My Dinner With Fred

Actually, given the exigencies of Presidential campaigns, Fred Thompson left before dinner. But I did have the opportunity to be part of a small group who chatted with him and asked him questions.
Thompson was in Minnesota today for a variety of functions, including an appearance at the Minnesota State Fair. That convinced me that he is in the race to stay. No one would work the state fair circuit unless he were serious about the race.
My own impression of Thompson was similar to the image I already had of him. He’s good; he has a nice, folksy manner, some good lines, a sincere, fatherly demeanor, and comes across as a solid conservative of the border-state variety.
Yet I still think there is something missing. Thompson gives long answers to questions, and a point often comes where his folksiness gives way to ennui. He rarely shows much–any–intensity. Thomson presents himself as the solution to intractable problems like entitlements and the world-wide Islamofascist threat. Yet one misses the spark of fire, of energy, that would generate confidence that Thompson is really the man to get the job done. Nor does he offer unique solutions to problems; his proposals are, like his persona, of the generic conservative variety.
There’s nothing wrong with that, necessarily. But in the end, Thompson’s candidacy rests on the premise that there is something about him that will rally millions of otherwise uncommitted voters to the conservative banner. Maybe there is; maybe that folksiness goes a long way. If in the end I’m convinced that he is the strongest Republican candidate, I’ll support him. But I haven’t seen persuasive evidence of that yet.
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