Saturday, September 8, 2007

"Smoking" Fred Thompson

About a month ago I wrote this about Fred Thompson:

That, of course, might change if Fred Thompson becomes the nominee, but I just don't see that happening. Once Thompson gets into the race I have a feeling that the fascination with him will dissipate quickly once voters figure out that he's not as Reaganesque as they would like him to be.

Well, here's Exhibit A.

Anyway, this got me thinking about something Megan McArdle noted yesterday about iPods and shame. The same may turn out to be true of Republican voters. Right now the field's wide open and the candidates are asking for GOP voters to invest a lot of emotional capital into their campaigns, but just about all of them aren't exactly proving themselves to be worthy of it. So what happens when you've spent a year of your life talking up Rudy Giuliani only to see him get creamed in the primaries?

I think there's going to be a lot of GOP voters who will feel enough embarrassment for not backing the eventual candidate that they just won't show up in November. Sure, they'll have possibly as many as 9 months to get over their loss, but I don't know if that's going to be enough time, particularly after the candidates have been savaging each other (which will only get worse the closer the primaries get). Republicans better get good at the art of reconciliation or this Spring could mark the beginning of the unraveling of the coalition.

Each of the candidates seem to be actively courting a particular sect of the Republican faith: Giuliani the neocons, Tancredo the anti-immigration nationalists, Brownback the Evangelicals, etc. Romney seems to be the only one trying not to pigeonhole himself. The GOP has never had to deal with this kind of, uh, diversity and it will be interesting to see how the party reacts to nominating a candidate that may not have a majority of the party's support behind him.

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