Saturday, January 19, 2008

After South Carolina: Fred Thompson Stays In

Fred Thompson said he needed to finish at least second in today's South Carolina GOP Primary to say viable. He finished third, with only about half the votes of second place Mike Huckabee. In the Nevada Caucus today Thompson finished fifth, about 100 votes behind Huckabee.

Just the same, Thompson say, well gosh, he reckons he'll say around a while longer... The question is, why? And how long will that while be?

Thompson entered the race late with high expectations that he would be met by adoring crowds who would sweep him to victory. The crowds never showed up, proving that politics is at least as much about work as it is about personality. He lags nationally behind Romney, McCain, Huckabee, and Giuliani - all of whom were out shaking hands and asking for votes long before Thompson tossed his hat into the ring.

In South Carolina Thompson was something of a spoiler, dividing Conservatives and Evangelical Christians today who might otherwise have mostly voted for Huckabee or Romney. John McCain, who won in South Carolina, would be glad to see Thompson keep doing that at least through the February 5th Super Tuesday ballots.

If Thompson hopes to eventually play the role of either spoiler or kingmaker, it is unclear who would get his support at the Republican National Convention. A tone of bitterness is developing between the Thompson and Huckabee camps as the two groups compete for the title of "Most Strongly Against Abortion." And Thompson disagrees with McCain on important issues like immigration.

For now he's making speeches that could be taken to mean he's staying in, or that he's putting his house in order before he drops out.

Perhaps Thompson would make Romney a good vice presidential candidate to increase the Boston Mormon's appeal in the south during the general election. But there are a lot of delegates left to county before it comes to that.

In the mean time, Thompson is beginning to smell like a Thanksgiving turkey that's been left in the oven too long...

No comments: