( – promoted by Patrick)
The Economist takes a few swipes at Fred. (I have also been hearing some things which jive with this.)
But Mr Thompson’s chances depend on the weakness of the field rather than any outstanding qualities of his own. The comparison with Reagan is instructive. Reagan was a conservative ideologue who spent decades working for “the movement”, acting as Barry Goldwater’s champion and running for the Republican nomination on a conservative ticket in both 1976 and 1980. Mr Thompson was a pragmatic senator-a centrist by the standards of the Tennessee Republican Party-who voted for Mr McCain’s campaign-finance reform. His enthusiasm for the pure milk of conservative dogma is a recent development. Reagan distilled his conservative philosophy into a stump speech that had Republican donors instantly opening their wallets. So far Mr Thompson’s speeches have been a succession of conservative clichés interspersed with long pauses.