Thompson Is for Real
In just three weeks, Fred Thompson has transformed the contest for the Republican presidential nomination. It is not merely that he has come from nowhere to double digits in polls. He is the talk of GOP political circles because he is filling the conservative void in the field.Thompson says he's running - should the Democrats be concerned? I think the answer is yes. The influential James Dobson has been cold up to this point but as Digby said Dobson is just waiting for Thompson to "kiss his ring" and guarantee his position as a power broker. Thompson would be a formidable candidate because of what he did on screen rather than what he did in the Senate.
Republican activists have complained for months that none of the Big Three -- Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney-- fits the conservative model of a conservative leader for a conservative party. The party faithful have been waiting for another Ronald Reagan. But in conversations with them the past year, nobody mentioned Thompson as the messiah until he appeared March 11 on "Fox News Sunday."
Thompson was surprised by the reaction to his statement that he was "giving some thought" to running. In the first Gallup Poll that listed Thompson (conducted March 23-25), he scored 12 percent -- amazing for someone out of public life for more than four years who has not campaigned. More important is his backing within the political community. Buyer's remorse is expressed by several House members who endorsed Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.
Sophisticated social conservative activists tell me they cannot vote for Giuliani under any conditions and have no rapport with McCain or Romney. They do not view Sen. Sam Brownback, representing the social right, as a viable candidate. They are coming to see Thompson as the only conservative who can be nominated. Their appreciation of him stems not from his eight years as a U.S. senator from Tennessee but from his role as Manhattan district attorney on the TV series " Law & Order." The part was molded to Thompson's specifications as a tough prosecutor, lending him political star power.
Steve Soto makes an interesting point, what about the TV show?
Yet the one person who probably doesn’t want Thompson to run is “L&O” creator and executive producer Dick Wolf, who now faces major problems for the upcoming season of the show if Thompson jumps into the race. He would have to cast someone else immediately as a new DA or else face flak from other candidates for he and NBC giving Thompson an unfair platform to look the part each week.