Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thompson Talks Tough

Fred Thompson came to the Fox Debate last Thursday with both guns blazing, firing off against the other GOP candidates, in the hope of retaking the culturally conservative base of voters who have shifted their support for Mike Huckabee. In his best performance yet, the second actor to vie for the highest post of the United States and the world's only superpower blasted his rivals with sharp jabs and witty one-liners they were obviously unprepared for; securing for himself a second look and careful evaluation as a potential party nominee. He also managed to remove attention from the last two primaries wherein he came out weak, and to project himself as a viable prospect for the South Carolina and Michigan primaries.

Thompson, who has anchored his campaign on a strong showing in South Carolina, attacked Mike Huckabee's liberal positions, McCain's soft immigration stand, and Giuliani's tax proposals which he said were his and has the senate records to uphold his claim. He effectively redirected the focus of the primaries as about the "heart and soul of the Republican Party" which he is concerned with, and not the individual needs, credentials, nor beliefs of his GOP rivals. This was good rhetoric and smart positioning. He also insinuated that he is the heir apparent to the "Reagan Revolution" and he follows the model of the "Reagan Coalition". He dismissed his GOP rivals' positions as the "models of the Democratic Party".

Fred's laid back style and laconic method of answering queries has relegated him in the background behind the more charismatic front runners, and has rendered his campaign weak. His staffers say that his statements during the debate were consistent with what he'd been saying all along, but were not given prominent media mileage. The one line laconic jabs worked well this time aided by full media exposure. It provided the liveliest moments in the program which viewers will surely recall, especially his comment about the Iranian speedboats that harassed the US Navy ship"one more step and they would have been introduced to those virgins they're looking forward to seeing".

Thompson's 6'4 frame, deep baritone voice and angular face, despite a painful constipated expression on his face, can intimidate any opponent in a one-on-one face off. However, his acting skills fail to match that of Ronald Reagan who was gifted and referred to as the Great Communicator. His showing last Thursday could provide the means to reconnect with the conservatives who have yet to coalesce with any of the front runners. While being viewed as a Center-Right conservative, Thompson is the closest candidate who can represent the legacy of Reagan, who was a true conservative that this segment of voters remember.

The question is will Americans want a return to the Reagan years? If Hillary represents the past decade, Reagan is more than 2 decades ago! If Fred refers to a Reagan Revolution, such as increased military spending, tax cuts for the upper 2% of households, budget deficits; would this appeal to the general voting population? With difficulties suffered from the mortgage crisis and the increase in pump prices of gas, would mainstream Americans support tax breaks for those 2% whom they may perceive as the ones that caused their hardships? Since the noise created by the liberals regarding the Iraq war being a replacement of the cold war - a pretext to intervene in other countries to further crony interests - can this be acceptable as continuing foreign policy of an incoming President?

South Carolina may provide an answer, and Fred hopes it is in his favor. After that caucus, the grand performance of Fred's firing from the hip at all angles and hitting his rivals forcefully will tell if he hit the conservative target convincingly; or if he was actually firing blanks.



rk said...

Good analysis! I think Fred was firing blanks. Huckabee's campaign claims that Fred was simply doing the dirty work for his good friend, McCain.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

HI RKR, I knew that he is a close friend to John McCain, but you suggest he is spoiler for the candidacy of Mike Huckabee? Hmmmmm very interesting...I'll look more into it. --Durano, done!