thanks fred

Huckabee and his people are blaming Fred Thompson for their second-place finish in South Carolina.

Anyone else notice that we aren’t seeing much of that smiley positive Huck lately? Fred took quite a few votes from Huck, and I’m proud to say that I contributed to that effort. It wasn’t enough votes to get into the top two, so that was probably Fred’s last stand in this race. But if all he did was switch the focus back to conservative principles (and derail Huck), it was more than enough. I don’t regret voting for Fred, and I don’t think anyone else does either. I don’t do strategy votes. I vote for the person who I believe would be a good representative of our party and of conservative principles when facing off against the Democrats in November.

I don’t care that Fred being in the race may have helped McCain. That wasn’t intentional on my part (or on Fred’s). There are many good reasons why I couldn’t vote for McCain, no matter what his numbers were against the Democrats. I also don’t like the idea of independents and moderates choosing the Republican nominee. Those two groups are giving McCain an unfair advantage in a primary process that should ensure that the nominee is picked by the majority of the REPUBLICAN party. I hope that’s the way it turns out in the end.

I know that the delegate count is the all-important number, but to call McCain’s 3 point victory over Huckabee a sign that he’s now the frontrunner — forget it. He got 33% of the vote here. Huckabee got 30%. That means quite a few people voted against those two. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep McCain from winning. The problem is that the anti-McCain vote was divided between Huck, Romney, and Fred. Fred was unable to sell himself as THE alternative, and as long as conservatives couldn’t decide on one guy to represent them, this is the result we get.

Please, fellow conservatives, do not blame us for this result. We did all we could to stop it. Now it’s up to the other states to find us an acceptable nominee.

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right said fred

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It’s real people. Fred is here in South Carolina. He had an overflow crowd of very enthusiastic FredHeads today at the local Golden Corral, and there are similar reports of this all across the state. Unfortunately, not many of us actually heard his speech. This sort of dampened the mood, but I’m not sure that those who came hadn’t already made up their minds for Fred. There were some technical issues with the microphones, and I heard that every time they tried to turn it up, it was interfering with the media’s cameras and mics. So…another thing to blame the media for. 🙂 What the people heard, they really liked. Fred knows the issues of importance to SC, and he didn’t hesitate to hit on those themes. I’m feeling very confident in the ability of the local folks to understand which candidates are the best fit for our state, and to ultimately reject McCain and Huckabee. More on that later.

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An NRO reader writes in to the Corner:

My son and I just returned from the Fred lunchtime rally at the Golden Corral Buffet & Grill in Rock Hill, SC. His bus rolled in at noon from Spartanburg where he had already done a rally and some national TV. The crowd was large and enthusiastic. A York County Republican official told me they estimated there were far more than 500 people there. Unfortunately the sound system would have been better for a group of 100— it was difficult to hear him from very far back. Those who could hear were very pumped up and loud as he hit his key points. When he was through speaking he was mobbed for a long time by fans and signed autographs on FRED08 signs, DVD’s of “Hunt for Red October”, and anything else people asked him to sign. Fred was gracious and my son pointed out on the way home that he sure didn’t look or act like a guy who doesn’t enjoy campaigning. He finally made it back out to the motor coach and headed for our county seat, York, SC for another event before heading to Columbia for a 6PM rally. He’s campaigning hard here in SC and had a very enthusiastic, large crowd at lunchtime in Rock Hill.

After Fred left, I went back to get something to eat. There were some Fred fans still hanging around at that point, and I talked with one of the guys at length about his impressions of the Republican field. He said something interesting that completely goes against the MSM narrative. About McCain, he said that he’s the kind of guy who will stick his finger to the wind to decide what to do next. We need a President ready to make tough decisions, and he didn’t see McCain as that kind of guy. Before this conversation, I bought into that conventional wisdom of the tough, decisive McCain who would defy the odds and earn the forgiveness of South Carolina conservatives.

I then asked about Huckabee and Romney. He said that Huckabee’s Arkansas record did not do much to recommend him as a Presidential candidate. He didn’t trust Huck, and good for him. He also said that he thought that Romney was more liberal than Rudy Giuliani. That’s something I hadn’t heard before, but it confirms my suspicion that not everyone has bought into the Romney conservative conversion. I’m not sure how representative this man’s view is, but I don’t think this is a unique view.

Like I said before, the local folks are plugged in and well-informed on the issues and the candidates. I am confident they will vote to reject McCain and Huckabee, and maybe even vote for Fred. But I’m making no predictions about the rest of the state. Not every Republican here is a conservative.

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