshire with no money, little in the way of paid staff, and not much hope.

At any rate, I am not confident at all about the order of finish on the Republican side. But when in doubt, go with the man with the cash – in this case, Romney. The former Massachusetts governor has a huge organization in Iowa and a sophisticated get out the vote operation. Huckabee will depend on his network of churches and the Fair Tax crowd to get his people to the caucuses. In a war of amateurs versus pros, give the nod to people who get paid to deliver. Let’s go with Romney as the winner tonight.

Will Huckabee finish second? There has been an enormous amount of media generated buzz for McCain over the last 48 hours. But that’s all it is – buzz. It’s hard to see at this late date how you turn that enthusiasm into an organization that will get McCain’s people to the caucus sites. However, if Huckabee truly is melting down – not an impossibility – then there will probably be a shocker awaiting us when the results are announced. A second place finish for either McCain or Thompson would not be as far fetched as it might have seemed just 48 hours ago.

Then again, the trend for Huckabee in the polls has not been all that disastrous. So let’s give Huckabee second place with McCain not far behind in third and Thompson not far behind McCain in fourth. It’s possible that any of those three could finish second. If it’s anyone but Huckabee, we are going to have a barn burner of a race on the Republican side.

Or, everyone – the polls, the pros, the pundits – have all been wrong and its Ron Paul in a landslide. (I threw that in just in case the apocalypse is upon us.)

Allah has some thoughts on what might have been for the Thompson campaign that ring true. And his speculation about Thompson’s Veep prospects also appear to be about right. Glenn Reynolds has been saying for months that Thompson’s goal was the second spot all along.

However, if Fred doesn’t like campaigning, it’s hard to see him wishing for the Veep slot. While the nominee gets to go to all the glamorous venues, the Vice Presidential candidate gets stuck speaking before the Kiwanis and Elks. And is there any more thankless job than Vice President of the United States?

I think if Fred drops out, he goes back to Tennessee to bounce his kid on his knee and make a TV or movie appearance here and there. A sad ending to what began as a promising moment for conservatism.


Byron York talked to Thompson aide Rich Galen who vehemently denied the basis of the Politico story:

Galen told me, “I’m a Republican official in the Thompson campaign, and I’m denying it.” Galen also said that no one inside the campaign was a source for the story. “I can’t put enough adjectives in front of the ‘deny’ to accurately describe how vehemently I’m denying the story,” he said.

Galen said that “just to make sure,” he checked with Thompson himself, who told him the story was not true. “We have the schedule for Saturday and Sunday in New Hampshire, and then we’re going down to South Carolina,” Galen told me.

I have no doubt what Galen says is true. But reality might reach up and bite the campaign tonight. The Zogby tracking poll has Fred at 11% – still third place but a dismal number just the same.

Thompson may be hoping McCain and Romney savage each other which would give him a shot – if he does well in the debates this weekend – to gather some momentum for South Carolina.

But if money is the mother’s milk of American politics, Fred, at this point, is an orphan.

By: Rick Moran at 8:11 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (16)


Writing about Fred Thompson has always presented a challenge to me as a blogger. The analyst in me is in conflict with the cheerleader – a common conundrum for most bloggers who have a favorite in the race. I must confess there are times when the cheerleader part of me takes control and I become overly enthusiastic about a candidate who many see as no one to get very excited about. And there are other times where I highlight the cold, analytical facts and figures of the race – much to the disadvantage of the candidate – which drives many of my fellow Fredheads up a wall.

Indeed, from a purely analytical point of view, looking at all the polls (not just the select few that seem to give a rosier picture of Thompson’s chances), Fred Thompson will probably not be the Republican nominee for President of the United States. There are few serious professionals I have heard or read that give the candidate much of a chance. Too many lightening strikes would be necessary for that to happen, too many improbable scenarios in too many of the early primaries would have to come true for Fred to survive.

The candidate has little money on hand and with the February 5 Super Tuesday gaggle of 21 primaries a little more than a month away where 50% of the delegates to the national convention will be chosen, it seems an impossible task to raise money in amounts that would allow the candidate to be competitive with Mitt Romney’s bottomless pit of funds or Giuliani’s reservoir of cash.

As I have said before, all of this is beside the point. As long as there is a chance for success and as long as the candidate himself believes he can win, his supporters should back his play to the best of their ability. And in the here and now, Iowa is the battleground where the candidate has chosen to make a stand and where he absolutely must do better than the pundits and pros are expecting.

I was gratified to see yesterday on CNN’s Late Edition that Fred was touting the fact that he thinks he can finish second in Iowa:

BLITZER: OK. Let’s talk a little bit about the chances that you have in Iowa right now. Some of the more recent polls have you coming in at third or fourth. What do you have to do? How do you have to emerge in Iowa in order to justify moving on to New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan and beyond?

THOMPSON: Well, the overwhelming number of polls out this way have me running third right now, and the last couple of credible polls that have come out have showed me in the teens or the high teens and not that far back from the pack.

You know, I think I have a decent chance of coming in second out here, and it’s moving in the right direction.

We’re in the middle of a 50-county, 50-town and city tour out here. And we’re going out, taking the grassroots, the numbers are reflecting that. People who get a chance to hear us, and we’ve had a little chance to spend time with them, it’s resulting in on-the-ground activity, and it’s resulting in contributions coming in and things of that nature.

When the conventional political wisdom dictates the candidate play down his chances thus lowering expectations, Fred once again goes against the grain and ups the ante considerably by giving himself a shot at second place – presumably at the expense of Mike Huckabee who is being turned into hamburger by Mitt Romney’s multi-million dollar last minute negative ad blitz. It is not a likely scenario but is one of those lightening strikes I mentioned above that would have to occur for Thompson to become viable in the eyes of conservatives elsewhere.

