“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fred Thompson Ho Hums into History

He Will Get Over the Disappointment

Postmortem on the Thompson Campaign

Lee Cary American Thinker
January 22, 2008

The autopsy on the Thompson campaign will find that it succumbed to a host of -ion diseases: equivocation; expectation; communication; and perception.

Equivocation: Last summer the "will he or won't he" saga of Fred's potential entry into the presidential race was the political version of the play Waiting for Godot. Speculated deadlines came and went, and still no Fred. The summer storyline was a tease that became a snooze. Anticipation built, subsided, and built again - several times. And with each run-up to his possible entry into the race, the voting public cared just a little less. Equivocation does not play well with voters.

Expectation: Thompson's popularity as a TV and movie personality had us primed for a superstar candidate. We expected a real-life version of his portrayal of the confident and decisive D.A. on Law & Order. Of course, this was unfair of us, but not unexpected. Instead of standing behind a bank of microphones and boldly announcing his candidacy on the front steps of President Andrew Jackson's Hermitage Mansion, he filled a deep-sunk lounge chair on the Jay Leno Show and announced in a style meant to be laid-back. Instead, it played as laid-down.

Communication: After seven years of a President whose strength, even as his supporters will acknowledge, is not public speaking, we expected and hoped to be impressed with Fred's speeches. This, too, was unfair. In most of his acting roles, Fred was only called upon to deliver relatively short monologues. And even then, retakes were always an option. On Law & Order, Fred's character would typically listen to lawyers postulate, ask a question or two, and then render a concise and insightful judgment. In real-life, this is a skill valuable to any occupant of the Oral Office. But he didn't often display it on the campaign trail.

Fred was a disappointment as a platform speaker. He often held his hands in the classic "spiders-doing-pushups-on-a-mirror" position that conveys nervousness. He voiced frequent "hums" while he searched for his next words. And, when he was using a manuscript or notes, he looked down while saying the final (and often most important) words of a sentence while looking for what came next. In short, if he got professional presentation skills coaching he didn't heed it. Instead, he opted for his natural style, and natural didn't work.

Perception: Voters perceived Fred as a lethargic candidate. Sure, the media helped build that perception, but so did his behaviors. In the debates he engaged only intermittently. When he did, he was great! But he more often appeared disinterested. Perhaps it reflected his distain for the sound-bite addicted media. The reason is not important, only the impact. And the impact was that voters perceived him as detached from the fray. Not aloof or arrogant, just not engaged. As he failed to garner support, his unaltered laissez faire style deflected voters, who wanted to support him, toward other candidates.

Senator Fred Thompson was like a gifted sprinter who didn't seem to like running.

So he's left a race he never really entered.

The GOP will now pause for brief melancholic moment as the man who might have been an historic candidate goes home to Tennessee.


  1. The GOP primary is now left without an obvious conservative standard-bearer -- and with a lot of confused, disappointed and disaffected conservatives.

    How could this happen -- in the widest-open race in 80 years?

    What a horrible shame.

    Where to Turn?

  2. Good news for Romney. Probably good for four, or five points (net) vis a vis McCain.

    Here's hoping.

  3. Huckabee, also, is stating that he's "downplaying" Fl. Maybe, another point or two for Mitt.

  4. Although, as you all know, I'm firmly ensconced in the Albob camp of political prognosticatin.

    In other words: If I try to pick the winner in a one-woman race she almost gets beat by "noncommitted." :)

  5. I liked Thompson, I think he would have made a good President and am sorry he didn't do better. He just didn't or wouldn't give himself enough of a chance.

  6. I just do not see them moving to Romney.

    But who can really say what others will decide, or what they base their decisions on.

    My wife like Thompson, she's undecided now, moving to Rudy, maybe.

    I like Rudy for President, will vote for Paul in the primary. As McCain will carry the State and it's winner take all.

    Vote ideology when pragmatism is a loser.

