When William F. Buckley was running on a lark for mayor of New York City in 1965 on the Conservative Party ticket, he was asked what he would do if he won the election. "Demand a recount!" he famously replied. Fred Thompson has taken a page from Buckley's old playbook; but unlike Buckley, who could afford to be flippant because he had no chance of winning and probably improved his showing with his candor, Fred Thompson did not do himself a favor and certainly did not amuse his fanatical followers when he admitted that he was unelectable. That he did so on camera and before an audience only made matters worse.
Thompson was waiting to be interviewed on the air by FOX News, which should have been an easy venue: these MSM folks, at least, wanted to make him look good but Thompson would not collaborate. It had taken longer than expected for the interview to get underway and reporter Carl Cameron quibbed to his producers: "The next president of the United States has a schedule to keep." Without missing a beat, Thompson interjected: "And so do I." Apparently, Fred Thompson must have thought that he was still on Saturday Night Live. His "people" cringed in disbelief and forced themselves to smile for the cameras, which is a trick they have learned to perfection. The host chided Thompson, "You can't do that kind of stuff!"
Thompson's followers always believed that their man actually had a chance even if Thompson himself never seemed particularly energized for the race. If he didn't get the nomination, Thompson at least had a good chance of being asked to share the ticket with Guiliani as a sop to conservative Republicans. Now, however, his chances of being on the Republican ticket, in any capacity, have plummetted from slim chance to fat chance.
For my part, it was the first time that I ever found Thompson likable or that he reminded of Ronald Reagan. Indeed, in some ways it seemed a re-play of Reagan's faux pas, when, during a rehearsal for a speech, the Gipper, unscripted, gave mock orders to nuke the Soviet Union which went over a live feed. What a holiday the MSM had at the old cold war warrior's expense! The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists even set the "Doomsday Clock" to 3 minutes before midnight because of Reagan's remark, which supposedly revealed his heart's "black secret." In a few years, of course, the Soviet Union would be no more and the nuclear clock would be put in mothballs even if the nukes themselves were not.
This political gaffe is not going to end Thompson's candidacy or even create a national sensation, because, let's face it, the gravitas level in this election campaign is not exactly set on high. He'll continue to prod his way on the road to Also-Ran, which is not a town in Mongolia, though it might as well be.
Personally, I don't mind that Fred Thompson is Reagan-Lite. What worries me is that he is also Tancredo-Lite and Newt Gingrich-Lite. If he were elected president, it would be greatest calamity that could befall Hispanics short of Tancredo or Gingrich themselves being elected. Thankfully, those "shining lights" are pretty much extinguished and Thompson's own bulb is flickering.
I guess that with Newt Gingrich out of the race and Fred Thompson hoisted on his own petard, Henry Gómez and the other Babalunians will have no choice but to support Tom Tancredo.
The "Doomsday Clock" is still ticking, after all. In fact, on January 17, 2007, the Board of Directors of the University of Chicago even moved the clock forward two minutes to just 5 minutes before midnight. This change had nothing to do with the nuclear threat, however. For the first time since it was created in 1947, the clock was advanced because "the dangers posed by climate change are nearly as dire as those posed by nuclear weapons." Yes, now the world is threatened by so-called global warming, not thermonuclear warming. I think we can all breath a sigh of relief, even it that's not what these nuclear "Seventh-Day Adventists" intended.
Henry Explains Fred Thompson to Us
Fred Thompson: Cuban "Immigrants" Are Suitcase Bombers