Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fred Thompson Tucks His Tail

Pardon the inflammatory title. Sometimes in the quest for alliteration sacrifices must be made.

Fred Thompson bowed out of the race for the GOP nomination today.

From The AP:

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson quit the Republican presidential race on Tuesday, after a string of poor finishes in early primary and caucus states.

"Today, I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort," Thompson said in a statement.

Thompson's fate was sealed last Saturday in the South Carolina primary, when he finished third in a state that he had said he needed to win.

In the statement, Thompson did not say whether he would endorse any of his former rivals. He was one of a handful of members of Congress who supported Arizona Sen. John McCain in 2000 in his unsuccessful race against George W. Bush for the party nomination.

Additionally the unofficial word is that Thompson is not planning on endorsing anyone. Fox News' Carl Cameron believes that he is not doing so in order potentially secure a VP slot. I have to admit that a Romney/Thompson ticket would definitely help Romney once Huckabee drops out after Tsunami Tuesday. However Thompson's decision to exit prior to Florida puts John McCain in a real bind as Thompson's supporters are much more likely to back Romney than him. Additionally this will be the first time McCain has faced Giuliani in a state that Rudy has been actively campaigning in. Since they will both be competing for similar voters Thompson bowing out seriously works in Romney's favor.

Personally I never saw Thompson's appeal. A long time political insider, lawyer, and former lobbyist seemed to me like the last thing we needed for president. While I could agree with half of his positions on the issues he wasn't really bringing anything new to the table. He is an old school conservative who appeals to core GOP supporters. I never saw him as anything but a promogulater of policies past at best or a candidate that people projected their own positions on (ala Wesley Clark) at worst. Ultimately his absence's effect may prove to be more interesting than his campaign.