Yes, I have been supporting Fred Thompson for President since January. Many of you have been giving me a hard time, wondering, “Why are you supporting a guy who won’t formally announce?” Many of you have bought into the other candidates’ propaganda about Fred lacking the “fire in the belly.” Well, tonight my candidate will appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and tomorrow he will formally announce via a webcast on the www.imwithfred.com website. And he has been running first or second in the national polls for weeks. And to those of you who didn’t believe that Fred would run, all I can say is: I told you so!
Let’s hope that Senator Fred Thompson’s official announcement will breathe some life into the moribund GOP. The Iowa Straw Poll has come and gone, and despite hard campaigning from some impressive candidates, the turnout was bleak. Attendance was approximately 14,000, down from 24,000 in 1999. One Iowan who did not attend the straw poll was quoted as saying, “The guy who spent the most money won. That isn’t right.” Indeed, Mitt Romney is rumored to have spent anywhere from $400 to $ 800 per vote. Yet despite the effort made by Romney, Huckabee, etc., most Republicans are sitting it out, not committing to any candidate, and keeping their powder dry. There’s plenty of money left out there for Candidate Thompson.
Here in Texas, we had just 1,300 votes cast in our first ever straw poll. Granted, it was a holiday weekend and the start of dove-hunting season, but that is a dismal turnout by any standard. The number of possible delegates was approximately 28,000.
GOP voters everywhere are suffering from a lack of enthusiasm. For whatever reason, there has been no groundswell of excitement for any one candidate. While Giuliani seems to be leading in some polls, he doesn’t have much support among Republicans in Texas. Romney, seemingly the most aggressive and most organized and well-funded Republican, has yet to break into the top spot. And then there’s Fred.
You have to feel sorry for Rudy and Mitt. Fred Thompson continues to place in the top two in nationwide polling. Since last spring, when the draft Fred movement hit its stride, other campaigns have called Fred lazy and disorganized. Rumors about his wife micromanaging the non-campaign have been circulated. Turnover in staff has been scrutinized. And meanwhile, Fred just continues to smile and mosey his way into the limelight. In the wake of the Iowa Straw Poll, there was just as much discussion about Fred Thompson as there was the winner, Mitt Romney.
Pundits and rival campaigns relentlessly pound on Fred, and yet his numbers remain high. Fredheads are popping up everywhere. Fred is a phenomenon who has defied conventional wisdom and done things his way. And from the looks of things on the eve of his formal announcement, he has been brilliant. Time will tell.
Back in January I could sense the discontent with the slate of candidates, and I was an early encourager in the draft Fred movement. Why? He just doesn’t seem like a typical self-serving politician, and Republicans, including myself, are fed up with politics as usual. We want a genuine conservative American who will do what’s best for our country and who doesn’t live and breathe politics. As Fred says, he hasn’t been planning on running for President since junior high. Thank goodness. And most importantly: Senator Fred Thompson can beat Senator Hillary Clinton!
The other quality that Fred Thompson possesses is his calm and deliberate demeanor. That is the kind of president I want. Other lesser candidates, when exposed to public criticism for dragging their feet or lacking the “fire in the belly,” might have panicked and jumped in the race before they were ready. Not Fred. He has taken his time, ignored the critics, and done things on his timetable. There are still those who continue to say that Fred has missed his window of opportunity and lost his momentum. I don’t believe that for a minute. The other candidates are scratching their heads and wondering how in the world this guy is getting so much attention. For instance, tonight at the Republican debate in New Hampshire, Fred won’t be there, but he will be running campaign ads during the event. Following that he will appear on Jay Leno. And again, my prediction is that he will garner as much or more media attention than those candidates who participate in the debate. Undoubtedly there will be more viewers for The Tonight Show than there will be for the debate.
Tomorrow is the official webcast announcement from the www.imwithfred.com web site. As someone who was hoping for this announcement since last January, I couldn’t be happier. There is no doubt that the attacks against Senator Thompson are going to intensify as he officially enters the national stage. Bring it on. Because Fred is unflappable.