I’m sure Fred Thompson is a good guy. I’m also sure that there were many persuasive people telling him that he could be the one to save the GOP from Rudy McRomney, and no doubt Thompson is more conservative in some areas than the current top three. But it’s fair to say that there was no way that Fred Thompson could be the savior of the GOP, or another Ronald Reagan, or the “one true conservative”. His record in the Senate is mixed, and it resembles John McCain’s on illegal immigration and campaign finance reform, two areas where McCain runs into trouble with the base.
There are many objections I have to James Dobson critiquing possible GOP nominees, but I have to agree with him, and with what Quin Hillyer wrote in the American Spectator, when they suggest that Fred Thompson doesn’t act like he wants to be the nominee or to be President. It’s an admirable quality in a candidate, I guess, not to look like they were planning their Presidential run for many years before taking the plunge. However, if Fred wants to continue to be taken seriously as a candidate, he has to start doing his homework on the issues of the day. He can’t go to Florida and not know about the local issues (Terri Schiavo, drilling in the Everglades). If he’s going to be an advocate for conservatism, he needs to know what he believes and why he believes it. He can’t get by on Southern charm alone. Ask Mike Huckabee how much money his campaign gets from his great personality and folksy speeches.
It’s not just the objection to Rudy, Mitt, and McCain that drives conservatives to look for someone else. All three men have flaws I can live with as the GOP nominee. Conservatives are looking for someone with a vision, a new direction for our party, and a direction for our country. We need someone who is bold enough to tell us the truth about where the Republican party has failed the people of this country. We need someone who knows what is wrong and how we can fix the GOP. We want to be inspired with big ideas and someone with the kind of vision for change that Newt Gingrich has (only in a more electable package). It’s no wonder that all of the candidates don’t quite measure up to those high standards.
Fred Thompson could be the guy who could unite most of the base, but he can’t just coast through this process if he wants to be the nominee.