Fred Thompson’s candidacy is no more.
The world stumbles at the shock of the news.
There are lots of ways to explain the failure of his candidacy. The most obvious one is to say he seemed to want the office less and less the more he ran. With the exception of a few snappy minutes when he went after Mike Huckabee in the last South Carolina debate, Fred (and I’m not calling him Fred for sexist reasons – he told people to call him Fred) seemed tired and bored… just like the Reagan coalition he was to reassemble.
Reassembling the Reagan coalition has become the sniipe hunting of the Republican party. The great stories of Reagan’s wooing of blue- collar Democrats are told. The old Reagan coalition organizations tell of their once heroic feats in defeating Carter and Mondale. But the reality is that coalition has been on the shelf for a very long time. One need look no further than Fred Thompson for the latest proof of its dustiness.
Thompson was to be the new Reagan – tall and sporadically employed by Hollywood. He was a strong conservative with a folksy way. He was conservative – really conservative – a tax cutting, welfare slashing, foreign aid reducing, military increasing, terrorist fighting, no nonsense fiscal conservative. He was the one who would bring it all together.
Not so much.
The Republcian party is in search of a new mission, in need of a new coalition. Fred Thompson was uniquely ill suited to leading that kind of party because his only goal was to recreate the Republican party circa 1980.