Alarming News

November 28, 2007

“We’ll see”

I have several friends, Tom Elliott, Philip Klein and particularly Charlie Prince spring to mind, who are huge Giuliani fans and have been for some time.

I am too, I’ve detailed it before, but I have struggled to find a different candidate to support for the presidency for all the reasons I’ve outlined on this site previously (starting with my feeling that we’ll end up with McCain if Giuliani seems like he’ll win the nomination).

I settled on Fred Thompson because he fit in so many ways. A true conservative, well-spoken, and a man with presence, ideas and enthusiasm. Except it turned out that the last one, well, not so much.

I’m still hoping Fred can turn things around but it’s not looking too good and I admit that. That doesn’t seem to be enough for Charlie, who sent me an extensively researched email which shows that Fred’s numbers are too low to turn around in time and that I should give up hope. Here’s the money part:

Now, as you know, I am a big proponent of the theory that this year, with so many polls moved up to Feb. 5th, early states and the South play a far smaller role than they have in the past. I think it is increasingly becoming like a general election in that the bigger states carry far more weight (CA, FL, NY, OH, PA, etc.). And this is where Thompson has really not made much of a dent at all, presumably because he had to pick his battles. Polls show Fred trailing with gaps in excess of 20% behind the front-runners in California and Pennsylvania, and in other key states (Ohio, Michigan, etc.) he is normally about 15% behind. Arguably a key win in early states NH and IO might generate a surge to give a candidate enough momentum to be competitive in overcoming a 15% gap in the polls in other states, but that only helps Romney, as, again, Thompson hovers in or near last place in IO and NH, so a 15-20% gap in the larger states is almost certainly insurmountable.

Perhaps worst of all, his momentum is actually negative, as he had been gaining ground (capping out at around 14-15% in states like PA in June and July, but since has slipped to a consistent 10-11% in recent months). And in turn Huckabee and especially Romney have gained momentum, as the press will increasingly focus on them the closer we get to the polls in the early states where Romney leads. Ominously, some head-to-head pollsters are no longer bothering to poll Thompson at all.

So, in conclusion, I present you with the obvious: I boldly declared it in February, I wrote definitively about it on your site in April, I have hammered it home throughout the summer and fall, and now, moments away from Thanksgiving, I feel obliged to once again point out the giant elephant in the room that gets larger by the day.

You know too much about politics to continue to ignore these facts. I admire enthusiasm and positive thinking as much as the next guy, but with where we are today in the primary cycle, I demand a reality check. This email is a gauntlet. Think of this as a subpoena on political wishful thinking. You run a successful political website, you are an influential figure in NY GOP circles, you are ranked as one of the top 40 under 40 politicos in NY, and as a result, you cannot stick your head in the sand — you have an obligation to face the music and acknowledge it loud and clear in all those circles in which you travel (as they say in Pulp Fiction): “[Fr]ed’s dead, baby, [Fr]ed’s dead”.

And he’s right. Fred’s team is now hoping for third in Iowa which isn’t too inspiring. I’m readying myself to let go of Fred. I’m just not there yet.

Fred’s plans have been getting great press and my overlord Allahpundit writes: “He should stick to the “true conservative” stuff and start hitting the fact that while Rudy and Mitt are throwing punches and Huckabee’s chattering about faith, he’s rolling out one policy proposal after another.”

The truth is, I remain wed to the belief that Fred is the guy. He’s the one that can win both the primary and the general election and do it on true conservative positions. I’ll let go of this, I promise, as soon as a few results roll in and prove me wrong. Here’s what I want from my Giuliani-fan friends in return: if McCain has some upset in either NH or Iowa, I want all of you Giuliani people to admit at that time that McCain’s surge will be due to the fact that Republican primary voters just won’t vote for a pro-choice, anti-gun, ex-Mayor of New Yawk. They will be choosing McCain as a direct reaction to Giuliani. They will be worrying about Romney or Huckabee in the general and they will find McCain to be conservative enough to support in both. If you don’t believe me, believe Patrick Ruffini who writes “This is going to sound crazy, but I’ve got a simple message for my friends in the Rudy, Mitt, Fred, and Huck camps: watch your backs for John McCain.”

If Giuliani walks away with the nomination, you won’t find a bigger supporter than me. I will cheerlead for him like no ones business. I will go door to door. I will write glowing posts and tell you all stories about a pre-Giuliani New York that was practically a warzone. He is the man, he will be my man, just not yet.

