When you compare Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson, you see two people almost identical in views. That leads to the question; “which candidate is going to come out on top.” While we are unlikely to see one-on-one sparing between the two, they are going after the same voters, and one is going to have to come out on top. As a Romney supporter, I want it to be him, but I also think that there are facts which point to Romney as the better candidate. So, what is Romney’s key to beating Thompson? Experience.
While Thompson does have experience, he has relatively little to show for it. In eight years as a Senator, he authored fewer than 10 laws, and came out of the Senate with a reputation as lazy. Romney, on the other hand, has much to show for his experience as a reformer. As CEO of the Olympics, he turned around a failing organization and made it into a successful, profitable venture. As CEO of Bain Capital, he made his money as an entrepreneur, and was called to turn around the parent company, Bain & Co. – which he did with great success. Finally, as Governor of Massachusetts, he turned around the state – bringing the state out of a deficit and into profit for his entire term. Romney has a long list of executive-related accomplishments, and can be extremely proud of it. He can point to the list of successful turnarounds and say “that is what I am going to do to the U.S.” And with a big majority of American feeling that the country is on the wrong path, it could be an extremely appealing promise.
In truth, Fred Thompson’s experience may hurt him. With ~30 years of experience as a Washington insider, much of it as a lobbyist, people may be turned off. Similarly, it would be easy for opponents to point to his unimpressive Senate career and admitted dislike of long work hours and campaigning and portray him (perhaps rightly so) as a poor choice for the nation’s highest office.