Beyond the substantial structural and organizational challenges awaiting likely presidential candidate Fred Thompson, perhaps one of his biggest obstacles is Ronald Reagan – and the fact there is no possible way he will meet the media and activist expectations bar set for him as, quote, “the next Ronald Reagan.”
As some have intimated in recent weeks, especially some of Thompson’s Tennessee friends, Fred isn’t as conservative as some supporters-in-waiting might expect, or hope.
As the AP’s Liz Sidoti points out today, “Conservatives who make up a big part of the GOP base have found fault with Giuliani, McCain and Romney for varying reasons and for months now have been searching for a candidate to embrace. Thompson’s backers bill him as the perfect person — the one truly conservative candidate in the mold of Ronald Reagan who can beat the Democratic nominee in November 2008.
Thus, right off the bat, an enormous challenge Thompson must overcome from the standpoint of reporting and the subsequent developing press narrative is dealing with the Reagan comparison. Easier said than done — especially when the opposition has already started to move info around the horn — off the record thus far — implying Thompson is less than a true conservative.
The other immediate challenge is the rise of Mitt Romney in Iowa and New Hampshire, fueled in large part by being up on the air — alone and in a vacuum on the GOP side — with good looking issue-driven advertising.
The old conventional wisdom is that Romney would be toast upon Thompson’s entry. That simply cannot be said now, and it appears, correctly, that Thompson’s backers understand the need to get into the race more quickly.
One very interesting aspect of Thompson’s effort thus far is the emphasis on the internet, and how he has cleverly appealed to the GOP web roots with q and a sessions with conservative-oriented sites like Pajamas Media — and the appealing smack down of Michael Moore after the two sparred over the producer’s movie “Sicko,” which depicts Sept. 11 survivors seeking medical care in Cuba.
In the online video, Thompson puffed on a cigar as he sat in a leather desk chair and reminded Moore that the Cuban government once put a documentary filmmaker in a mental institution.
Some nice moves so far by Fred, but the GOP primary cakewalk many of his supporters thought would occur is just not in the cards, and the operatives employed by Rudy, McCain and Romney are already working behind the scenes to derail him, and so is the press; banana peels everywhere you look.