The Conservative Candidate is Out…
Posted by Stephen on January 22, 2008
Former Tennessee Senator and actor, Fred Thompson, dropped his presidential bid Tuesday. He entered the race with a bang and left it with a whisper.
“Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people,” Thompson said in a statement released to the press.
It wasn’t that long ago that Thompson visited Virginia all but announcing his candidacy. He mingled in a private suite with contributors to his not yet born campaign and he did so with ease and a presence that excited those of us lucky enough to participate in the festivities. Later, he delivered a speech brimming with confidence that set forth an agenda, a plan, and a fire that filled the room with confidence. He worked the crowd, shaking hands and posing for photos, and as the buzz left behind created a synergy many people were hoping they’d ride straight into the White House.
Yet, in the end, the tangible evidence of his qualifications and plans for the country he distributed within his speeches didn’t resonate with voters. Thompson couldn’t get any tread and couldn’t maintain any momentum. Whether he had the fire necessary for a long campaign or whether he was committed to a grass roots campaign is a discussion left for talk show fodder.
Whether there are any conservatives left in a race filled with contentious debates and sound bites is what is left for voters to sort out. Thompson’s final speech on Saturday clarified his purpose in this race and reminded supporters why it is about the journey and never about the destination.
“We have traveled a very special road together for a very special purpose. You know, it’s never been about me. It’s never even been about you. It’s been about our country and the future of our country … And because of your efforts and because of our working together, our party is being required to look itself in the mirror, decide where it’s going, decide who it is.”
Thompson may turn up as a running mate for whomever claims victory during the GOP nomination process or perhaps his name will surface as a candidate for Secretary of State should the Republican nominee earn a victory in November, but for now he will join the rest of us as a spectator in what is turning into a marathon not seen in a GOP contest for many years.
Stephen Winslow is the executive editor of Conservative Viewpoints.