March 11, 2007

Thompson Says He's On Call

Newt Gingrich has reviled the extended primary season, calling it a jobs program for political consultants. Although widely expected to run for the presidency himself, he insists he will not make any announcements until autumn. Observers believe that this could be a brilliant strategy to allow the current front-runners to tire themselves out and jump into the race as a white knight just before the primaries.

It seems that Gingrich may not be the only Republican thinking along those lines:

WALLACE: There's been a lot of buzz, as we said, in Republican circles that there's no true conservative in the GOP presidential field. Now some top Republicans, including your friend former Tennessee senator Howard Baker, are putting out trial balloons about you possibly entering the race.

Question: Are you considering running for president in 2008?

THOMPSON: I'm giving some thought to it. Going to leave the door open.

WALLACE: Well, you say leaving the door open. What's going to go into your decision-making process, what factors? Why would you do it? And what do you see — do you see some holes in the current Republican field?

THOMPSON: It's not really a reflection on the current field at all. As you know, some of them are very good friends of mine. I'm going to wait and see how it pans out, see how they do, how it develops.

A lot of people think it's late already. I don't really think it is, although the rules of the game have changed somewhat.

I'm sorry I missed this interview when it aired, although I'm not sorry for the reason I missed it; we took the Little Admiral to Disney on Ice. Some things are more important than politics, even presidential politics.

It's a fascinating interview nonetheless, and Thompson seems very open to a draft of some kind. He refused to talk about his intentions, demurring on even having intentions at this stage. He wants to see where the other candidates take the race before making a decision on coming back from Hollywood to get star billing in 2008. That sounds like a strategy along the one presumed to be used by Gingrich -- to play white knight.

Thompson also had no trouble talking policy, even if some of the current crop of candidates have had some reservations about stating their positions in clear terms. On abortion, Thompson declared himself pro-life, and he also opposes gun control, two issues with which Republicans have issues with the current front-runner, Rudy Giuliani. He opposes comprehensive immigration reform as it is currently understood; he wants border enforcement first before any other considerations.

Chris Wallace asked him about campaign finance reform. He still considers soft money to be a huge problem and believes it should be regulated. That leaves a lot of space between that and the current state of the BCRA, but he's not asking for a repeal at this point.

Thompson appears to be ready for a run, if he sees an opening. Is it there? It could be. If he starts organizing, I know I'd like to hear what he has to say -- as long as it doesn't conflict with Disney princesses and the Little Admiral, of course.

Addendum: If anyone has contact information for Senator Thompson, I'd love to get it.


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