Q&A Friday #66: What Are The Possible Negative Ramifications Of Fred Entering The Race?

Question: “With Fred Thompson’s entry into the race, do you think that, especially if Newt enters, there is the potential to split the social conservative vote enough to throw the nomination to someone like Giuliani or Romney?” — RtWingNtCase

Answer: First of all, some people have got the wrong idea when it comes to what I think about Fred.

Fred is actually my 2nd favorite candidate behind Duncan Hunter. I also think he’s more conservative than the big 3 candidates, has some charisma, largely has his finger on the pulse of the conservative movement, and would be electable in the primary and the general election.

That being said, Fred has been built up into a man, a myth, and a legend who’s going to save the Republican Party all by himself, unite both the light and dark sides of the force, and stop liberals from ruining America with the sheer force of his will.

This is where I part company with a lot of conservatives on the net. I like Fred, but I don’t have “Fredmania.”

With that in mind, there are 3 things I worry about when it comes to Fred.

#1) That he hasn’t come under the sort of tough scrutiny the other contenders have yet.

#2) That he’s conservative, but less conservative than most people think.

#3) That he’s too lazy, which is a knock you hear everywhere on him, to campaign properly.

The third one can be a big problem in a campaign because Iowa and New Hampshire are states that demand a heavy level of retail politics in the primaries. Just to give you an example of what I mean, Ronald Reagan lost New Hampshire to Gerald Ford in 1976 because the Gipper’s “strategist” thought it was more important to jet off to Illinois than to spend a couple of days shaking hands in New Hampshire right before the primaries.

My concern with Fred, given what I’ve heard about him, is that he will enter the race, syphon up all the energy and attention from conservatives looking for an alternative to the Big 3, and then try to run his campaign from the internet and TV. That sounds forward thinking, but what could happen, if he’s not careful, is that lack of in state time could doom him in New Hampshire and Iowa, which could allow Rudy or Mitt to slip past him and win those states. If that happened, the momentum the winner would gain along with the front loaded primaries could make it impossible for Fred to win at that point.

As to Newt, I don’t think any candidate, Fred included, could afford to wait until September to get in. By then, it’ll just be too late. Since Newt has said he is waiting that long, I think he doesn’t intend to get in and just wants to stretch out the extra attention his possible candidacy is giving him for as long as possible.

I consult for the Duncan Hunter campaign.

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