Actor and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, the fantasy dream presidential candidate for Republicans not turned on by the 10 clowns already loaded into the GOP car, gave an uninspiring speech before the Lincoln Club in conservative Orange County, California.

The Prince of Darkness Robert Novak, who has a hard-on for the Law and Order star, and others at the gathering  were left disappointed.

“Will he announce?” asked the Lincoln Club of Orange County’s publication in preparation for Fred Thompson’s appearance at the organization’s 45th annual dinner here Friday night. A rumor, totally unfounded, ran rampant before his speech that Thompson would declare his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination at the dinner lectern. In fact, he did not even hint at this prospect during a performance that was a letdown for the packed audience of conservative Republicans.

“It was not Reaganesque.” “No red meat.” “Too low key.” That was the preponderant reaction I heard to Thompson’s half-hour presentation (leavened by a few favorable comments, mostly by women, that he was more “statesmanlike” and “presidential” than the announced candidates). Lincoln Club members, like many conservative Republicans, have been unimpressed by the existing field of Republican hopefuls and envisioned Thompson as the second coming of Ronald Reagan. They did not get it Friday night.

…[H]is first speech since his unexpected presidential boom began suggests that Thompson needs preparation if he does take up this daunting burden. The deeper concern by some supporters is whether the tepid reaction in Orange County will shake what had seemed his clear resolve to make the race.

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Meanwhile, John McCain takes another licking in an Arizona Republic article, “McCain denies he’s taking mandatory eight count.” The Straight Talk Express is in the ditch as The Tool keeps swerving because of the Pander Bear that is constantly tearing down the aisle of his bus. 

Although taking steps to appeal to conservatives may be a reasonable strategy, it just looks like political calculation, pandering and even desperation to some of McCain’s disenchanted former fans.

McCain reconciled last year with the Rev. Jerry Falwell, a giant of the Religious Right whom McCain angrily dubbed an “agent of intolerance” in 2000.

McCain now supports extending Bush’s signature tax cuts, which he voted against in 2001. And he acknowledged within days of his comments that he overstated improvements in security conditions in Baghdad.

The thing that really, really got me is how he shifted and catered to Bush after Bush did him in big time in South Carolina,” said Ron Pies, a retired Tempe official who was behind McCain “100 percent” in 2000 but now likes McCain’s GOP rival Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor.

“Here was a guy who had so much integrity and so much going for him. To me, it just boiled down to a situation where he wants to be president.” 

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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