In fact, Thompson has eschewed “conventional wisdom” for the entire campaign. From his unorthodox “front porch” campaign in the spring and early summer, to his effective early use of the internet, to his unconventional (and controversial) mode and method of campaigning, Thompson has followed the dictates of his inner voice about how to go about running for president. It has placed him at odds with the media, the punditocracy, and most of the political class – all of whom worship at the altar of conventional wisdom. These gatekeepers love CW because it makes their jobs easier.

Rather than doing any real reporting or analysis, it is much easier (and much more profitable as a writer) if you can take the CW about any candidate and with a clever turn of the phrase that either sticks in the knife or places a halo around their head, simply repeat what every other reporter, columnist, and analyst is saying. It has made political reporting in this country as monochromatic and boring as can possibly be – mostly because the lack of originality is so glaringly obvious. Only on blogs (and a precious few online magazines) does one find the kind of fresh and penetrating analysis that used to be the hallmark of political reporting in this country.

So when a candidate that rejects conventional wisdom about how to run a presidential campaign comes along, there is resistance from the gatekeepers. According to CW, a candidate must run around like a whirling dervish from campaign stop to campaign stop, torturing themselves in order to make themselves worthy in the eyes of of the high priests of politics inside the beltway.

Most forget that this kind of all out, pedal to the metal campaigning is a relatively new phenomena – at least during the primaries. It was Jimmy Carter who began campaigning in Iowa two years before the caucuses in order to grab headlines and gain momentum going into New Hampshire. Since then, CW has dictated that the candidates who flails away the most and knocks themselves out campaigning are deemed worthy of consideration. All others need not apply.

For whatever reason, Thompson has rejected that model and followed his own instincts. And the candidate has also rejected the normal appeals by a politician to people’s fears and emotions and instead tried to engage the voters on an intellectual level. This has led to charges that he is “uninspiring” or boring. To answer that, Thompson has recorded a 17 minute appeal to Iowa voters, laying out his case to support him.

Conventional wisdom says that this recording is a waste of time, that no voter will sit through 17 minutes of a politician talking about himself and his qualifications to be the next President of the United States. I’m not so sure. The video is compelling and revealing. It shows a man offering himself for public service not a politician bragging about and exaggerating his meager accomplishments. There is little in the way of embellishments or histrionics. It is just Fred Thompson being Fred Thompson – refreshing in a way that is not easily dismissed.

It is, as the candidate infers, the anti-sound bite. It is not the background noise of a campaign that floods the airwaves with 15 and 30 second spots with the deep intonations of a narrator talking about some superficial attribute of the featured candidate. This message has meat on the bone and gives a voter who watches it the opportunity to fully take the measure of the man speaking. No artifice. No subterfuge. Simple, straightforward, from the shoulder facts about Thompson, his reasons for running, and his belief that he can win.

But what Thompson’s message to Iowans shows above all is a very serious man talking about very serious issues and the fact that the years ahead will demand a thoughtfulness and a seriousness of purpose from our President if we are to successfully navigate the treacherous shoals of history and bring the ship of state safely through to the other side.

No other candidate that I’ve seen possesses this kind of serious approach to the enormous problems facing this country in the years ahead. That’s why I support Fred Thompson despite his long shot chances and despite all the criticisms levelled against him by the conventional wisdom crowd.

By: Rick Moran at 9:28 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)


Fred Thompson says he is “not consumed by personal ambition.” He says that he won’t slit his wrists if he loses the presidency. He says “I’m not particularly interested in running for president, but I think I’d make a good president. Nowadays, the process has become much more important than I think it used to be.”

The press is having a field day, of course. They love it when a candidate seems to confirm all the supposedly nasty things they’ve been saying about him. Go here for a full transcript of what Thompson said in response to an earnest question from a voter who asked “if I caucus for you next week, are you still going to be there two months from now?”

It’s too late for Thompson to change the minds of the press regarding the importance of having an overweening ambition to be president. Collectively, it appears they have decided that this is an extremely relevant and serious criteria by which to judge a candidate’s worthiness for high office. Somehow, a candidate’s thoughtfulness, integrity, instincts, temperament, and views on the issues have become secondary to an artificial measurement of the heat given off from how much fire is in his belly.

Our gatekeepers are, if nothing else, consistent in their criticism of Thompson’s commitment to running for president. Ever since the first weeks of the campaign when the press woke up to the fact that Thompson was going to run the campaign his way and not the way that everyone (including the press) expected him to run it, the conventional wisdom developed that it didn’t matter what Thompson was saying or what he believed. What mattered is that he failed to meet the arbitrary standards set by the media denoting what might be termed “the cup of desire” test. Thompson refused to drink deep draughts and has been skewered for it.

I can’t think of any other candidate in the last 35 years who has been judged by such extraordinarily shallow criteria. There were whispers prior to Reagan running for President in 1980 that the candidate was too laid back. Indeed, Reagan’s loss in Iowa in 1980 was attributed to a “lazy” campaign. But no one accused The Gipper of lacking desire for the office or even that his laid back style disqualified him from consideration.

This is an entirely new phenomena in politics and is directly related to the fact that running for President has become pretty much of a 4 year undertaking. A large part of the reason for that is the ungodly sums of money that must be raised to build what amounts to a $100 million nationwide business whose only product is electing the candidate president. Those few candidates who can accomplish this have a huge leg up in the race.

Declaring early means wrapping up the party “whales” and “bundlers” who invest in a candidate as they would a promising stock or top performing mutual fund. When you consider the fact that the top 4 fundraisers in the race had all been mentioned as possible presidential candidates as far back as 2004, you begin to see where a candidate like Thompson, already at a huge disadvantage, would seek to break the mold and run a different kind of campaign, freed from the necessity of living up to anyone’s expectations about how a successful run for office should unfold.

Unfortunately, mold breakers are inevitably punished for their apostasy. In Thompson’s case, the candidate himself hasn’t helped much. Voters may not have been asking the questions raised by the media about Thompson’s demeanor and desire, but judging by the poll numbers, those questions may have been uppermost in their minds. The fact is, Thompson has failed to adequately address the issue – until he hit a home run with his response yesterday. Predictably, the press spun the story the way they wanted – an easy task given the complexity and subtly of Thompson’s argument. But an examination of his explanation reveals a refreshing honesty about the candidate’s inner thinking and what exactly is motivating him to run.

Surprisingly, the reasons are no different than any other candidate. A desire to serve, a belief that he can accomplish “special things,” the confidence that he is running for “the right reasons.” So if it is not his motivation for running that is in question, what exactly is it that has the press so doggedly determined to portray him as “lazy” or “lacking fire in the belly?”

In an age when candidates run campaigns that are dependent on emotionally connecting with the voter (usually by trying to frighten them to death about their opponent), Thompson seeks to engage people on an intellectual level. Rather than using rhetoric to inflame passions, the candidate tries to make the voter think. There is little pizazz and less of the campaign superficialities in Thompson’s effort than one finds in any other campaign. In short, as entertainment, the Thompson campaign receives failing grades. The candidate does not make good copy nor do his appearances necessarily make good TV. Rather than giving off sparks, the campaign emits a stolid, steady feeling of seriousness.

The press uses code words like “lazy” simply because they can’t bring themselves to describe the campaign and the candidate as “boring” – a description that would reveal them to be as stupid, shallow, and cynical as we all know that they are. In our media saturated world where people (and the press) demand to be constantly entertained, Fred Thompson fails miserably.

That is his greatest sin. He has broken the mold of what the press expects of a candidate and a campaign and is being punished for it. Not a very elevating reason to eliminate a candidate from serious consideration for the presidency but given the reality of presidential politics and the times we live in, it is perhaps not surprising.

By: Rick Moran at 9:10 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (19) Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Low Flame In Fred Thompson's Belly?...

UPDATE: 5:10 Central Time

Success! As of now, our Blogburst for Fred has helped the campaign raise almost $254,000 which is more than enough to keep Fred on the air throught the Caucuses. A strong showing there will almost certainly rekindle interest in the campaign from some GOP whales who may have questioned whether Fred could go the distance. That should ease some of the financial crunch and allow the campaign to go forward in a competitive posture.

You did it guys. Without you, this effort would have been stillborn. If you’re going out tonight, tip one back for yourself – and for Fred. You both deserve it.

I sent the following email to some of the conservative bloggers who are participating in the Blogburst for Fred Thompson:

As of 6:00 AM central, the amount raised toward funding the campaign’s ad buy in Iowa stands at $145,000. This is about $104,000 short of the announced goal of $248,800 which must be raised by 6:00 PM tonight.

Sean Hackbarth of Fred “08 has nearly 100 blogs listed as participants in the blogburst. I know there are probably a couple of dozen more out there just from my own surfing. This is a remarkable testament of support for Thompson among conservative blogs. And the fact that we’ve raised as much money as we have is also indicative of what we can accomplish when we work together.

But now I have another favor to ask. Could you please post an update to the Blogburst today at the top of your blog asking people to give to the campaign with a link to the contributions page at the campaign website? We need another boost from blogs today to put the campaign over the top and give Fred a shot at being competitive in Iowa.

The latest Strategic Vision poll puts Fred a reasonably strong third at 15%, trailing Hucakbee (29%) and Romney (27%) and virtually tied with McCain (14%). Fred must do better and he can – with your help.

Thanks to all of you for your cooperation.


Rick Moran

If you gave during yesterday’s Blogburst for Fred, there’s no law that says you can’t give again today – unless you’re maxed out at $2300 for the year in which case you can make the donation in the name of your spouse (ask her first, please).

If you didn’t give yesterday, please do so today. Or do you want President Huckabee apologizing whenever some al-Qaeda nutcase offs a world leader? Or President Hillary announcing how much she “feels the pain” of the rest of the world when tragedy strikes?

Or maybe you want an adult in charge:

FRED THOMPSON: It is a tragedy, of course. It reminds us that things can happen in faraway places of the world that can affect the United States. I think this should be of great concern to us. It is almost a perfect storm in a very bad sense because two forces are operating against each other that are both desirable. One is democracy: they were making progress in that regard in that country. Former prime minister Bhutto was an important part of that process. But the other is stability. Pakistan is a nuclear country, and we cannot afford to let nukes fall into the hands of dangerous Muslim radicals. We are hoping those two things can be balanced out. We can see the continued progress toward a democratic society but also maintain stability in the country, which seems to be very much in doubt right now.

FAULKNER: I know you are running for the White House, so I don’t want to put you in a position to second guess the president. But I’m interested in your opinion. President Bush is due to talk with Pervez Musharraf shortly. What do you anticipate that conversation should be like?

THOMPSON: Those two things that I mention probably would be high on the agenda. What could be done to not impose martial law, to not crack down, but be mindful of the fact that there are radical elements in that country, and perhaps even within the government, that would like to see instability and chaos and see those weapons fall into the wrong hands. This is part of a bigger problem. We need to understand that this is not a criminal investigation any more – so we find the bad guys and bring them to justice – it’s a war.