  7. I predict that if Romney is able to hold onto the current lead he has in Florida(according to Rasmussen) he will win the primary there.:)

    Not as good as Yogi, but the best I can do.

  8. As far as I know tonight, I don't think the Republicans have set their primary date here in Idaho for this go round. This is one year when our tiny contribution to the totals might conceivably make some difference. Last I heard they were trying to close the primary to only card carrying republican folk. I'm not sure who is behind that effort, though it might well be the Romney people. Last I heard the courts were involved.

  9. SC dem prediction:


  10. Rufus,
    You just stand back and let her get beat?
    Thats worse than uncommitted, that's chickenshit!

  11. I said the greatest moment ever was the Obama quote below, but the real greatest moment was Fred refusing to Raise his hand!
    "The second half of the debate was less personal, and Obama even allowed that former President Clinton had earned his enormous affinity in the black community when he was asked if Clinton deserved his title as the "first black president."

    "I have to say that, I would have to investigate more of Bill's dancing abilities and some of this other stuff before I accurately judge whether he was in fact a brother," Obama said."

  12. Aha, the truth is starting to seep out. Homonid Caught On Camera By Spirit Rover On Mars You can fool some of the people all the time, but not all the people forever.

  13. Are those Mars guys STILL working?
    That and the telescope are the two best yet.

  14. "Some homes in Sweden are heated entirely with incandescent light bulbs."
    I thot you said it was Sweaty Swedes?

  15. Stealing Education and Healthcare from OUR Children:
    Sob stories are always about the poor "immigrant" children, but does anybody give a shit about what's happened to OUR kids?
    Rising health care costs put focus on illegal immigrants

  16. Here is the Rover news site.

    The stinking sweaty swedes provide the energy for the light bulbs, Doug. It's why they are so cold all the time, never at home where it's warm and light, got to be out there at the subway station, warming the air there, so's the homes where they aren't can be warm and light. Neat concept when you grasp it, when the light bulb comes on.

  17. Flight Director's Update
    Jan 17: It's the fourth anniversary of the Mars Exploration Rovers.

    The twin rovers have operated now 16 times longer than the original three-month prime mission and they're still going.

    grnite, tax man tomorrow:(

  18. Kevin James says Giuliani Campaign is hurting financially.

  19. The Swedes use super insulated and sealed homes so that there is almost no unwanted air infiltration. Such houses, depending on size, retain metabolic and waste heat from lighting and appliances. They do it by use of highly efficient heat exchangers bringing in fresh air, exhausting the internal stale air minus the heat. They have been doing this since the 80's.

  20. Re: Megauploads New MegaManager Does it contain Spyware?


    hi there anthony,
    if a company ever needed zeroing it would be 'megauploads' ! i tried in good faith to sample their so called 'free download' and now my computer is completely clogged with their program. no matter how i try i cannot get it off of my comp and worst still it wont allow me to download anything, either through megaupload or any other provider such as rapid share!

    what gets me is who on earth decides to make life difficult for prospective customers? crazy marketing ploy as i for one am advising all of my students and online buddies to steer well clear of this cheap and insipid company. though trying to get shot of it is still proving to be a complete nightmare. [any advise on this would be truely welcome!]
    and if you try, as i have, to contact them you get,,,,,,, absolutely nothing in reply?

    in short anthony, DONT GO ANYWHERE NEAR MEGAUPLOAD!!

    kiron, wales uk :-)

  21. Brett's Notes on Florida
    From the comment thread at My Pet Jawa, the most succinct defense of Romney's record as a conservative governor in a deep blue state:

    Here is Romney's actual conservative record:

    In the four balanced budgets he signed into law, Governor Romney used the line-item veto or program reduction power to cut spending by nearly $1 Billion. Over the course of four budgets, Governor Romney made over 300 line-item reductions, 350 line-item eliminations and struck language 150 times.

