Fred D. Thompson has a lot of politicos nervous. The non-candidate is NOT going away. He is the looming specter over the GOP’s field of presidential candidates and an even bigger cloud over the Democrats field.
It is an open secret that GOP contributors are holding their dollars, not contributing to the announced field of candidates. What is NOT a secret is the fact that the base of the GOP is not happy, not happy at all; with the field of candidates the GOP is offering us. The one candidate, still unannounced, who can get the juices flowing, is Fred Thompson. The GOP is NOT happy with their base’s choice of candidates. And they are worried, deeply worried, because the conservative base they tend to discount so quickly, can turn the tables on the entire party in a matter of hours. Remember the defeat of the Amnesty Bill in the US Senate? That was a grass roots movement of the conservative base. It brought that bill down in flames.
The other worry knowing at the edges of the GOP’s consciousness is that Fred Thompson is not likely to be their USUAL GOP candidate. He has a mind of his own and is not likely to tread the party line just to please anyone.
If there were any doubt that Thompson’s entry into the race would stir things up, one need only to read David Broder’s recent column, “Fred Thompson’s Gamble”. You’ll find it here:
So, the “country club, blue blood, Republicans” have a real problem on their hands. Two problems, actually. One is the problem with their base… the conservatives, who are ready to mutiny… and the other is Fred Thompson who has been chosen, by those same conservatives, as their leader within the GOP.
Perhaps the biggest problem of all, for the GOP, is the fact that they have reached a point in the party’s evolution at which they must change. To remain static is to go the way of the Whigs. In other words, cease to exist. Without the conservative base, the GOP is a “has been” party. If the conservative base does not bolt and form it’s own conservative party, then it is demanding that it become the driving, and ruling, force within the Republican Party. This is terrifying to the moderates and liberals within the GOP.
Once Thompson announces the dynamics of the ‘08 election will change. Current GOP candidate numbers will begin shifting to Thompson. The money will re-appear. In the democrat’s camp, Mrs. Clinton will begin the search for a southern male as a running mate for the office of Vice-president. No Democrat has won the office of President without a southern male on the ticket since the mid 1940’s.
In the end, it may turn out that all the finagling with moving primaries up as early as possible may backfire on the democrats. Conservatives have been quietly sitting out all the hoopla and fanfare… just waiting. Soon now, the waiting will end.