Carpetbagger has another post which strongly suggests that Fred Thompson has no business running for President. As one commenter there suggested, it's likely that he got roped into this by his younger, Republican wife. I wouldn't doubt that Fred's already looking for some opportunity to bail-out gracefully. It must be embarrassing to publicly throw your hat into the ring and then just pull it out a few weeks later.
But it's not just Thompson. None of the top GOP contenders have any good reason for running. They have no policy expertise. They've had to renounce large parts of their prior political statements and activities. And overall, they have no real mandate from the general public or even the Republican Base.
But that's the thing, there are Republican presidential candidates who have these things; unfortunately, they're all considered flakes because they have a history of being outright conservative. That was the secret of George Bush, who could only get the presidency because he had no established political record outside of his presidential bid and had the right name and friends. And that's just not going to happen again.
And so the only candidates who are considered electable are phonies like Giuliani, Romney, and Thompson, who are basing their candidacies solely on their ability to act like macho toughguys. And it’s funny to see how all three have been marketed. It’s like a veritable Baskin-Robbins of variety: Three flavors of phoniness, representing all three parts of the Republican coalition. Giuliani is your neo-con Hillary-hater. Romney is your upstanding Republican Alpha-Male. And Thompson is your Southern Conservative Good ol’ Boy with the Heart of Steel.
Bush represented all three of these ideals, but it's obvious that the GOP's next nominee for Phony-in-Chief will only be one. This isn't just a battle of men. This will help determine which version of phony masculinity the Republicans really prefer. My money is still with the Republican Alpha-Male.
And then there's McCain, who is both electable and has a reason to run, but the base still doesn't like him and all his attempts to change that keep burning him with the moderates, who were always his real source of support. His big mistake seems to be that he failed to realize that it's no longer 2000 or even 2004. He really needed to position himself as a Bush alternative, not a Bush substitute. And he screwed that up.
I guarantee you that at this point, even conservatives don't really like Bush anymore. They just won't admit to that because they still consider their fate to be tied to his. But if they could secretly replace him without anyone noticing, I'm sure they would. So running as Bush II just wasn't a smart move.
As I've said before, I think McCain's biggest mistake was being suckered by Bush's operatives. He did what they said, thinking it would help him become president; when in fact, he was just being used to help Bush, while only burning through his own credibility. Somehow, Republicans still haven't realized that Bush only looks out for Bush and the only reason they need you is because no one associated with the guy has any credibility left.
So they're always glad to "borrow" your credibility. Unfortunately, it's akin to someone borrowing a cigarette from you. You're probably not going to want it back.
Looking at the "electable" GOP candidates, I just don't understand why they keep pussy-footing around and won't just start recruiting professional wrestlers to run for president. These guys are experts at projecting toughness and are the epitome of machoness. It worked for Jesse "The Body" Ventura.
And hell, the Republican Machine is likely to want that more too. All they want is an empty suit who knows how to say his lines and make the right moves. And professional wrestlers are great at that. They're unlikely to want Ventura, as he clearly relished in being a free-thinker; which helped doom his political career. But I'm sure there are many other wrestlers who would be happy to be given a better part to play.
I'm sure the only thing stopping this is that the Republican Machine would worry that people wouldn't take them seriously if they ran with wrestlers as their candidates. People would expect their debates to have Cage Matches and whatnot. But there really is no need to worry. They've already been forced into running with laughable candidates. At least then they could have candidates who were actually tough and gained fame by their own right, rather than the purely manufactured phonies we're seeing now. And honestly, wouldn't you be more likely to watch a GOP debate if it included a few body slams?