Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fred Thompson - is the honeymoon over?

Over a month a go I talked about Fred Thompson and the 'monster push' he was getting from conservatives and the media. A "push" in wrestling parlance is the 'positive coverage or hype bestowed on a character in order to win over fans'. I wrote:
The Charisma of Fred Thompson
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...Fred is at the point where he's just been given the ball and is now being asked to run with it.
So what's the verdict, how did Fred handle the hype?
The answer - not very well. Whilst he still has his supporters and is firmly in the top tier of republican candidates. He does not have the same aura he once had when he was still an attractive unknown quantity.
It's not all bad. Even though his official entry into the Republican primary was sluggish considering all the excitement that welcomed him. He turned in a passable effort at his first debate. In his early weeks conservatives in blogs and the media spoke of him in even tones even when critiquing his lacklustre performance. This was because he still enjoyed number #2 status in Republican polling and still had the promise of great things. Now not so much.

Pundits and bloggers now freely admit he is boring, lazy and lacking in energy. The candid criticism has largely come about because pundits began to realise he was not the great white hope conservatives were yearning for. They reverted back to battle hardened and dutiful candidates Romney and Giuliani after being briefly being intrigued by 'the new guy'.

Below are some examples of pundits comfortably taking shots at Thompson.
David Brooks calls Fred boring on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer
Giuliani gave a great speech, Fred Thompson was so boring it was in violation of the Geneva Convention... it was the most boring political speech i've ever seen. I'm still suffering from it.
Mark Shields on the same Newshour segment
I did hear Fred speak. He was a cure for insomniacs, if you have a problem sleeping you oughta get a tape of Fred's [speech]... it was not a sterling performance. And I say that as an admirer of Fred Thompson
it's not all bad
Jim: and yet David, the polls, the national polls show Thompson still very strong
David: That's exactly right. And its true that if you leave Washington and go around the Country there
Jim: Yes the punditry is all against him
David: Yes and we're all wrong as usual, but in the Country he still has support...
Listen to the whole Shields and Brooks discussion here.
It's from the October 5 episode of PBS's Newshour. The relevant bits start at the 12min mark. being lukewarm on Fred
"Fred: I need to finish at least third in Iowa". Read post
"Fred’s House supporters wondering where it all went wrong" Read post

Hugh Hewitt scoffing at the NRLC endorsement of Fred. Hugh thinks the National Right to Life Committee has lost their credibility by wasting their endorsement on Fred. Listen to the fiery debate here.
While Hugh has said he will gladly support Fred if he gets the nomination. He has in the past called him a 'dud' and labeled his campaign 'as falling like a rock'

Fred on Fred. Thompson prompts his audience to applaud him. To his defense he was self deprecating in his honesty.
" ...I will [pause] First of all can I get a round of applause. [applause] Well I had to drag that out of you. Now let's talk about what you wanna talk about...
VIDEO: Fred Thompson addressing a small audience

The Round up
Listen to Shields and Brooks on Fred (12min mark)
Read HotAir's take on Fred's goals for Iowa
Read HotAir's take on Fred's support
Listen to Hugh Hewitt on Fred's social conservative bonafides

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