is an old folk saying that goes along the lines of “If at first you don’t
succeed, find out if there is a prize for the loser”. However in the case of Senator Fred Thompson,
there will be no prize, just humiliation, and looming lack of recognition as to
who he is, aside from “That guy old white guy from Law and Order who is not Sam
Waterston or Jerry Orbach”. No, a month
from now, maybe even less, people will forget the name Fred Thompson and he’ll
be just as unknown as he was when he first started his snail-paced race towards
the White House.
In the end, Thompson’s speed and desire to become the president (or lack thereof), is what killed him. Starting with his entrance into the campaign, one got the general impression that Thompson really didn’t care to actually obtain the presidency. He was just fucking around, the same way a curious youth might stick their thumb up their ass, “just to see what it’s like”. And that’s pretty much what Thompson did; his thumb was up his ass the entire campaign.
In early 2007, when there was some discussion about his becoming a potential-potential candidate, he said he would “Leave the door open”. There is only one other occupation that allows that sort of half-assed flirtation, and its working in a brothel, which explains a whole lot. The media of course looking to talk about anything but “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” flocked to Thompson like a pack of tunnel rats attacking a McDonald’s wrapper.
Support movements such as “FredHeadsUSA” (a name which ironically makes me think of some sort of liberal pot smoking, tie-dye wearing folks who follow Senator Thompson around the country, trading bootlegs of his campaign appearances) and a movement to draft Thompson into presidency started to sprout up and in no time Thompson was starting up an exploratory committee (one that was started as a 527 group, so that supporters could donate money to the Thompson campaign, without a Thompson campaign even existing yet) to find out if he could possibly run for office.
The use of an exploratory committee irritates me to no end; it just says something about the level of confidence Thompson had in him with regards to running for office. The office of the president is not won by the work of trivial exploratory committees; you have to be greed fueled or bat-shit crazy (think Mike Gravel). Perhaps it was a trick, a slick political move to seem like the humbler more realistic candidate (at this point the media was already getting wet over his “easy going, no-nonsense style”), but something tells me that in his heart Thompson knew his campaign was doomed from the very beginning.
Even on national TV, when asked by Jay Leno about whether or not he wanted to be president he said the following: "I've never craved the job of president, but I want to do some things that only a president can do." Like what? Get a blowjob in the Oval Office? Honestly, what presidential candidate in their right mind says that? Especially one with a fucking exploratory committee investigating how many folks want him to be the president. Did he have some fuckwit sense of noblesse oblige to run for president?
By August, Thompson was still telling reporters that he wasn’t in the race yet, but his “exploratory committee” had raised almost $3.5 million and spent $625,000 in their first month, you know, just in case. And then it happened. On September 5th, Thompson announced his plans to run for president, in a fifteen minute video that originally aired on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, insulting the intelligence of every American who already knew he was going to run (and thinking that American people still watch Jay Leno). Five days later Newsweek did a cover story about him (of course on their website now, they call him a lack luster candidate). If I read Newsweek, I could probably tell you what it was about, but I don’t so I can’t. But then again, if I actually read Newsweek, I’d probably have to start practicing trepanation.
Now officially in the race, Thompson with his big black bus hit the campaign trail. Between confusing Russia with the Soviet Union, and not knowing the Supreme Court ruling on lethal injection, he rode out on a wave of, not mutilation, but mediocrity and borderline mental retardation. Aside from missing the first of his parties’ debates, Thompson put on a forgettable act. In one debate he was asked about the lobbying he did for Planned Parenthood when he was younger. He said that he did that with his private law practice and unrelated to his public service. The problem with this of course is that he was working the conservative angle even going so far as to say that he had a 100% Pro-Life senate voting record. So basically what he was saying was, “Its okay to lobby for people who kill babies, I don’t really support them, I’m just making money off them, and that’s the American way.” In another debate the candidates were asked to raise their hands if they believed that global climate change was a threat to our environment to which Fred said “I’m not doing any hand shows today”. This must have been one of those “no-nonsense” moments the media was talking about I guess.
His campaign, for some reason was obsessed with evoking the name of zombie president Ronald Reagan, while simultaneously throwing shit on the Democratic party in order to appeal to the conservative crowd. It seemed to work for a while at first. Before any of the primaries, he trailed right behind Hilary Clinton at 38% in polls (Hilary was at 50%). It seemed for a moment, that the Thompson machine was making headway at the same speed of an M1A1 tank. He had commercials where he bombarded the viewer with the phrase “consistent conservative” several times in one minute TV spots. Like his fellow presidential candidates Thompson took to the internet, which surprised me in a way. I have a mental picture of his campaign staff explaining websites like MySpace and YouTube to him and him looking confused and bewildered, maybe I will draw it some day.
As I write this I am looking at the Fred Thompson ‘08 YouTube channel. It’s full of some great stuff. In one video he tells his supporters whom he actually calls “FredHeads”, “We don’t raise our hands when we’re told to, and we don’t wear any hats unless they’re our own” (I have no fucking idea what that means, his campaign was rife with backwoods hick lingo) at his point Fred puts on a humorously large cowboy hat and nods to the camera. In another short video, Thompson is seen engaging the media in a snowball fight. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere I just can’t seem to find it. And finally in another video titled “The Hunt for Red November” (a play on the title of a movie he starred in). His commercials are good naturally because he’s an actor, however he trips over his own words during the debates and comes off as hogheaded. I hope Fred never takes the page down. I would love to be able to look back at these videos and know that this man tried so hard to not even try becoming president. I could say that part of me was looking forward to hearing the iconic Law & Order “BONG BONG” sound before every state of the union address for the next four years. And I suppose it wouldn’t have been a terrible thing if we had a president whose face resembled that of an angler fish.
But it was soon time for the caucuses, and Thompson was not doing so well. In Iowa, Thompson tied with Senator McCain for third place, behind Jesus freaks Mike Huckabee and Mittens Romney. Then in Michigan he took fifth place just behind Ron Paul. That’s right, Ron Paul beat Fred Thompson. That says a whole lot about a candidate’s campaign when one goes from being a formidable threat in one’s party to placing just behind the person who is seen as the “lost cause” candidate. And it didn’t just happen once. In Nevada Fred came in 5th again, and this time Ron Paul came in second.
The final death knell for the Fred Thompson in ’08 campaign came on January 19th, in South Carolina, where he came in third ironically enough (although he actually win any of the delegate’s votes). Four days later came the announcement from Thompson that he was resigning from the race. “Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort.” What a shitheel.
No Fred, Americans do not benefit from the efforts made by losers. American’s forget about losers. You didn’t want the presidency and so you didn’t get it. One of your YouTube videos stated that you actually believed if you played by the rules that you could get a fair chance to live the American dream. The American dream is dead Fred, mainly because of folks like you. And now so is your campaign. Oh and your chances of ever being taken seriously in politics again, those are dead too. What’s it like knowing that you dropped out the race before Ron “my only fan base is on the internet” Paul? See you all next time when I write about Giuliani’s withdrawal from the race, because he’s next.