ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Thompson Surge

Could it be that Thompson's YouTube video (and my prominent endorsement) is having the desired effect in Iowa?

I suppose that we'll know tomorrow night! From The Corner:

Late-Breaking Surge for Thompson [Peter Robinson]

The latest news from Iowa? According to Zogby’s latest—and I quote: “Sen. Fred Thompson…has seen a late-breaking surge.” (Rich notes the same poll below.)

What’s going on here? My guess is that there are whole lot of Iowa Republicans who have about the same attitude that David Limbaugh displayed in his column yesterday:
Fred is the only [candidate] I don't have major reservations about….I find his lack of "fire in the belly" refreshing. He strikes me as one of the few presidential candidates since Ronald Reagan whose primary motivation is not personal aggrandizement but rather serving and leading the nation in very troubled and dangerous times. I see him as almost being drafted into this project, and his refusal to drool publicly over the prospect of becoming the most powerful man in the world is positively delightful.

That said, he needs to make a more convincing case to the voters, which will require a greater display of enthusiasm that he views these as both perilous and promising times and that he is the best man, overall, to navigate the ship of state through these times.

So, Fred, please, as distasteful as it may be to you, it's time to step up and prove you want it.
Iowa Republicans, in other words, have wanted Thompson to do them the courtesy of actually campaigning—and now they’re beginning to realize that he has. First Thompsons conducted a two-week bus tour of Iowa at which he campaigned in more than 50 towns and cities. Then he taped a 17-minute video in which he makes his case more calmly, deliberately, and in with greater respect for the issues than has any of his opponents. And? For a lot of Iowa Republicans, that’s all they needed.

The Thompson campaign may be shaping up as something like the precise reverse of the Clinton campaign. Presenting herself as the candidate of inevitability, if Hillary starts to slip in the polls she could suffer a total collapse. Fred is the candidate who can’t get elected—solid, likeable, and better on the issues than anybody else, but, well, a man for whom it just isn’t going to happen. But as modest as it so far remains, his sudden rise in the polls—this “late-breaking surge,” to quote Zogby again—could persuade whole slews of Republicans that Fred might just pull it off after all—and lead to a breakout.

From an unexpectedly strong third place in Iowa…to first place in South Carolina?

(If you have yet to see this message to the people of Iowa, by the way, take a look. YouTube is reporting more than 135,000 hits.)
When you combine this with Rush's jabs at Huckabee for not being a conservative, you have to wonder if some of Huck's supporters are not taking a second look at Thompson and liking what they see. From the Politico:
Rush: Huck 'not a conservative'

Rush Limbaugh devoted a large portion of his first show since the holidays to criticizing Mike Huckabee's candidacy and offering a disapproving bottom-line assessment of the former governor.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Gov. Huckabee, mighty fine man and is a great Christian, is not a conservative, he’s just not," Limbaugh said. "If you look at his record as governor, he’s got some conservative tendencies on things but he’s certainly not the most conservative of the candidates running on the Republican side."

Limbaugh's comments come after a long-distance back-and-forth between the candidate and influential talk show host before Christmas.

Despite his criticism, Limbaugh said he didn't want to use the entire program to bash Huckabee.

"I’m going to keep some of the powder dry here because I don’t want to be accused of piling on," Limbaugh said, "but if people are going to ask me questions I’m not going to shirk from them and try to hem-haw around."

Indeed, callers were interested in discussing Huckabee, and the talker spent most of the first half of his program discussing his candidacy in the context of the GOP race.

While calling Huckabee's now-famous Des Moines presser Monday "Clintonesque," Limabugh said he would not "join the chorus" of those saying it would damage the Republican's chances.

"It’s quite possible people will see Huckabee's press conference as an attempt to be honorable, that the drive-bys [in the mainstream media] have now sabotaged him on," Limbaugh observed.

"And they can easily conclude, 'Look, he didn’t air the ad, you guys did.' The people that are looking at Huckabee in a supportive way are not analyzing Huckabee, this is what you have to understand. They are not picking apart his policy, they’re accepting him for what he is based on his identity politics. So I don’t think they’re going to take it to the nth degree the way the drive-by pundits are."

Limbaugh, who has previously offered warm words for Fred Thompson, appeared to be dissatisfied with at least three of the top GOP candidates.
[...]
If you'll recall, Rush was assured in 2000 that George W. was a conservative, despite all of the "compassionate" stuff... and Rush didn't like the fact that W. was putting a modifier in front of conservative (giving credence to the MSM/Liberal frame that being a conservative and a friend of free markets meant that you're not compassionate).

Huckabee's positions on many issues are the worst aspects of W's presidency - namely that the government is "here to help." Whether Huck's populism is purely a political ploy or actual principle is for the voters to decide. In the end, I could support Huck against any Democrat foe, given that he's closer to relying on the free market than any of the socialists that the other party is putting forward. However, Huck's nanny state tendencies would be one reason why my support would be half-hearted.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler