Fred Thompson Makes Major Reaganesque Speech For Iowans : Too Late?
With polls in Iowa see-sawing faster than a see-saw in a playground used by hyperactive five-year-olds, a Republican candidate who has seemingly fallen off the media radar is getting some notice and even again being called Reaganesque: actor Fred Thompson.
Yes, THE Fred Thompson who seemingly had an incredible moment in political history when GOPers were waiting for him to enter the fray as a kind of new Ronald Reagan who could offer them an appealing choice from a political buffet table that many found unappealing, warmed over, filled with leftovers and offering what seemed to them to be left wings..
Thompson told reporters yesterday that he feels he has to finish at least second in Iowa — and he delivered a speech that went up on the Internet that was the kind of speech many in the GOP had hoped to hear. One that reminded them of Reagan, in Thompson’s attempt to reach out to dissatisfied Democrats — and one that also talked about national security concerns, saying the terrorists won’t be happy until there’s a mushroom cloud over an American city:
[Thompson] went on the offensive Sunday, accusing Democratic leaders of abandoning their principles and allowing their party to be taken over by liberal interest groups, including the National Education Association and the American Civil Liberties Union.
In a 15-minute Web video released Sunday, the former Tennessee senator said voters ought to choose a GOP nominee who will tell Democrats where their party stands.
“They’re all NEA, MoveOn.org, ACLU, Michael Moore Democrats,” Thompson said in the video posted on his campaign Web site. “They’ve allowed these radicals to take control of the party and dictate their course.”
He added, “I am asking my fellow Republicans to vote for me not only for what I have to say to them, but for what I have to say to the members of the other party—the millions of Democrats who haven’t left the Democratic party so much as their party’s national leadership has left them.”
It is a great Republican speech. And It pushed the kinds of buttons many GOPers wanted to hear months ago. Peter Robinson, of National Review’s The Corner:
Whereas Romney is saturating the airwaves with attack ads, Thompson pays the voters the courtesy of speaking calmly, and in detail—the video runs to just over 15 minutes. Why should the good Republicans of Iowa support Thompson? Because, the candidate argues, he can win.
Robinson offers a quote and then adds this:
In the passage I found the most striking, Thompson does something no other Republican contender has attempted: appeal to Democrats.
He offers some Thompson quotes, including this one:
So in seeking the nomination of my own party, I want to say something a little unusual. I am asking my fellow Republicans to vote for me not only for what I have to say to them, but for what I have to say to the members of the other party—the millions of Democrats who haven’t left the Democratic party so much as their party’s national leadership has left them
He sees this speech as reminiscent of Reagan’s in North Carolina in 1976:
Simple, straightforward, modest production values—just the candidate in front of an American flag and an Iowa flag—but (to use the word again) compelling. Reagan’s 1976 talk enabled him to recover after a string of primary defeats, winning in North Carolina, then going on to come within a handful of delegates of wresting the nomination from Ford. Will Thompson’s talk move voters in Iowa? Does his campaign have the money to get it on the air? Throughout the state? Or even in a few of the most important markets? Beats me. But we have here a serious man, making a serious case—and doing so in the context of a campaign that has otherwise descended into mere caterwauling.
Even at this late hour, I wouldn’t count Fred out.
Still, it’s easier to count Thompson out than to count him in, given his late entry into the campaign, early campaign stumbles and poor media coverage at a time when people were getting a first impression of him. His victory or even strong place showing in Iowa would be eyebrow-raising, underscoring how more than ever the Republicans are not satisfied with the front runners.
The polls vary by the day because the race has essentially become a toss up. But the latest one shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney pulling ahead of Arkansas Gov. Mike
Huckabee (a candidate who reportedly upsets the Republican establishment):
In a new MSNBC/McClatchy/Mason-Dixon poll, former Massachusetts Gov. Romney is drawing 27% of likely caucus-goers, compared to 23% for former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee. Romney’s strong showing is a blow to Huckabee, who had been enjoying a surge in the polls in Iowa.
On the Democratic side, John Edwards is pulling in 24% of likely caucus goers in the poll, just one percentage point ahead of Sen. Hillary Clinton. Sen. Barack Obama, meanwhile, gets 22% of votes in the new poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points.
So can Thompson do it?
Just an Internet video won’t do. He needs money to get his message across. He could make a stronger showing than expected but in the end it’s more likely that when the nominee is named Thompson will be perceived by many Republicans as the candidate who could have been.
TWO BLOG REACTIONS:
From Democratic The Democratic Daily, which has an EXCELLENT poll wrap up:
The sleeper of the Republican race, Fred Thompson apparently couldn’t get off his duff any further than to issue an Internet video as his closing arguments to the people of Iowa. Still, Peter Robinson of The Corner says, “I wouldn’t count Fred out.” Hmmm.
From the lively Republican blog Wizbang:
Fred has a 17 minute YouTube video in which he speaks directly to Iowa voters. He outlines who he is, what he believes, and what he wants to do as president and does an effective job making his case why he should be the Republican nominee for president. If you live in Iowa and are still trying to figure out who to caucus for, take out some time and watch it. I think you’ll like it.
….By the way, Peter wrote Reagan’s “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech, so if anyone knows if someone is being Reaganesque, it’s him.