This proves again the mindset of the radical elements that we are dealing with. We are seeing this all across Northern Africa and various places. We’re seeing it across the Middle East and in parts of Asia including Indonesia and other places. We have to come to terms with that and do the things necessary to prevail. One of the things we need to be talking about is what Musharraf can do, additionally, to crack down on the Taliban. I think they have been insufficient in that respect.

Calm, measured, and solid. The other candidates talking about the crisis yesterday didn’t come close.

A man like this deserves the second look that Iowans are giving him. Doesn’t he deserve your support as well?

By: Rick Moran at 7:26 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (12)

Maggie's Farm linked with Sunday Links...
Blogs For Fred Thompson linked with Fred Thompson's Red Pickup Truck is Back...

Two Hundred and Thirty One years ago yesterday, a barefoot, ill-clad army of 2,000 men crossed the ice choked Delaware River to surprise the Hessians at Trenton, giving George Washington his most important victory in the cause of American independence.

The story of how that victory came about is instructive to the cause of Fred Thompson’s campaign for the presidency and the reason for this blogburst today. Not because Fred resembles George Washington in any way or that a Thompson presidency would be as significant an event in history as the American revolution. But because when the chips were down and the cause all but lost, a very small group of Americans helped make the difference between victory and defeat.

Consider if you will the circumstances. Washington had been pushed out of New York by the British in a series of battles during the summer and fall where the Continentals had suffered one humiliating defeat after another. The Americans were levered out of New Jersey and forced to cross the Delaware to the Pennsylvania side of the river. There they waited grimly for the British to attempt a crossing and finish them off.

Patriots in New York and New Jersey began to lose heart, giving their oaths of allegiance to the King so they could trade and buy food for their families. The Congress fled Philadelphia for Baltimore which made Washington not only head of the military but titular head of the government as well. There was no food, no clothing, little in the way of arms and powder, no money, and no credit.

And to make matters worse, Washington’s army was set to disband after the first of the year. A last minute appeal to patriotism by Washington (as pitiful a missive ever written by the Great Man) salvaged the situation with a little more than half the army agreeing to re-up.

In short, things couldn’t get any worse for the patriot cause. Both friend and foe believed that American independence was a lost cause. But then two events were to occur that changed the fortunes of the war and turned the tide inevitably toward success.

The first fortunate happenstance occurred on December 23, 1776 when the first of Tom Paine’s “Crisis” essays hit the streets of America. “These are the times that try men’s souls…” had an electric effect on the citizens and the army. The second event was Washington’s audacious attack on Trenton, as unlikely and impossible a victory as has ever been recorded.

Washington devised a complex plan involving three separate columns crossing the river at three points and converging on Trenton by dawn on Christmas day. One of the columns failed to cross but the other two made it safely through the ice floes and stinging sleet and arrived on the New Jersey side of the Delaware – late but intact. It was madness crossing the river in the middle of an ice storm. But Washington had the perfect bunch to attempt the impossible; the seafaring men of the 14th Continental Regiment.

Better known to us as “The Marblehead Regiment,” these were the hard cases of the American army – a group of swaggering, swearing, spitting fishermen and common seamen led by a remarkable Brigadier by the name of John Glover. Under the guns of the British on Long Island, they ferried 10,000 men and horses across the East River in one night and part of a morning (aided by a heavy fog that obscured the retreat from prying British eyes). This movement forever earned them the gratitude of Washington who liked the spirit and pluck of the sailors as well as their fighting abilities; they held off the British singlehandedly at Pelham, New York in October once again aiding the escape of the bulk of the army.

But that Christmas night in 1776, they truly earned their spurs as they tirelessly rowed time and again across the river and back again, making their way through the ice choked waters in the worst conditions imaginable. Rain mixed with sleet and ice later turning to snow, the waves on the Delaware crashing over the bow covering the rowers with a sheet of clinging ice, the gunwales sometimes perilously close to tipping into the water and capsizing the boats – a certain death in a matter of minutes given the temperature of the water.

The fate of American independence rested with those 400 hardy souls who manned the oars that blustery night. And herein lies the reason for my little historical digression and an illustration of why, if you support Fred Thompson for President, this is the time to get the hell off the sidelines and start rowing the damn boat.

To be brutally frank in appraising the situation realistically, Fred Thompson’s chances of winning the nomination are not good. I will not attempt to snow you, gentle readers, with the idea that the Thompson campaign is anything but a hope and a prayer at this point. But where there is a will to fight, so there is a will to win. It doesn’t matter how many pundits, pollsters, and assorted “experts” have written off Fred Thompson. What matters is that there is still a chance, still life in the campaign, and still a belief that the race can be won. Your support is absolutely crucial to propel the campaign forward, to build on the momentum generated by Thompson’s bus tour through Iowa by giving as much as you possibly can.

The campaign has set a goal of raising $248,000 by sundown on Friday so that they can run a new ad in Iowa. This ad could make the difference and allow Thompson to make a surprise showing in the Iowa Caucuses a week from tomorrow. Exceeding expectations is the game now and this media buy could very well put Fred in a very strong position coming out of Iowa.

So climb aboard and grab an oar. Join the Marbleheaders for Fred and contribute as much as you possibly can to make this Blogburst a big success. Use the widget below or go directly to the contributions page here.

By: Rick Moran at 7:37 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (39)

Blogs For Fred Thompson linked with Fred Thompson's Red Pickup Truck is Back...
SoCalPundit linked with Bloggers For Thompson - It’s Now Or Never...
The Scratching Post linked with Blogburst for Fred Thompson...
Macsmind linked with Blogburst for Fred...
UrbanGrounds linked with Fred Thompson Blogburst...
Blogs For Fred Thompson linked with Blogburst for Fred...
Stix Blog linked with Fred Thompson BlogBurst...
Pirate's Cove linked with TTLF: Blogburst For Fred!...
bRight & Early linked with Blogburst For Fred Thompson...

I sent the following email to conservative bloggers who support Fred Thompson for president:

Dear Friends,

I am writing to ask for your help.

All of us know the long odds faced by Fred Thompson in his efforts to win the GOP nomination for president. I’m sure you are all aware that Fred has undertaken pretty much of a do or die bus tour of Iowa in order to finish strongly in the Caucuses on January 3.

Many of you have already taken steps to support the Thompson campaign in a tangible way by placing fundraising widgets on your sidebar and writing about the campaign. In this way, each of us alone has done whatever we can to support Fred in his efforts.

But at this, the 11th hour of the campaign in Iowa, I think it would be a very effective fundraising tool if as many of us as possible were to participate in an old-fashioned Blogburst, writing a post asking readers to donate to the campaign while embedding a fundraising widget in the post for convenience.

I propose Thursday, December 27 for the Blogburst. If you have an email list, I would urge you to ask your subscribers to donate. If you know of other bloggers who support Fred, please forward this email and ask them to participate as well.

Not expecting a “money bomb” but even a few tens of thousands of dollars would help, I’m sure. Given the number of readers represented in the blogs listed here (where I got all of your email addresses) and your cooperation, I feel confident we can give a real shot in the arm to the campaign.

I don’t think any of us believe that our endorsement of Thompson alone means that much in the long run. But working together, uniting for one day and speaking with one voice, I think we could make a significant impact on Fred’s chances in Iowa. After all, when the candidate you support rolls the dice as Fred has, the least we can do is back his play to the best of our ability.

No need to respond to this email. Just do it.

Merry Christmas,

Rick Moran
Right Wing Nuthouse

If you are a blogger who supports Fred, please participate in this Blogburst. If you know of a blogger who supports Fred, I urge you to contact them and ask them to participate.

For me, it comes down to this. If Fred isn’t nominated, I doubt very much that I will show up at the polls next November. Not to punish the party but simply because there is no one in the race who would be representing my views or who I could in good conscience, support for president.

This is why despite his long shot status, every effort must be made to help Fred Thompson continue the campaign by contributing to his efforts in Iowa. I’m going to give on Thursday and I hope you do too.

UPDATE: 12/26

By sheer coincidence (I have not been in contact with the Thompson campaign) I received this email from the campaign today:

I have a terrific new TV spot. You can see it now at Take a look, and forward this message on to 10 of your friends.

I need your help to put it on the air. We need to put $248,846 in the bank before 6 PM EST on Friday, December 28th to do it.

Can you help me by making a contribution today? I know I’ve asked a lot, and you’ve done a lot, but this is critical to our success. Help me make history.

The Clear Conservative Choice: Hands Down bus tour will run from today to caucus day. We have a terrific ground game in place.

All we need is air cover—which the spot on our website will provide.

It would seem that the proposed blogburst will come at an extremely fortuitous time for the Thompson campaign.

Let’s redouble our efforts to make it a big success.


Glen Reynolds linked to this post and while not endorsing Fred, obviously feels a kinship with his home state senator.

Until I get my official Blogburst post up tomorrow, please give to Fred’s campaign by filling out the convenient widget below:

UPDATE: 12/27

Join the Marbleheaders for Fred!

By: Rick Moran at 8:01 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (72)

Emerald Gryphon linked with Fred Thompson Blogburst...
Maryland for Fred Thompson linked with The final sprint to the caucus...
Wake up America- linked with BlogBurst for Fred Thompson...
Billoblog ® linked with Support Fred Thompson...
Pierre Legrand's Pink Flamingo Bar linked with Blogging For Fred! I am in with donations and blogging....
Stix Blog linked with Fred Thompson BlogBurst...
The Daily Ramble linked with Fred!...
Blogs For Fred Thompson linked with Blogburst for Fred...

I realize that my legions of devoted followers have been sitting on the edge of their seats for days wondering when I was going to make a formal endorsement for a Republican candidate for President.

Not wanting to deprive you, my gentle readers, of an adequate oxygen supply any longer, you may now stop holding your breaths; it’s Fred.

No surprise to readers of this site but I think even my most devoted House Nuts didn’t understand the dilemma I was in. You see, I’m endorsing Fred Thompson despite the fact that I don’t think he can win, that a miracle would have to strike for Fred to capture the nomination.

“Don’t believe the polls!” is the battle cry of politicians who are way behind. This is pure sophistry when you consider the fact that many candidates have their own internal polls telling them pretty much what the public polls are saying; you’re behind and you don’t have much of a chance of winning. In Fred’s case, the polls reflect a very sobering reality; he’s got too much ground to make up and not enough time to do it.

He’s doing exactly the right thing by abandoning any thought of campaigning anywhere else except Iowa. It is in the Hawkeye state – the first in the nation test of strength – that Thompson must show himself a viable candidate. His own expectations are for third place. This is probably doable except for one thing; finishing third with 10-12% of the vote (which is where he’s at now) is not going to excite anyone anywhere. I think the only way Fred will be able to realistically continue the campaign is if he shocks the world and finishes second. This also is possible although the absolute latest from Iowa shows McCain in second with 20% and Romney 3rd with 17%. The important thing is that Romney is tanking. That leaves an opening for Thompson.

