The questioners are beginning to question the electablity of President-Elect Fred Thompson. The MSM is asking whether he is up to the job, questioning whether he has the experience, and so on. Rudy is running again as Mayor of New York instead of as President of the United States. He is consequently losing his front runner status by default. It is a commentary on American politics that Senator McCain looks more presidential and better than any of the men or women who actually have a chance to become president with the announced field. Except, of course, no one looks or acts more presidential than Fred Thompson.
The polls are showing some curious things. People like Rudy (I like Rudy), but out of the ten Republicans who have or who may enter the presidential race, only three have a net favorability rating (i.e. more people like them than dislike them.) Which three? Giuliani, McCain and Thompson. But that is very deceiving. Many of those who like Giuliani or McCain would probably not vote for them in the general election against Hillary or Edwards or Obama. These are Left-leaning voters who would like Giuliani or McCain to be the Republican nominee, but who do want any Republican to win.
Those who like Thompson, by contrast, want a conservative Republican in the White House. This shows up in the polls which also show only two Republicans right now who are beating Hillary are Giuliani and Thompson. The more disillusioned conservatives get with Giuliani, the poorer his showing against Hillary will be. Conservatives are already wildly enthusiastic about Thompson, and that will grow as he enters the campaign and begins to articulate a vision for America and for the world.
Fred Thompson, away from Washington for six years, can – and will – say that the American people are right: our war in Iraq and our war on terror are a mess. That was the single successful message of Democrats. But Thompson, unlike Hillary or Obama, can say that Democrats have been part of the problem. He can point out that while going into Iraq may have been a mistake, the trip of House Speakeress Nancy Pelosi visiting the Terrorist-in-Chief of Syria or recommending that we negotiate with Holocaust-denying Iran is also a mistake. In other words, Fred Thomspon, uniquely, can say that he has a truly new approach that can work. Will he be able to articulate that message well? He can communicate with voters much better than any of the candidates of either party.
Fred Thompson, with a lock on the conservative vote, will almost certain gain endorsements by the handful of remaining sane Democrats. It would hardly be surprising, for example, if a decent man who served with Thompson in the Senate, like Joe Lieberman, actually endorsed Thompson for President. It would hardly be a surprise if that senator from Georgia who also served with Thompson, Zell Miller, endorsed Thompson. Ed Koch would be another Democrat who could easily endorse Thomspon. The bigger the “Democrats for Thompson” group grew, the more he would be seen as mainstream while still gathering all the conservative vote.
What is true of Democrats would be even more true of Republicans. Lincoln Chafee, a decent RINO for whom Thompson campaigned, could say to America: “Look, I disagreed with lots of things my party did in Washington. But Fred Thompson is not Washington. He is America.” Senator McCain, a longtime friend and ally, would almost certainly add his supports if Thompson wins a clean, fair fight (which is the only kind he would wage.) Add to that the fact that three very popular Tennessee Republicans, former Senate Majority Leaders Baker and Frist, as well as Senator Lamar Alexander, all moderately conservative are all big fans of Thompson. Republicans would be unified in a way not seen since 1984.
Everyone who has studied the Thompson candidacy at this point knows all about his ability to appeal to liberal women (because of Law & Order), to senior citizens who often vote Democrat (because he was the replacement for Paul Harvey), and to younger apathetic and Left-leaning voters (because he is a film star in so many action films.) But Thompson might also get supporters from that part of America least sympathetic to conservatives: Hollywood. Like who? How about Bruce Willis, Ben Stein, Paul Sorvino, Joe Pesci, and Kelsey Grammar? Thompson is liked enough in Hollywood that he is the only Republican who could draw the public support of actors and entertainers without these people facing ostracism.
The combination of all these factors – enthusiastic support of all conservatives, a serious “Democrats for Thompson” movement led by serious Democrats, a totally unified Republican Party, the open ear of many Americans who would otherwise ignore the Republican nominee, and the public support of many celebrities will translate into votes, lots and lots of votes.
Some bloggers and pundits are worrying about which particular states Thompson would carry. This sort of electoral coin counting is the natural result of two consecutive presidential elections in which carrying Florida or carrying Ohio was critical. But it is also short-sighted political thinking. Men who win a clear majority of the popular vote always win the electoral college easily. Except when a third party drains of votes, there are no exceptions to this rule in American history.
Put another way, if Fred Thompson gets fifty-four percent of the popular vote, he will carry Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, Maine and Oregon no matter what. He will carry every state that President Bush carried except, perhaps, Ohio. He may well carry New Jersey, Connecticut, Minnesota and Washington as well. The very fact that polls shows him as the clear favorite of Americans will, itself, influence voters in swing states to vote for him. Is Thompson electable? He is a shoo-in.
Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a regular contributor to WebCommentary, Conservative Truth, American Daily, Enter Stage Right, Intellectual Conservative, NewsByUs and MenÕs News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.