More Trouble In Fred-Land?

Two days ago, I wrote about what seemed to be, if you’re a Fred supporter, something of a disturbing development as the Thompson campaign structure was already experiencing shake downs before even technically beginning. The to be campaign manager had left the camp, reportedly due to disagreements with Jeri, Fred’s younger, and much more attractive wife (I mean, she’s alright, I guess… if you’re into that sorta thing).

If that was a singular blip on the radar screen, then maybe you could have let that pass, but since then there have been a couple more blips, which may signal actual problems. For instance, there is the incident of the protestors that had been escorted away from a GOP welcoming reception. Now you watch the video, and it’s kind of disturbing. I’m no champion of ultra rightwingers, but I am a champion of free speech. I don’t care who that was standing there, it could have been Cindy Sheehan or this woman, and I still say the lady had a right to stand there and demand that her questions be asked.

Which points to two things. Thing One: Conservativism. Perhaps because the combination of neoconservatism/compassionate conservatism has tainted so much just about everything, this GOP primary season seems to be at least in part about returning to traditional conservatism. And every candidate, even the non candidates such as Fred, are clamouring over each other to prove that they are in fact classic conservatives. But there really is only one hardcore traditional conservative, and he’s got a hellacious netroots program; Ron Paul. Ron Paul may not necessarily have a chance at winning the nomination, I can see both him and his organization actually ending up as spoilers for those candidates all too eager to prove how conservative they are.

Thing Two: Doesn’t this smack just a little bit like Bushology to you? If you’ll remember, I imagine it’s not that hard to forget, during Bush’s campaign stops in 2004, from townhalls to stump speeches (I guess for him those are the same thing), no dissent was allowed. Audience members were screened and had to sign waivers… wearing a shirt that even remotely hinted at anti Bush sentiment would bar you from the event. Now look at Thompson, he’s not even running yet and would be protestors are getting drug out of sight by security.


But this is not the only ills befalling Fred. After hiring J. T. Mastranadi only about a week and a half ago to be the top researcher for the campaign, Mastrandi has already quit. While official reports offer the typical sterile “personal reasons” non reasons. A close friend has “said that Mastranadi was “fed up” with the “lack of structure” and was unclear about his role in the coming campaign.”

This doesn’t bode well for Thompson whose support comes almost solely from external sources who have no idea what a Fred Thompson campaign would look like. His numbers are what they are now, which in most cases puts him second behind Giuliani, but you must understand that this has the potential to be a very inflated view as Thompson is not as a rule forced to succumb to the scrutiny of the announced candidates.

With the squabbles leaking out from the non-campaign, rumors of structural lackings, and an announcement date that seems to get put off over and over again, it is beginning to look questionable that this campaign will have what it takes to weather the storm of when reality and expectations collide.

Fred has time, but not much left before his unwillingness to throw his hat in the ring and be judged along side his colleagues turns his support base sour on him. Or, in other words, perhaps Thompson’s not the conservative savior his friends and supporters thought he would be.

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