What About Fred?

Already much of the headlines hitting the wires right about now are fueled on rumors and hearsay, but perhaps one of the biggest and most interesting sits squarely in the middle of the Republican race.

In truth, the rumor comes as little surprise.  Fred Thompson’s non-campaign was far more successful than his actual post announcement endeavor could ever hope to be.  The truth of the matter is that Fred has always been much more hype than fact; it’s not necessarily that there was never any there there, but more a function that Thompson never seemed up for the rigors of the trail.  Couple this with the somewhat surprising fact that Thompson’s about as exciting and inspiring as a lump of clay, and it’s pretty simple to see why his ampaign has remained stagnant from day one.

Thus the rumor mill starts churning, and the word on the streets is that if Fred does poorly in Iowa (probably under third), he’s going to drop from the campaign and throw his support behind his old senatorial ally and friend, John McCain.  The rumor, however, didn’t take long before the Thompson campaign swiftly and definitively denied it.

This development pulls me in two directions at the same time.  On one hand, of course the campaign is going to vehemently deny the rumor, no matter how much of it lies in fact.  While Fred’s chances at the nomination are slim to none, as of right now he’s not completely and totally out of the race, and a better than expected showing in Iowa and New Hampshire could help him secure a win in South Carolina, and put him in contention come Super Tuesday.  So he’s not likely to spoil what chances he has at some last minute momentum in his direction by officially releasing a statement of defeat before the caucuses commence.   I also think this is plausible for the same reason his campaign has floundered through the pre-season; he’s just never shown that much enthusiasm for being the president.  I’ve never gotten the impression that winning the White House was an ambition of his so much as he was coerced into running, and so a bad showing in Iowa would give him a decent excuse for bowing out.

On the other hand, one thing Fred Thompson is not known for is quick and decisive action.  Remember, this is a guy who took MONTHS to announce his candidacy complete with a handful of postponements  that took what some thought would be an early summer announcement into a September event.  For Fred o all of a sudden be Jonny on the Spot to bow out of the race just feels out of character.

So I don’t think that Fred’s going to last all that much longer following a disappointing showing in Iowa, but at the same time, I don’t think it will be a quick abandon ship either.  I think personally that if he finishes fourth or below, he will bow out and toss McCain a very lucrative (in terms of primary voters) endorsement, but I don’t think that will come until at the very least after New Hampshire, possibly not until after South Carolina.

2 Responses to “What About Fred?”

  1. Macswain says:

    Fred’s dead, baby. Fred’s dead.

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