Where do you suppose McCain is most vulnerable? If you said immigration, you win a cookie. And who is the strongest candidate on immigration left in the field now that Tom Tancredo has exited the race? If you guessed Fred Thompson you get nothing because everyone knows that.

With Romney slipping, Thompson has a whisper of a chance at second place if he can hammer McCain between now and January 3 on immigration. This will probably end up helping Huckaduck also but that can’t be helped. A second in Iowa keeps the campaign alive at least through South Carolina.

But enough of the strategy, why endorse Fred now if I don’t think he can win? A simple matter of standing up for your guy when the chips are down and he’s at his lowest explains it. The most recent polls in Florida and South Carolina have Fred in 5th place and in single digits. If ever Fred needed a boost, it is from those of us who have liked what he stands for but held back from endorsing him for one reason or another. In my case, it was between Fred and Romney. But today’s news about Romney backpedaling on his contention that Governor George Romney marched with Martin Luther King during the civil rights era is the straw that broke the camel’s back. It never happened and his campaign disingenuously came out with a statement saying that Mitt was “speaking figuratively” not “literally.”

Well, figuratively speaking, I’m a fine figure of a man, devilishly handsome, and have women three at a time when I’m not battling terrorists and making liberal’s heads explode.

On the other hand, if you want to be “literal” about it, I’m 50 pounds overweight, devilishly cute, haven’t spoken to another woman since I met my Zsu-Zsu, and I write long, logical, cogent articles against terrorism while making liberal’s heads explode.

I don’t trust a man who speaks “figuratively” as an adjunct to using plain English. Romney speaks “figuratively” fluently – on abortion, gay marriage, immigration, and other issues. I can’t abide politicians who find it necessary to shade, color, or otherwise try to obscure their positions on issues. It smacks of pandering which is not only dishonest but reveals an inconstant character and someone without any core principles or beliefs.

Fred Thompson has no such weakness as far as I can determine. He is a man who knows his mind and has the intellectual heft to flesh out his ideas in an impressive, rational, and completely logical way. He knows government, knows the Congress, and knows what he believes. As a communicator, he may lack passion. But he makes up for it by speaking clearly and concisely about issues he cares deeply about.

Fred is real – what you see is what you get. In a way, he reminds me more of Eisenhower than Reagan. Not a simple man but a transparent one. There is little subterfuge or guile and his direct, no Mickey Mouse style of speaking and campaigning is a breath of fresh air when placed against his blow-dried rivals Romney and The Huckster.

In short, Fred Thompson is head and shoulders the better man when compared to any other Republican candidate. He may not be the best speaker. He may not shine on the campaign trail. But just who or what are we electing next November? The guy with the pretty smile and easy joke? Or are we trying to elect someone with the penetrating mind and the Iron will to go to Washington and really try and change things while being able to stand tall for America as we face the many serious threats against us in a very uncertain world.

So I would say to my fellow bloggers who, like me, know our endorsement means very little as far as the big picture of the campaign is concerned, that our collective voices, if shouted loud enough, just might do some good. The time is now to stand up for Fred if you support him. He needs our help desperately. Give as much money as you can spare. Write about the campaign often between now and January 3.

Go Fred!


Michelle Malkin commenting on Tom Tancredo’s coming departure from the campaign, offers a list of attributes she would like to see in a nominee:

Where do conservatives who take homeland security seriously turn?

I don’t need a candidate with whom I agree on 100 percent of the issues. At the very least, however, I’d like a candidate who doesn’t share the Left’s utter contempt for, apathy, or sheer condescension toward grass-roots Republicans and immigration enforcement activists. Character counts. Steadfastness counts. A spine would help. So would genuine passion and energy.

I would guess that her last criteria – “genuine passion and energy” – was probably a dig at Fred. I don’t necessarily disagree. Just go to Fred’s YouTube page and watch some of his early speeches and talks before small groups.

Deadly boring.

Does this mean Thompson lacks passion? Or “energy?” I think it means that Fred tries to engage people on an intellectual rather than emotional level. In politics, that doesn’t work very well. His recent performances are much more focused and yes, more energized. But being able to reach out and touch a voter’s soul may not be one of his strong points.

Other than that, Malkin was describing Fred Thompson to a “T.”

By: Rick Moran at 1:21 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (19)


Radio Iowa has the perplexing details on Representative Steve King’s endorsement of Fred Thompson for President.

Let’s just say that King didn’t cover himself in any glory with his announcement:

“So I’m down to, of course, Romney and Thompson and in the end I have to come down on the side of this—who am I most comfortable with on the issues that I believe in….When I se someone who believes in their core….when they make a decision, if they’re where I am philosophically….so after really, I didn’t sleep last night but I come here to the podium to tell you that I have great respect for all the candidates.”

King now veers into a discussion of faith—an apparent reference to Romney’s Mormonism. King suggests no one should be denied the presidency because of their personal faith.

Now, he’s talking about “fire in his belly” and concludes with this, calling his pick, “the person who I believe destiny has called to be the president of the United States. I will be working for…Fred Thompson for president.”

He was questioned about the “fire in the belly” comment.

“I’m kind of an antidote for that,” King said.

After the event, I asked King if he had made up his mind on the spot as he was speaking this morning.

“You have great intuition,” King replied.

Romney’s people must have received some kind of heads up because they were at the press conference in force. A couple of the press in the room – most notably Mark Murray from MSNBC’s First Read – actually reported that Romney had the nod.

And the endorsements keep coming… Congressman Steve King®, one of Iowa’s most strident critics of illegal immigration and a champion of the state’s rural conservatives, has endorsed Romney.

