Fred Thompson’s Appeal
Robert McHenry argues that Fred Thompson has so many people clamoring for him to join an already-crowded field precisely because he seems not all that excited by the prospect of running for president. Steve Bainbridge agrees and observes that, “The idea of a guy with a life, who once said that ‘After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood,’ and seemed to actually mean it, makes an attractive change from the rest of the crowd.”
There’s a lot to that, of course. Also, Thompson combines the freshness of Barack Obama, in the sense of being largely unknown on the national stage, and the “straight shooter” quality John McCain seemed to have in 2000. People long for those things. As a campaign gets further along, however, candidates are forced to get more specific and to therefore alienate some people. Everybody likes a guy who “tells it like it is,” so long as they agree with them; otherwise, they’re just blowhards.
I would also note that it wasn’t all that long ago that we had a rising star politician with a macho swagger who was not a lifetime politician and who seemed content enough with his life that losing an election wouldn’t have bothered him all that much. In fact, we elected him president six and a half years ago.