Friday, October 19, 2007

Not Exactly What I Would Call Rabid Support

The Ol' Broad caught a glimpse of Fred Thompson at the Value Voters Summit:

I just watched Fred Thompson’s speech at the Value Voters shindig. I have to say, he’s not the most inspiring speaker, but if he is sincere about what he says, and I think he is, then he definitely would be the best choice. We don’t need a charismatic speaker in the White House, we need a ‘git ‘r done’ guy.

Eeeeee ...

I just saw the speech too, and the Ol' Broad is being a bit generous in her assessment. Thompson is a surprisingly weak speaker -- way too many "uhs" and throat clearings. His speech wasn't so much a cohesive argument for his candidacy as it was a laundry list of his conservative bona fides and it plodded along just like PowerPoint presentation. There was no presentation of big ideas, no outlining of encompassing themes of his campaign. It was very much about Fred Thompson's track record and not about his vision for the future: the set-up to the biggest applause line of he speech was when he admitted he had basically no clue what he was going to do during the first 100 days of his administration (but he knew he was going to pray upon immediately entering the Oval Office).

The sincerity issue is also on display when Thompson speaks. His eye contact with the audience and/or cameras is minimal. He spends way too much time looking at his notes and that comes off appearing like he needs to be reminded of his lines (a background as an actor can cut both ways). He's not only having a hard time connecting with an audience verbally, but also visually. He should know his own background like the back of his hand, he shouldn't need a script. I don't necessarily bring this up to doubt his sincerity in a wholesale manner, but it should make folks think twice about the depths of his convictions on these issues.

All of these things bring up the issue of preparation. This crowd is import and Thompson has had some free time this week. He should have nailed this, but didn't. In fact, that's been the verdict of most of his speeches. This will catch up with him sooner or later and he'll start to hear people saying he's too lazy to prep adequately for his public events. When that happens he won't appear to be able to "git 'r done" at all.

MORE: Michael Crowley at TNR notices the throat clearing: "I just listened via radio to his remarks at the Values Voters conference, and a defining thing about his remarks--apart from such typical pandering as a vow that his first act as president will be to close the Oval Office door and pray for wisdom--was his nonstop coughing and throat-clearing."

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