    --- When Gov Romney took office in Massachusetts, he inherited a $2 billion deficit. While in office, he turned the $2 billion into a surplus----WITHOUT raising taxes.

    ---Gov Romney solved the health care crisis in Massachusetts----and his plans are still used today. He did this by using the free market and competition---and without raising taxes.

    --- Gov. Romney was instrumental in passing a bill abolishing a retroactive capital gains tax in the state that would have forced nearly 50,000 taxpayers to pay an additional $200 million in state taxes and fees

    --- 4 years ago --- before the illegals marched in our streets --- Romney opposed a bill that would have allowed illegal aliens to get driver’s licenses. "Those who are here illegally should not receive tacit support from our government that gives an indication of legitimacy," the governor said. (Scott S. Greenberger, "Romney Stand Dims Chances Of License For Undocumented," The Boston Globe, 10/28/03)

    --- Romney vetoed a bill in 2004 that would have permitted illegal aliens to pay the same in-state tuition rate paid by citizens at public colleges and universities in Massachusetts.

    --- Romney vetoed the bill providing state funding for human embryonic stem cell research

    --- Romney vetoed a bill that provided for the "morning after pill" without a prescription because it is an abortifacient and would have been available to minors without parental notification and consent

    --- He vetoed legislation which would have redefined Massachusetts longstanding definition of the beginning of human life from fertilization to implantation

  22. Second, again thanks to Jon Cohen, a look at The Post's last national poll suggests that McCain may gain a very slight boost from Thompson's departure. If Thompson is eliminated and his supporters' second choices are re-allocated, that poll showed McCain leading the Republican field with 30 percent -- two percent higher than he received with Thompson included in the ballot test. The only other candidate to make gains with the reallocation of Thompson supporters was Rudy Giuliani, who went from 15 percent with Thompson in to 18 percent with him out.

  23. The Real Conservative Republican?
    By Debra Saunders

    As Romney courted the Michigan vote, he proposed a $20 billion energy research/auto industry bailout plan likely to appeal to the Motor City state. Later, touting himself as the turnaround guy for a flailing economy, Romney released his own $233 billion stimulus package -- a price tag that dwarfs President Bush's $145 billion proposal.

    In the package, Romney cooked up a pricey way to court Florida's powerful senior vote: He proposed a permanent elimination of payroll taxes on seniors. And he opposed "any increase in Social Security taxes."

    The man who says he is not a creature of Washington presented no spending cuts in the stimulus package. Romney spokesperson Sarah Pompei said that the price tag is big because it needs to be "large enough and immediate enough to have an impact to help turn around the economy." And while there are no specific spending cuts, in general Romney wants "to cut wasteful spending in Washington." Forget that without spending cuts, Plan Romney can only further expand the federal budget deficit.

    We've seen that movie before. It's called Politics as Usual.
    But don't tell me Romney is the true conservative in the race. His record reveals a solid conservative -- when it has been in his interest to be one.

    In 1994, when he was running to unseat Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, Romney supported abortion rights, distanced himself from Ronald Reagan and courted the gay and lesbian vote. While he opposed same-sex marriage, Romney convinced the largest gay GOP organization, the Log Cabin Republicans, that he could support civil unions -- and won their unanimous endorsement when he ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002.

    Before his first -- and only -- term as governor was over, Romney had flipped completely. When Romney came out against civil unions, Log Cabin Republicans felt betrayed. "He shakes your hand, looks you in the eye," Log Cabin member Richard Babson later told the Washington Post. "It's hard for me to know what Mitt Romney's first principles are on a given day."

    Romney had liberal/moderate Republican positions when running for Massachusetts office, then far-right positions when they could help him win the GOP nod for the White House. And somehow he feels no hesitation in framing himself as the true conservative. Yes, thinking people's positions evolve, but Romney's evolutions have been too fast and too convenient.

    Perhaps that's why New Hampshire voters did not turn out for the former governor next door.

