Thompson Officially in the Race - What's Next?

By J.B. Williams
for eco-logic/Powerhouse

September 08, 2007

Those who have been patiently waiting for a formal campaign announcement from Senator Fred Thompson were rewarded Wednesday night, when Thompson used Jay Leno's Tonight Show to make his run for the White House official. It's official, he's in. Now what?

Thompson chose to skip another Republican debate, and some in New Hampshire were feeling a bit snubbed. The Fox News moderators opened the debate by asking the other candidates to take their free pot-shots at Thompson for that decision, but the candidates were somewhat hesitant to oblige, opting instead to offer a humorous little quip or two, to be added to their growing grab-bag of sound bites. Overall, they were pretty cautious, which means, pretty smart.

Thompson used the Tonight Show to announce on his own terms. He's not the first leader to march to the beat of his own drum. He's just the first to do it since Reagan. It's actually a common (and welcome) trait of those rare types who prefer to lead, as opposed to following.

I've not seen the Nielson Ratings yet, but I'd be surprised if the debate had as many viewers as the Tonight Show did. Despite his absence from the debate itself, Newsweek led the following morning with the headline "How Thompson Carried the Night!" The LA Times wrote "Candidate who is not there, upstages GOP debate!" Crazy? Like a fox maybe...

Thompson used the new media to speak directly to voters in complete sentences, not sound bites, by making a 15-minute video which appears on his new campaign site. Here's the video link for anyone interested in learning more about Thompson.

The debates are not designed to let us get to know each candidate. You can learn more about Fred Thompson in a 15-minute video than you can learn about any other candidate after watching 15 hours of sound-bite-driven debates. I encourage you to take 15 minutes to see and hear what Fred Thompson believes in, and why he has chosen to run for President of the United States, at a most inconvenient time for anyone to be President.

What's next for Thompson?

From this point forward, he will have to not only attend the debates, he'll have to win them. He'll have to demonstrate to the American people, why he is best suited to lead America, at a most difficult time of real threats to national security, our economy, and our way of life, while the nation is completely divided over all issues.

The 15-minute video is a good start. It gives us a close-up look at Thompson, the man. Now, Fred will have to translate those personal beliefs into definable public policy positions and effectively communicate those ideas to a broad range of voters.

He will have to defend those positions while under attack from all sides, and he will have to do it swiftly and effectively on his feet, before debate TV audiences, and in person, from campaign stops across America.

He seems properly intent upon uniting Americans on the common grounds of American ideals. Time will tell, whether or not America can still unite around those fundamental principles, or if Thompson is the man to unite them.

I like where he is. I like how he got here, drafted by true conservatives not happy with their other choices.

Can he raise enough money?

How much is enough? I suspect that he will need less money to win than any other candidate. People already know who he is, what he's like and how he thinks. This is a clear advantage at the starting gate.

He will need enough money to reach the first finish line, which is the party nomination. His numbers indicate a statistical advantage as well. He has raised and spent less than any candidate, was not officially a candidate before last night, and has been showing well in the polls already.

If he wins the party nomination, conservatives of all flavors will unite behind him in the general election. Right-wingers in the party are correct - he's not as extreme as they are. Left-wing RINOs are also right - he's not as far left as they are. But, he can appeal to the highest priorities in both groups?

Fundamental conservatives are his core, the people who drafted him. Those who are conservative in all areas, fiscally, socially, on security and sovereignty, on morality and family values, on individual freedom and liberty, free enterprise and economic prosperity. Meet the "Fred-heads."

Blue Dog Democrats have been looking at Thompson too, left out in the cold by the Democratic Socialists currently running roughshod over old Democrats like Lieberman and Miller. He can win some JFK Democrats, who oppose Teddy-type Socialist Democrats, as much as Republicans do.

Could he be an American President?

He speaks of winning, not losing. He talks about Americans as winners, not losers. He sees the American people as the solution to every problem, not as some problem that only Washington politicians can solve. He sees Washington as our greatest problem, just as most Americans on both sides of the political aisle do. And, he seems to grasp the notion that only the American people can solve the mess created by Washington politicians.

He's not betting on himself. He's betting on the American people... What a concept!

As all other candidates play the pander-game, promising all that they can do for the American people, all that they can be, Thompson is looking to harness the power of the people, with whom the founders entrusted the real power, more than 200 years ago.

In this way, though he is a Republican, he's no Republican Party hack. He is clearly looking to be an American president, as in, a president for all Americans, defined only as those who still believe in America and her founding principles; those who still see themselves as winners, not losers in search of a federal bailout.

I learned this from watching his 15-minute video. But what I saw was something I have known about Fred Thompson for many years now. He's an American first, last, and always. These are the voters he's looking for, no matter what party they claim.

While all other candidates want to talk about themselves and the power of the federal government, Thompson wants to talk about average Americans and the power of the people. While all other candidates are focused on everything they see wrong with America, Thompson wants to refocus Americans on everything he sees right with America.

He's a "people's candidate" ... drafted by the people

Thompson is the only candidate drafted into the Presidential race by the people. As a result, he is looking to the people for solutions to problems created by politicians. While others promise to be "the" politician who can solve the nation's ills, Thompson seems to think that the nation's people are best suited to solve those ills ... and I, for one, agree!

Is he right?

Only time will tell. But I like what he's saying, and how he's saying it. He's the clear target of every competing candidate on both sides of the aisle. He's the last person on Earth that Hillary wants to face in debates, since he headed the investigation into Clinton campaign fraud that ended with a call for prosecution of the Clintons. A call that was deep-sixed by Clinton AG, Reno.

Democrats fear Fred, but so do many Republicans, or more specifically, RINOs to his left, and Libertarian isolationists on his right. Should they be afraid?

Take a look at his video, and tell me what you see!


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