From the point of view of an unaligned political watcher, the rise and fall of Fred Thompson has been interesting to observe. From the point of view of a strong Romney supporter, it has been a dizzying wave of polls, speculation, and news stories – finally culminating in what seems to be a labeling of Thompson as an irrelevant also-ran.
I know too much about politics to declare Fred as dead on arrival, but for the man who once led national polling, and had commanding leads in several southern states, the facts are startling. Not only is Fred barely keeping his #2 spot in national polling, but his support in early states has dropped so far that he is not even listed by name in the latest Boston Globe poll of New Hampshire voters. In South Carolina – once considered a stronghold for the Thompson Campaign, and an important early state, Thompson now leads by less than 2% over Mitt Romney.
So, why has Thompson’s support collapsed? I believe there are two reasons. Firstly, Thompson does not seem to have the energy or dedication to win the primary, much less the Presidency. Even throughout the pre-season, Thompson never really seemed more than half dedicated to running, leading many to speculate that he was being dragged into the race by supporters, and, possibly, his wife. Secondly, Thompson’s supporters (who were responsible for much of the pre-announcement buzz surrounding Fred), severely exaggerated their candidate. Rarely, are the terms “never” and “always” – or similar – used correctly. So, when Fred Thompson supporters began selling their guy as a man who had “never” done anything counter to Conservative principles, and the guy who had “everything” to be President, they were bound to be proven wrong. Thompson’s supporters probably doomed themselves by proclaiming Thompson to be “our only hope” and a “Republican Messiah”, they only left one way for him to go once he entered – down.
The Thompson candidacy has almsot been like a shopping trip for the American voter: They listened to the over-hyped promotion, bought the product, took it home, found it wasn’t what it was made out to be, and took it back for a refund.