With a mere 17 days until the Iowa caucuses, King’s endorsement may resonate with conservatives in the western part of the state. King had fostered a close relationship with longshot candidate Tom Tancredo, who shares his strong anti-illegal immigration views. But speculation yesterday was that the much-revered (in some circles) congressman wanted to make a splash by endorsing one of the race’s front-runners.

King’s endorsement of Romney could serve to further the Massachusetts governor’s case against Huckabee, whom Team Romney hopes to paint as weak on immigration.

Then, the embarrassing update:

King just announced that he’s supporting Thompson. Team Romney is in the back of the room looking bewildered. They were all here, leading all the press to conclude that it was an endorsement for Romney.

I can’t believe that King made up his mind on the spot as RI reports. That’s got to be a joke, although given the confusion, not a very good one.

So realistically what does this do for Fred in Iowa? For one thing, it maintains the momentum he has enjoyed from the debate (Fred wasn’t expected to get the Des Moines Register endorsement anyway). For another, King has some clout in the western part of the state and among some very influential groups including anti-abortion and anti-illegal immigration interests.

But with 17 days to go and Fred facing an uphill fight to exceed expectations, it may be too little too late. His numbers have barely budged in the Rassmussen daily tracking poll since the debate. But starting today, Thompson begins the kind of retail campaigning that has been lacking in his Iowa and New Hampshire efforts previously. He will start a town by town bus tour from now until the Caucuses on January 3.

This is the kind of thing that voters in New Hampshire and Iowa demand of the candidates. The fact that Thompson has failed to do something similar in New Hampshire explains his dismal showing there – garnering less than 5% in all the polls now. It’s only half a joke when you can say that New Hampshirites won’t consider voting for a candidate unless they’ve shaken his hand at least twice. Iowans aren’t quite as bad but also revel in the attention of the candidates.

Right now unless lightening strikes the race and things go topsy-turvy, it appears that Fred has an excellent chance of finishing 3rd in Iowa and no higher. As much as I’d like to see Thompson in the race for a while, I just don’t think that’s going to give him the kind of boost he needs to win in South Carolina and make Florida a competitive venue for him. In short, I think it probable that Fred exits the stage probably immediately after Super Tuesday. He will be out of money and most likely in 4th or even 5th place in the delegate hunt and virtually mathematically eliminated from getting enough delegates to win.

While admittedly much can happen in a month in this race, the comeback kid at this point would appear to be McCain. He has a real shot at winning New Hampshire if he can get the independents and conservative Democrats to cross over and vote for him. And it appears that he is also starting to make a move in South Carolina – home of many active duty military and veterans. Two such victories would probably make him competitive on Super Tuesday – especially in the south and some of the larger states. In short, McCain’s potential delegate haul at this point far exceeds the possibilities for Fred. The arithmetic just isn’t there for the Tennessean.

Fred has got to hope that Romney continues his slide in Iowa and that he can somehow sneak past him for second place. That would be the kind of shocker that could turn his campaign around and give him a boost that would help in fundraising as well as his poll numbers. But he has a huge amount of ground to make up – at least 15 points in most polls – which makes a second place finish unlikely as of today.

Any way it turns out, Fred has done a service to the party by offering his articulated positions on several important issues. They are a good starting point for any candidate if they wish to be taken seriously by conservatives next November.


Malkin thinks that Romney’s Meet the Press performance where he was less than forthright on his immigration flip flops was a determining factor for King:

As I mentioned, Rep. King has been one of the strongest proponents of strict immigration enforcement. Looks like Mitt Romney’s Meet The Press performance yesterday–go back and read his Clintonian answer on amnesty–didn’t help. Like I said yesterday, the endorsement promises to carry much more weight with grass-roots conservatives than the left-leaning Des Moines Register’s.

By: Rick Moran at 12:40 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (5)


The 40% of Iowans who self identify as Christian conservatives evidently don’t get out much. Either that, or they’ve simply decided to take an early Christmas holiday from reality. Otherwise, I can’t understand why so many would have fallen so completely for the flim flam being perpetrated by the least knowledgeable, least prepared, and most backward thinking of all the Republican candidates in the field -and that includes candidates going back to the 1950’s.

I am talking about the walking, talking disaster-in-the-making that is Mike Huckabee – former governor of a small, impoverished state, a baptist preacher whose conservative views on social issues make him a perfect candidate for the Leave it to Beaver wing of the GOP, and a man whose thinking is so shallow a warning sign should be plastered on his forehead reading “Absolutely no diving beyond this point.”

Now one might think the best way to get our Iowa brethren to abandon this silly love affair with a silly candidate would not accuse them of being dunces. I disagree. Sometimes, you need to throw a bucket of cold water on people to call their attention to erroneous thinking. And I would think they would find that preferable to the buckets of bullsh*t Huckabee has been tossing their way for months.

Kevin Drum is a liberal Democrat but a keen political observer nevertheless. When I find myself in total agreement with someone from the other side, you’ve got to believe that either some liberal witch has cast a spell on me or we both see the same thing from the empty headed former fatty from Arkansas:

Ross Douthat has more on the fact that Mike Huckabee is basically just making stuff up as he goes along and plainly doesn’t have clue about most of the things he’s asked about. Economic policy? How about a 30% sales tax? Foreign policy? He likes Tom Friedman and Frank Gaffney, two pop commentators with almost nothing in common. Energy policy? Let’s eliminate oil imports by 2017. Immigration policy? Ship everyone back to Mexico. Etc. It’s grade school stuff.

