Thursday, September 06, 2007

Will this be a rallying point?...

I think it is fair to say "finally" - Fred Thompson announced his canidacy for the Presidency today. See his website here and see the announcement here:

Click to play

Will this finally be the rallying point for the Republican party. It is such a strange campaign on the Right this cycle, because there seem to be no candidates anyone is excited about. Everyone appears to be holding their nose and picking a candidate. Maybe Thompson will change that perception.

I thought this announcement video was terrific. He his the key issues - both national issues as well as Republican or traditional conservative issues. He - his very presence - carries a weight, gravity, and seriousness of a President. Something that the Republican field (outside Giuliani) is missing, and something the nation has missed for the past six years.

BUT, - there is always a but - so much of the Presidential campaign in the first two states of Iowa and New Hampshire is about organization. Being on the ground, signing up volunteers on the ground, getting out the vote, etc. Can Thompson do that? Does he have time? Are all the key experienced precinct leaders taken already? Those are critical questions.

I remember the last cycle so well. Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont had come out of nowhere running a grassroots national campaign and surprised the Democratic party base by taking big leads in the polls. But (again that but) the grassroots, netroots, national support did not translate into precinct by precinct organization in two tiny, fairly unrepresentative states - and his campaign was finished almost before it began.

The success or failure of Fred Thompson as a candidate will depend in large part - if not in entirety - upon his ability to organize support in these two tiny states. And that success or failure may call into greater question the wisdom of putting so much of our nation's decision on whom our Presidential candidates will be upon Iowa and New Hampshire - states that are not as urban as America, not as diverse as America, and simply not fully representative of us as a people. Yes, it may be traditional - but is it best?

It will be fascinating to watch the Thompson campaing get off the ground in the next couple of months - and to see how the Republican contenders react to it. One thing is certainly true, for the first time in months and months attention is back on the Republican side of the race instead of on the exciting Democratic candidates. Let's see if Thompson can keep the focus there over the long haul.

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