This month marks the 50th anniversary of Ford's introduction of the Edsel. The name Edsel has become synonymous for business disasters. And this month may have given us another September disaster. His name is Fred Thompson.
The GOP Presidential field has expanded and been reduced this summer and now there is another entrant. Now Thompson's entrance has been a foregone conclusion for some time but one has to wonder about the thinking behind this entry at this time.
Recently, Thompson told Sean Hannity that he didn't know where he differed from the other candidates. That's great market research. (mmm, Edsel?) When asked about his votes in the Senate, he has a hard time to explaining certain bills that on the surface he supported. With Laura Ingraham, Thompson pulled a quasi-Kerry when he was discussing the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation: "I voted for it but I don't support that".
Speaking of financing, his presidential bid is starting millions of dollars behind everyone. If he is to be in the top tier financially he would have to be raising some big money in a big hurry. To be ready for the Hawkeye Caucii and to match the money raised by the top three in the GOP, Thompson would have to have over 100 contributors per day giving the maximum of $2,300. And that amount would get him up to Sen. McCain's fundraising as of June 30. To reach Romney's level, he would have to have over 160 maximum givers per day. Now some would say he doesn't have to go that high to be competitive in the early states, which is now everyone. But Law and Order residual payments are not going to cut it in today's politics.
If Thompson doesn't show well in Iowa, where his recent visit was touted as television actor above former US Senator, or New Hampshire, he could be in trouble. And if you can be outspent because of early fundraising, Thompson could be done before he gets to February 1st.
I've watched Thompson and find it hard pressed to determine which of the Republican niches he could fill. And what well known GOP leader hasn't been courted by the other candidates? Are there any of those leaders just waiting for some fresh, new personality to come along? Speaking of personality/mannerisms, Thompson's actions look as stiff as Al Gore, circa 1992.
No, when history looks back to the 2008 race, Fred Thompson will go down as an Edsel.