    Then there is his healthcare mandate system, a tax by any other name, smells as rank.
    Worse actually, because at its' heart is a lie, a propaganda spin.
    The GOP battle cry of the '80s
    No Unfunded Mandates!
    To skip the States and mandate individuals, that does not make it "better".

    On a national level, a $600 Billion boondoggle of economic reallocation dictated by DC.

  24. I see Egypt decided to release a little pressure in Gaza, with more or less unhappy approval from Israel.

    Messy but not uninspired.

  25. My name is Gag Reflex, and I have: "Electile Disfunction."

  26. Faintly echoing the prediction of dear host, James Wolcott extracts from


    It was clear at that moment that while all the race-baiting of the past two weeks didn't have the desired effect on most white Democrats, it had driven a stake between the Latinos and the blacks. And this, if it continues that way into California and other primaries, is going to mean bad news for the political futures of both groups. Democrats--this is a matter that is much bigger than Clinton v. Obama--have only nine days before the California primary to try and put out that fire before it burns down the house.


    That the 60,000 member Culinary Workers union turned out only 1,200, or two percent, of its membership in the at-large caucuses is not only cause for concern among its own ranks, but also adds to a general trend in the union movement nationwide. Remember that, in Iowa, the bulk of unions backed Edwards and Clinton, and yet the exit polls showed a virtual tie (Obama 29, Clinton 28, Edwards 28) among union voters. It may be that union endorsements, across the board, don't count as much as the hype suggests. That's not a fact that this observer cheers. It is, rather, to be mourned.

    Add to that the complete lack of solidarity from other unions when the Clinton supporters sued to disenfranchise the culinary workers, the fact that one of the plaintiffs was itself a teachers union, and the Latino-black wounds that have been reopened by the playing of the race card, and the damage done to the Democratic party and the union movement in the name of a grab for political power is perhaps irreparable.

    Frankly, unless events conspire during this 2008 Democratic primary process to reverse those truly ugly developments, any Democrat that thinks that November is already won is a fool that is not to be taken seriously from here on out. Without some miracle between now and then that forges unity out of such division, one or another large group of usually Democratic voters is going to stay home in larger numbers than in the past, and the overconfident Democrats out there ought to begin practicing how to pronounce President McCain… or President Romney.

  27. Gunmen breach Gaza-Egypt wall

    By Ibrahim Barzak
    Associated Press
    Article Launched: 01/23/2008 04:12:49 AM PST

    RAFAH, Gaza Strip - Masked gunmen destroyed about two-thirds of the metal wall separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt in the town of Rafah early today and tens of thousands of Palestinians poured across the border to buy supplies made scarce by an Israeli blockade of the impoverished territory.

    The gunmen began breaching the border wall dividing Rafah before dawn, according to witnesses and Hamas officials, who told the Associated Press that they had closed all but two of the gaps in the wall. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said people were allowed free movement through the open gaps.

    Thousands of Gazans began crossing into Egypt and returning with milk, cigarettes and plastic bottles of fuel, the Hamas officials and witnesses said.

    An Associated Press reporter arrived after first light and saw that about two-thirds of the seven-mile-long wall at Rafah had been demolished. The reporter also saw the crowd of Palestinians crossing into Egypt swell into the tens of thousands.

    De facto anarchy, to be replaced by Fatah running that border. As mat and I postulated weeks ago, Hamas and Fatah, two sides of the same coin. As seperated as Republicans and Democrats, here in the US.

    Damascus - The exiled political leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas, Khalid Mishal, welcomed an offer by the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas to let him control the main border crossings in Hamas-run Gaza to help ease an Israeli blockade.

    Speaking at a conference of Palestinian factions in Damascus, Mishal said Hamas was ready to discuss with Egypt and the Ramallah- based Palestinian Authority ways to run the border crossings.

    Israel has tightened a blockade of the Gaza Strip, restricting the movement of people and goods through the crossings, since Hamas took control of the territory from Abbas' forces in June.

    Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad made the proposal that would allow the Abbas-controlled Palestinian Authority to control the main commercial crossing between Israel and Gaza at Karni, and the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
    Mishal said Hamas was prepared for an unconditional dialogue with Abbas but only under a Palestinian and Arab umbrella. Mishal rejected US and Israeli conditions for resumption of reconciliation efforts with Abbas' rival Fatah movement.

  28. So the wife and I had a talk over morning coffee

    W: So Thompson is out
    Me: yep
    W: So it'll be McCain?
    me: if he wins in Florida
    W: What about Rudy
    me: depends on Florida
    W: If its' McCain, I'll vote for Obama
    me: What if it's Hillary?


    So it goes for the Republic

  29. The worst market crisis in 60 years
    By George Soros
    The 60-year super-boom is a more complicated case.

    Every time the credit expansion ran into trouble the financial authorities intervened, injecting liquidity and finding other ways to stimulate the economy. That created a system of asymmetric incentives also known as moral hazard, which encouraged ever greater credit expansion. The system was so successful that people came to believe in what former US president Ronald Reagan called the magic of the marketplace and I call market fundamentalism. Fundamentalists believe that markets tend towards equilibrium and the common interest is best served by allowing participants to pursue their self-interest. It is an obvious misconception, because it was the intervention of the authorities that prevented financial markets from breaking down, not the markets themselves. Nevertheless, market fundamentalism emerged as the dominant ideology in the 1980s, when financial markets started to become globalised and the US started to run a current account deficit.

    Globalisation allowed the US to suck up the savings of the rest of the world and consume more than it produced. The US current account deficit reached 6.2 per cent of gross national product in 2006. The financial markets encouraged consumers to borrow by introducing ever more sophisticated instruments and more generous terms. The authorities aided and abetted the process by intervening whenever the global financial system was at risk. Since 1980, regulations have been progressively relaxed until they have practically disappeared.

    The super-boom got out of hand when the new products became so complicated that the authorities could no longer calculate the risks and started relying on the risk management methods of the banks themselves. Similarly, the rating agencies relied on the information provided by the originators of synthetic products. It was a shocking abdication of responsibility.

    Everything that could go wrong did. What started with subprime mortgages spread to all collateralised debt obligations, endangered municipal and mortgage insurance and reinsurance companies and threatened to unravel the multi-trillion-dollar credit default swap market. Investment banks’ commitments to leveraged buyouts became liabilities. Market-neutral hedge funds turned out not to be market-neutral and had to be unwound. The asset-backed commercial paper market came to a standstill and the special investment vehicles set up by banks to get mortgages off their balance sheets could no longer get outside financing. The final blow came when interbank lending, which is at the heart of the financial system, was disrupted because banks had to husband their resources and could not trust their counterparties. The central banks had to inject an unprecedented amount of money and extend credit on an unprecedented range of securities to a broader range of institutions than ever before. That made the crisis more severe than any since the second world war.

    Soros certainly has a perspective.

  30. Not only is it a perspective but it seems to be a clear and concise description of where we stand. Soros made his fortune speculating on currency did he not? Seems he has made the right bet.

    His basic premise in Rat's quote seems to dove tail quite nicely with fiscal conservatives - all this fed 'liquidity' stuff are props running against market fundamentalism, or 'moral hazard'. It seems we are just trying to kick the ball a little further down the field each time... the end, though, isn't it all really just synthetic? A confidence game? There really is no intrinsic value in the dollar in your pocket just your faith that there is...

  31. More sage advice from Wolcott:

    "But given the bass-note depths of the seismic tremors being sounded, the Democratic contenders (I expect nothing from the Republicans except warmed-over Reaganism with a side order of microwave pepperoni) might want to quit arguing about the past and pay more attention to what's in the windshield ahead."

  32. Gen. Petraeus adds another Friedman Unit to OIF.

    Have we learned how to play this game, or what?