And not to beat this into the ground, but what’s really astounding about this is that nobody actually seems to care much. But eventually somebody will, because eventually this weird combination of barstool ignorance and internet-email-list credulity is bound to produce a howler of the kind that the press likes to latch onto. There’s no telling what it will be, but it’s coming, and when it does the Huckabee boomlet will be over.

Drum didn’t mention health care. Here are the Huckster’s deep thoughts on fulfilling a promise he made yesterday in the debate where he said that by the end of his term as president, all Americans would be covered by health insurance:

I advocate policies that will encourage the private sector to seek innovative ways to bring down costs and improve the free market for health care services. We have to change a system that happily pays $30,000 for a diabetic to have his foot amputated, but won’t pay for the shoes that would save his foot.

We can make health care more affordable by reforming medical liability; adopting electronic record keeping; making health insurance more portable from one job to another; expanding health savings accounts to everyone, not just those with high deductibles; and making health insurance tax deductible for individuals and families as it now is for businesses. Low income families would get tax credits instead of deductions. We don’t need all the government controls that would inevitably come with universal health care. When I’m President, Americans will have more control of their health care options, not less.

Boilerplate mush and about as detailed as a connect-the-dots Santa drawing. Besides, you might note all those nifty tax deductions and tax credits. I wonder how he squares that with his tax policy?

I’d like you to join me at the best “Going Out of Business” sale I can imagine – one held by the Internal Revenue Service. Am I running for president to shut down the federal government? Not exactly. But I am running to completely eliminate all federal income and payroll taxes. And I do mean all – personal federal, corporate federal, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment. All our hours filling out forms, all our payments for help with those forms, all our shopping bags filled with disorganized receipts, all our headaches and heartburn from tax stress will vanish. Instead we will have the FairTax, a simple tax based on wealth. When the FairTax becomes law, it will be like waving a magic wand releasing us from pain and unfairness.

The FairTax will replace the Internal Revenue Code with a consumption tax, like the taxes on retail sales forty-five states and the District of Columbia have now. All of us will get a monthly rebate that will reimburse us for taxes on purchases up to the poverty line, so that we’re not taxed on necessities. That means people below the poverty line won’t be taxed at all. We’ll be taxed on what we decide to buy, not what we happen to earn.

Now I’m no economist or policy wonk or anything but how are we going to give poor folk a tax credit to buy health insurance if there’s no such animal in Governor Huckabee’s brave new Fair Tax world?

Just askin’...

Drum mentioned conservative blogger Ross Douthat who interviewed Huckabee last month and was struck by his unpreparedness for national office:

But when it comes to preparedness, to the hard work of scaling up one’s understanding from state-level challenges to national issues that any aspiring candidate needs to do, Huckabee is way out of his depth. This was my sense talking to him, certainly. Set him off on health care or education or what-have-you in the context of Arkansas politics, and he’s got enough juice to make you think: Here’s a guy who might make a good President. But widen the focus to the nation as a whole, and you’re left thinking: Here’s a smart guy who hasn’t come close to doing his homework. For a charming also-ran with a chance at the Vice-Presidency, that wasn’t a problem. For someone leading in Iowa, it is.

You can’t help but compare the vapid and depthless “policy” ideas extruded from the Huckabee campaign machine with the meaty, thoughtful, and detailed “white papers” issued by the Thompson campaign.

Take Fred’s detailed tax plan that was praised by the Club for Growth and the National Review among other conservative media. In it’s 7 points, Thompson lays out a coherent, conservative plan to cut taxes on individuals and businesses. He couples that with a spending plan that envisions widespread and necessary reform of entitlements along with an end to pork barrel projects. It is a demonstration of muscular – some might even say courageous – thinking that makes Huckabee’s campaign for class president platform look silly by comparison.

By all that is right and fair in the world, Fred Thompson should have enjoyed that surge that Huckabee experienced over the last month. But then, Fred didn’t run around Iowa hinting the Mormonism isn’t really a Christian sect in order to pander to the baser instincts of Christian conservatives. Nor does Fred have the ready charm and unctuous delivery of the sermonizing Huckster. Fred is, well, Fred. He heaves his 6’5” frame up to speak and delivers it straight from the shoulder – no gimmicks, few wasted words.

And little inspiration, I’m afraid. While yesterday’s debate showed an animated Fred Thompson, even a passionate Fred at times, his claim is on our heads, not our hearts. For some reason, he has not made that personal connection a candidate must make with the voter that marks the difference between a contender and an also-ran. Perhaps he can take these last few weeks before the Caucuses and find a way to reach beyond the intellectual and touch people’s emotions. If he can discover a way to do that, he has a chance to surprise the field.

In the meantime, Huckabee’s obvious failings as a candidate are lost on the voters in Iowa who may actually agree with a statement signed by Huckabee in 1998 contained in a full page ad in USA Today that declared:

“I affirm the statement on the family issued by the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention.” What was in the family statement from the SBC? “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.”

The ad wasn’t just a blanket, “we support the SBC statement,” but rather highlighted details. The ad Huckabee signed specifically said of the SBC family statement: “You are right because you called wives to graciously submit to their husband’s sacrificial leadership.”

That’s 1998 not 1898, by the way.

Nor do many Iowa supporters of this neophyte on foreign policy care that he wants to drop the economic blockade against Cuba (Or at least he did 3 years ago. Where he’ll be on the issue next week is anyone’s guess) and talk to the Iranians (a la Obama). It also doesn’t seem to matter that the guy granted twice as many pardons and clemencies to state prisoners as his three predecessors combined.

As long as Huckabee is right on their issues, he could be revealed as an empty headed lout and still get their support.

A sad state of affairs, indeed.

By: Rick Moran at 8:27 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (17)


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 | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)