Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The charisma of Fred Thompson

In wrestling parlance a 'push' is defined as:
(v) The act of a wrestler being promoted on television and through other means in order to give that wrestler popularity or recognition, usually through victories, interviews, and television features.
fred thompson debate republicans
Fred Thompson to debate on CNBC
A wrestler gets pushed because management realises a personality is being warmly accepted by the fans or has the potential to. That in turn will feed the demand and elevate that person to main event status. Its hard to quantify what gives a person 'star quality', but we know it when we see it. For the wrestler being pushed, all he needs to do is run with the ball once they're given it.

There are a few pitfalls for the pushed wrestler however. There is a marked difference between a wrestler who earns main event status and a personality annointed by management and just 'looks the part'. Some wrestlers become darlings of management first, then look to appeal to the fans later. They are physically imposing and are promising potential figureheads for the organization. Other wrestlers maybe be more physically modest, but their performance and charisma make them fan favourites. Regardless of how they got their push, their mission is one and the same. Show the fans they deserve to be a main eventer. If they don't deliver the audience will let it be known. Obviously for the wrestler who grew his popularity organically, it will be a good run while it lasted. For the artificially pushed wrestler, there will be resentment against the wrestler and management. Backlash from the fans who don't appreciate being forcefed into liking someone.

This takes us to conservative presidential hopeful Fred Thompson. Fred is currently enjoying main event status as the #2 Republican behind Rudy Giuliani, despite only recently (officially) declaring his bid for presidency. There is no doubt Fred is receiving a major push from conservatives who see similarities between Fred and another actor-turned-politican, the beloved Ronald Reagan.

Fred is at the point where he's just been given the ball and is now being asked to run with it. Fred will be making his first appearance on a Republican debate after tactically dodging the first half dozen. It is of great interest to many how Thompson performs in his maiden debate. Suspenseful for the conservative faithful who are looking for a new great leader and fascinating to the rest of the population who want to see what all the fuss is about.

In part 2 of this post, I will be discussing how effective Fred's campaign has been so far and the appraisal of it from his supporters. Perceptions will change dramatically after the close of this first debate, but either way the fact there is this much attention means Fred Thompson is a big draw. The question is- does he deserve it?

VIDEO: A sign of things to come, Fred Thompson in a 1994 radio debate

Visit the Official Fred Thompson website
Read the NY times articles, He Can Act, but Can He Debate? Untested Thompson Faces Rivals for First Time
Read from HotAir what conservatives hope to see in Fred in this debate
Read more Pre-fight coverage from Hotair
Watch and get full coverage on the GOP debate from CNBC
Get full 2008 election coverage from CNBC

- Fred Thompson shows some fighting spirit
- Fred Thompson - is the honeymoon over?

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