Posted by Karol at 02:18 PM |
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The point where Fred lost it was when he couldn’t even be decisive about an official announcement. Dude, you’re running for President of the United States, someone who has their finger on the button which makes nations go *poof!*. If you can’t even figure out what day you’re going to start your campaign, how’re you going to figure out whether or not someone needs to be presented with a multi-kiloton gift after supporting a terrorist attack on a major city? How’re you going to steer something to fix Social Security through Congress? The list goes on.
Bottom Line: The Presidency is like a Nationwide commercial: “It comes at you fast.” Fred gave no indication that he was prepared for the job, and having a Senatorial resume, conservative credentials, a Hollywood career, and a smoking hot, uber-intelligent driven wife will only get you so far…like third in Iowa.

Posted by: James at November 28, 2007 at 2:36 pm

Fred is teh gay!

Posted by: BJ at November 28, 2007 at 2:59 pm

1. How can Thompson be “the guy” if he doesn’t have the enthusiasm? Without the will to win, it doesn’t matter what else he has in his favor. (But this makes me wish he was viable:
2. Why should anyone “admit” that a hypothetical McCain victory in Iowa or New Hampshire comes in response to Giuliani? Why wouldn’t it come in response to Romney, who happens to be leading in both of those states? He has spoken in favor of abortion rights, gay rights; some of those Republican primary voters you describe could object to his religion.
3. Giuliani will get a boost from Hillary in that if she wins Iowa, Republicans will start contemplating the best way to beat her nationwide, and — true or not — he’s perceived as her strongest opponent. That’s the “direct reaction” Giuliani can count on.

Posted by: FunkyPundit at November 28, 2007 at 3:16 pm

Fred Thompson is far and away the best candidate. He is the only one on either side actually offer plans on the issues. He is the only true conservative in the field, fiscally and socially.
Unfortunately, he can’t get a fair shake from the media. They’ve spent the past two months doing everything they can to tear the guy down. If you listen to what he has to say, his answers are the most thought out, the most logical, and make the most sense to move our country forward.
On top of that, he’s the only candidate who actually tells you exactly how he feels. He’s not a flip-flopper like Romney, the Huckster, and Billary.

Posted by: bigred at November 28, 2007 at 3:30 pm

Alright, that’s progress. If you think McCain still has a chance, clearly the general concept of “polls are not meaningless” hasn’t sunk in yet, but I’ll gratefully accept “readying myself to let go of Fred” as a big step in the right direction for now. Btw, as if to help Karol along in her decision, Fred hit a new low today in NH clocking in at only 2% support in a new Suffolk poll (which puts him in 6th of 6, with Ron Paul having 4x the support that Thompson has!!!). 2% has to be pretty close to the amount that any candidate will get simply from the percentage of people that accidentally press the wrong number on their phones.
As for McCain, in all seriousness, Thompson has a much better shot (which is still none) of winning the nomination at this point than McCain does. For starters, I note that a new poll was released last week for Arizona that shows McCain is actually projected to narrowly lose HIS OWN STATE. Which must be really frustrating for him, seeing as that was the only state he had a lead in. And, to beat the dead horse, you could of course point out that he has no shot at picking up momentum from the early states, as he has only a pathetic 4% support in the latest Iowa poll (behind Ron Paul at 5%), and is in a dead-heat for coming in 5th in South Carolina. Is it good news for him that he’s in approx. 3rd place in NH, falling 17% behind the front-runner?
He has no momentum, his fundraising numbers have consistently made headlines in how low they are, he has no base of poll support anywhere (in the Southwest not only is he at risk of losing his own state primary, he has a total of only 8% support in neighboring NV!). He is not at all competitive in the South (in GA, Thompson has 333% more support!) or the Northeast (where Giuliani has 3 to 4x the support McCain has). In large swing states, (PA, Oh, etc.) he has usually half to a third of the support of the front-runner. In other words, not only does he not lead anywhere, he is not close to leading anywhere except his home state of AZ (which he is actually losing). Seriously, think for a moment how lethal that fact is. It’s incredible.
So, yes, needless to say I will gladly accept your challenge re: a McCain upset, flying elephants, alchemy or any other similar proposal. :)
PS: I note today’s topical LA Times article “No Buildup in Support for McCain”.

Posted by: charlie at November 28, 2007 at 3:59 pm

If Fred worked 20 hours a day, the media would say “what is he doing with the other four hours in the day?”
Even those being less than dishonest are making the negative claims about his work ethic and his enthusisasm level into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Cut it out and let him participate.

Posted by: MH at November 28, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Why do we have to choose from this insipid field of candidates?
I don’t see any reason why we should accept some sort of substandard nominee just because the Dems choose to. This mentality is what got us Dole, Ford, Bush, Nixon, etc., etc., ad nauseam.
Giuliani as governor, or Solicitor General? Fine. McCain as Sec’y of the DoD? Splendid. Romney as head of the RNC? No problem. But I don’t see why anyone should feel compelled to vote them into the White House.
The fact is that there’s a huge, disgruntled swath of the electorate that will rally behind some independent candidacy next year. Why not preempt them by nominating someone who is a Republican that they can actually stomach?
I don’t care if it’s Palin, or Steele, or Petraeus, but someone needs to get this conversation started.
I personally don’t have a problem voting for Fred Thompson-he’s the most tolerable “viable” candidate I see on Republican side-but I don’t see how he can craft a compelling meta-narrative that will sway millions of voters who are already firmly ensconced-or drifting towards-the enemy camp.

