May 30, 2007

Ol' Fred Dips His King-Sized Big Toe In The Water

From MSNBC's "First Thoughts", this morning:

Fred Thompson makes it (more) official. According to a campaign source, Thompson will file his FEC papers officially on Monday June 4. In FEC parlance, Thompson is opening a "testing the waters" committee, a technical term that allows Thompson to forgo filing a detailed report on June 30 -- though once he's an official candidate, he'll have to file retroactively. The June 4 filing will be coordinated with a first-day fundraising blitz with 100-plus "First Day Founders" raising a significant one day sum in order to send a we're-in-the-first-tier message. The campaign tells us the "first day" blitz totals they report will be "cash" actually raised, not pledges. The source didn't dispute the notion that the one-day goal would be north of seven figures.
And it's probably not a coincidence that the third GOP debate is scheduled for June 5th. Contrast the excitement of Ol' Fred's first fundraising day compared to another opportunity for Republican voters to reflect on the fact that none of the current candidates really lights them up. Sen. Thompson is playing this deftly. MSNBC compares the pluses and minuses:
His Advantages: If there was ever a time for GOP candidate to come out of nowhere and compete for the nomination, it's now. According to the most recent NBC/WSJ poll, just 53% of Republicans are satisfied with their presidential choices (compared with 78% of Democrats who say they are). In addition, as Business Week reported, there is plenty of uncommitted GOP Ranger/Pioneer money out there for Thompson to gobble up (many of whom were on a conference call yesterday with Thompson). And what's not to like about a plainspoken Southerner who happens to be famous and who hasn't had ties to Washington or the Iraq war since he left Congress in 2002?

His Disadvantages: But how does he make up on lost time in building the same kind of infrastructure that McCain and Romney have built in the early primary states? (Frist and Allen staffer refugees can account for some of the staff deficit but not all.) On the issues, how is he any different than the front-runners? (A recent Washington Post story said his record was virtually identical to McCain's.) And is he attracting GOPers' attention because who he isn't -- rather than who he is? What, in short, makes him any different than Wes Clark was in 2003-4, sans the military medals?

OK, think about that last question a minute and make sure you're not drinking your morning cofee: "What, in short, makes him any different than Wes Clark was in 2003-4, sans the military medals?".

Answer: Because Ol' Fred can melt Wes Clark's military medals with his gaze.

Seriously, though. Wes Clark may have earned the rank of General, but he was never more than a military bureaucrat. Fred Dalton Thompson is a leader.

Rumor has it, Ol' Fred's "declaration day" will be...wait for it...July 4th.

draft fred thompson logo.jpg
Ol' Fred For President. Because he has undigested pieces of guys like Wes Clark in his stool.

Jim Geraghty says no regarding July 4th, but AllahPundit points out that the WaPo is stating it's likely with several independent sources verifying.

Another interesting factor in the timing is that for almost a whole month of the 2nd quarter money will be going to Thompson. Some of it will be currently "uncommitted" money but a good portion of it will be what is siphoned away from the "Big Three" (Guiliani, McCain, Romney). When the financial disclosures come out in July, we will see one (or more) underperforming. In any case, this test of the waters will also be a test of the money hunt.

Posted by Gary at May 30, 2007 09:46 AM | TrackBack

That's going on a bumpersticker.

Posted by: Steve the LLamabutcher at May 30, 2007 11:43 AM


Posted by: JB in Florida at May 30, 2007 04:26 PM