Thompson Out? Enjoy the SchadenFred
Over at Red State one of the inmates has written a rather mawkish obituary for the Fred Thompson campaign, which is a bit like shutting the barn door after the horse fell asleep in the hay watching Matlock.
The Thompson campaign has been fascinating to watch, as would be any desperate attempt to slap a saddle on Grandpa. Fascinating, but disturbing, like one of those sadistic Japanese game shows. The constant equestrian metaphors alone were enough to make the sane queasy, and they still haven’t stopped with them. From the lachrymose Red State eulogy linked above:
when it seemed that the Republican field needed a White Knight to ride in on a shiny steed and save it (and us) from itself, we didn’t call on Newt Gingrich or Jeb Bush; we called on you.
And he promptly snoozed to the rescue in his Comfy BarcaLounger.
The notion of Shamblin’ Fred as the Childe Geritol of the GOP is not merely hilarious on its face, however — though, to be sure, it is that. The episode tells us more about Greater Wingnuttia than it does about Thompson, about whom there was never much to learn, or care about. What did he ever have to offer, anyway, this erstwhile Savior of the Party of Ideas?
Appearing on ABC Radio, on the Sunday shows, and at speaking engagements, you spoke to the parts of us on the conservative end of the spectrum that weren’t being spoken to by the other candidates. Immigration reform, strength in prosecuting the war on terror, a return to Federalism — all issues for which you were the most articulate, and (it appeared) most viable, spokesman.
Oh. Dusty-assed wingnut bullshit, then. But it goes deeper than that. Examine this, from a maudlin Byron York, describing a brief moment when Fred seemed at least vaguely lifelike, startling half to death a clump of drowsy supporters:
“We’re having a little discussion in the party nowadays about what that means for the future,” Thompson told the crowd. “Some people think we need to get away from the Reagan coalition, because it doesn’t exist any more.” The audience erupted into boos. “Some people seem to think that we need to be a little bit more what they called progressive… Well, I reject that concept with every fiber of my being.”
Even, presumably, the fibers that derive from Metamucil. The point is that Greater Wingnuttia wants a return to the 1980s, an era that only they look back upon fondly. If it is recalled at all: many people alive and voting now weren’t born yet in the 80s, knowing only that back then people wore a lot of stupid clothes and nobody guessed George Michael was gay.
I hope they keep trying to reanimate Reagan’s corpse, though. As noted over at LGM, in Nevada "44% of the Republican caucus-goers are in the 60+ age category." And it’s no secret that the Fox News audience plays to a similarly superannuated demographic.
This is an election that is clearly, if irritatingly, about "change," and the Wingnut Best n’ Brightest wanted very much to nominate a relic. Fascinating. All their yesterdays are lighting these poor dopes to electoral defeat, and that would be sad were it not so comical.
(NOTE: I wrote this before Fred had made any sort of announcement. Now he has. It’s inconclusive — much of his statement seems to have focused on wearing an onion on his belt and the historical epoch when nickels had bumblebees on them — but yeah, he seems done. Of course he looked done when he was just starting out, so it’s kinda tough to tell one way or the other.)