Posted by: Gerard at November 28, 2007 at 4:30 pm

Notwithstanding the puerile attention given to his wife’s appearance by the NYT Style section-and the occasional sophomoric jibe by that gibbering idiot Joe Scarborough-how exactly is the media out to get Fred Thompson?
Hope is Emo: Presidential Edition

Posted by: Gerard at November 28, 2007 at 5:22 pm

Karol– To start, I don’t share quite the same level of contempt for McCain that you do. But even if I did, I think it’s a stretch to say his nomination would be “a direct reaction to Giuliani.” If anything, I think Giuliani’s presence in the race has hurt McCain, because it has split the vote among moderate, national security voters concerned with electability. If Romney or Thompson were able to close the deal as the across-the-board conservatives, or if Huckabee weren’t so liberal on economic issues, McCain would be stopped regardless of Giuliani. As for Thompson, I think Fredheads are in denial if they blame the media for his problems. I’ve seen him speak at a number of conservative forums, and he’s completely underwhelming. This isn’t based on my personal opinion, but based on talking to audience members after the events–many of whom were predisposed to Thompson to begin with, who found him low energy. He simply isn’t working very hard, and has been hardly campaigning. His rivals often pack more events into a day than he does in a week. He may have rolled out policy proposals in the past few weeks that he deserves credit for, but his rivals have been rolling out proposals on health care, energy, immigration, etc. for months. The man is at 2 percent in New Hampshire, behind Ron Paul. I just don’t see it happening for him.

Posted by: Philip Klein at November 28, 2007 at 5:25 pm

I think the substandard nominee question could be a threat on its own. Seriously. I’m not excited (well, fine, Hillary excites me, but in a “Can I afford the second mortgage to buy Dick Cheney’s undisclosed location?”-sorta way) about anyone in this race on either side.
This is the best that a nation of 300 million can do?

Posted by: James at November 28, 2007 at 5:57 pm

Have to agree with Charlie on this. If you watch recent news coverage, Thompson is only mentioned, if at all, as a footnote in discussions of the Republican candidates. The darling of the “true conservatives” seems to be Huckabee, rather than Thompson. And because of this, I predict that Huckabee is likely to be the V.P. candidate under Giuliani. I also predict Karol will be a solid Giuliani fan by this weekend.

Posted by: LJ at November 28, 2007 at 8:30 pm

Fred simply has failed to meet up to expecations since he was being billed as the GOP savior. He looks like a big time flop to say the least. Come to think of it, he has not offered any rationale for why he is running which is pretty amazing when one considers his opponents. This comes from someone who thinks Thompson is the best of the big 4 in the GOP field.
There is no bloody way I would ever vote for a supporter of partial birth abortion and sodomite marriage like Rudy. I suspect this next month will see a lot of mud being thrown his way and today’s Politico story is just the tip of the iceberg. Ah, the taxpayers were being tapped for adulterous flings in the Hamptons. We went after Bill Clinton for a lot less mortal an offense not that long ago.
I know, I know. We have to stop Hillary. The Grand Old Party comrade. Kind of getting hard to make out the pigs from the humans down on Animal Farm.

Posted by: Von Bek at November 28, 2007 at 8:56 pm

I think you hit the nail on the head, i.e. would any of these folks have a snowball’s chance if the dreaded Hill-monster wasn’t looming on the horizon?
I hope GOPers don’t wake up with buyer’s remorse after the primaries because quicker than you can say, “Ross Perot” movement, you’ll have another Clinton get into the White House thanks to a third party candidate.

Posted by: James at November 29, 2007 at 11:21 am

The debate between you and your friend seems to be about whether other people are going to vote for him or not. That’s quite a bit different from the question of whether or not you personally will vote for him. I decided to vote for him, and Funkypundit, I don’t see how whether or not the candidate is viable should affect one’s primary vote … since it’s the primary vote that decides whether or not he’s viable. Unless you are saying by “viable” that the apparent lack of will to win (and I wouldn’t say I agree) would mean he would lack the will to govern effectively.

Posted by: Anwyn at November 29, 2007 at 1:36 pm

This campaign began way too early and things quickly change, with the exception of Thompson all the other candidates are running like Rabbits however, at the end of the story I recall that the Hare won.
For example, Huckabee on Nov 28 was taking off like a rocket…today Dec 5 his rocket is about to crash.

Posted by: syn at December 5, 2007 at 4:46 pm
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