  33. Ghettoizing Barrack
    Completely Shameless People.
    (a crude New Rich version of GWB)

  34. trish, I lost my decoder ring, could you please help me understand what it is you said?

  35. Google Friedman Unit, ash.

    Then reference Petraeus's latest statement.

  36. Albob and I just shuffle off this mortal coil 1 Friedman Unit at a time.
    Not 12 step, but certain, none the less.

  37. Petraeus: I Need Another Six Months To Determine Whether �We�ve Reached A Turning Point�

    We think we won�t know that we�ve reached a turning point until we�re six months past it. We have repeatedly said that there is no lights at the end of the tunnel that we�re seeing. We�re certainly not dancing in the end zone or anything like that.

    So General P arrives in DC in March, says things are going well, but how well is not clear.
    Is then scheduled to return in September, six months time, when he reports that Victory was achieved, in March.

    So the Status of Forces arangement can be solidified. Cannot afford to lose the victory, by abandoning our allies in Iraq.

    Right on time for the Election.
    Surprise surprise!!

    Perhaps a bit cynical, but then again ....

  38. ahhhhh, I get it...

    I should have known google could stand in at times for the ring.

    and more economic blather:

    "There are three broad aspects to our debt crisis. First, in the current fiscal year (2008) we are spending insane amounts of money on "defense" projects that bear no relationship to the national security of the United States. Simultaneously, we are keeping the income tax burdens on the richest segments of the American population at strikingly low levels.

    Second, we continue to believe that we can compensate for the accelerating erosion of our manufacturing base and our loss of jobs to foreign countries through massive military expenditures - so-called "military Keynesianism", which I discuss in detail in my book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. By military Keynesianism, I mean the mistaken belief that public policies focused on frequent wars, huge expenditures on weapons and munitions, and large standing armies can indefinitely sustain a wealthy capitalist economy. The opposite is actually true.

    Third, in our devotion to militarism (despite our limited resources), we are failing to invest in our social infrastructure and other requirements for the long-term health of our country. These are what economists call "opportunity costs", things not done because we spent our money on something else. Our public education system has deteriorated alarmingly. We have failed to provide health care to all our citizens and neglected our responsibilities as the world's number one polluter. Most important, we have lost our competitiveness as a manufacturer for civilian needs - an infinitely more efficient use of scarce resources than arms manufacturing. Let me discuss each of these. "

  39. Living History

    1 Friedman unit = 6 months.
    1 Warner unit = 3 months
    1 McCain units = It’s going to be a cake walk or/and we will be there a long,long time.

    Just for the record;we (Bush, never had/have any intention of leaving–too much oil and tax payer moolah for the MIC..

  40. As they reported, last Feb07, just six more months, then we'll know.

    Now in Feb08, still need another six months. Gets US to the election, in the midst of troop withdrawals.

    What bettter timing could there be.

    Remember that Vietnam and the defeat, there, is never laid at Nixon's door. No, the blame is put on the Democrats in Congress, every time. Not upon the ones that ordered the withdrawal, but upon those that would not allow a return.

    Team43 learned the lesson of Vietnam, legacies and where and how to apportion blame, in the spin game.

    Leave offfice a winner in Iraq, the loss to come on another po;iticos' watch. It'll work for Bush and General P, both.

  41. See, ash, a little research and the light can be seen.

    The question then becomes, why?

    Who profits from the economic disruptions and what is their long term Goal. It is not merely financial wealth, that does not motivate the true elites. They have all the material wealth a person can enjoy.

    Power, perhaps, but that would not bind them through the decades of purposful action that has been required to obtain their goal.

    Religion and ideology, that does explain cross generational motives.
    What is the religion of the super elite, what motivates their ideology of world dominace and control?
    That is a question each must answer for themselves.

  42. Al-Bob offers to take one Elephant Bar tax question to the tax man this morning, answer provided for free, but accuracy not quaranteed, must submit question in next 45 minutes.