Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Idle threat of the week

Last week former Tennessee Senator, fictional New York District Attorney and shadow presidential candidate Fred Thompson took some time out of a busy schedule of eating three meals a day and sometimes hitting the treadmill to get his spokesmen to announce that this week Thompson would finally be officially throwing his hat in the primary ring.

The smart money had been on Thompson declaring his long awaited candidacy from his bed, but we now get word he will do so from the couch of Jay Leno's late night talk show. Needless to say, Jay has offered Thompson the first segment and a fast plane back to Memphis-I mean McLean, Virginia.

Despite so far running a non-campaign with all the turmoil and missed financial expectations of a real campaign (but with little of the style-crimping hustling about the country), Thompson has remained strong in the polls, and sits second in many national counts of Republican support.

This can be attributed to GOP voter's apprehension concerning the conservative bona fides of the current declared front runners, and that Fred Thompson, like the sainted Ronald Reagan, happens to be an actor/politician.

Rationale that will surely wear thin when conservative voters find Thompson's moderate right wing political philosophy is strikingly similar to that of the other favorites.

As for the actor thing . . . Ronald Reagan was a leading man selected by Hollywood's bottom line oriented studio system because he projected himself as an all-American winner. While Reagan was never thought to be a particularly great actor who made particularly good films (although 1938's Girls on Probation did lead to the much racier classic Girls in Prison) he did have a fifteen year career of consistent above-the-title work. On the other hand Fred Thompson, who is well respected as a character actor, got into the business because casting directors recognized Thompson's ability to channel onto the screen his real life experiences as a good-old-boy political fixer and insider.

A far cry from Reagan, who built his national political image on being the ultimate Washington outsider.

You never want to bet against a man who has overcome a sedentary lifestyle to make a name for himself in not one but two hyper-competitive fields, but we have to award Fred Thompson's presidential bid the Idle Threat of the Week for August 27th to September 2nd because, given all the poll-boosting attention it has received, it is just so ridiculous.

And since Thompson has stretched his announcement -- which is the only thing his non-campaign has been about so far -- over a two week period, we reserve the right to do so again next week.

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