Tuesday, January 22, 2008

HOW CAN THEY TELL? Fred Thompson has tottered off the national stage. His supporters are taking it hard. Kim du Toit, who once called Thompson "the man who’s going to get my vote in the primaries," now delivers this envoi: "Thanks for nothing. Good-bye, go back to Hollywood, and fuck you."

But most of the Fredheads alternate between mourning and belligerence. At RedState, where Ole Fred kinda sorta blogged, they are vacillating between the denial and bargaining stages. The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler says, "Now we get to decide which of the remaining horses we’re going to have to ride, if any." At Cold Fury Joe will still vote for Fred; Mike laments "Twilight in America," endorses a new American Conservative Party. Stephen Bainbridge wonders "whether there’s any one of the 4 [remaining GOP candidates] for whom it will be worth holding one’s nose and taking the plunge."

I expect they'll all come around when it's time to vote against Hitlery or that black guy. For now, let us remember the good times. Back when he was only a potential contender for the Presidency, Thompson sent conservative hearts aflutter by making videos like this one, in which he chewed a cigar and threatened Michael Moore with incarceration in a mental institution. How they loved the dazzling fantasy of that tough-talking D.A. from Law & Order stepping out of the idiot box to dispense rough justice to liberals. How Reaganesque it was!

Then he actually entered the race, and soon we were hearing about his "different kind of campaign" -- one in which he did little actual campaigning, or even filing to get on ballots. He was so somnolent on the stump that whenever he showed a flash of vitality, supporters lauded the event as if he were coming around from a long, debilitating illness.

Maybe he never really expected to get very far. Maybe the Thompson demi-campaign was only meant to raise his profile sufficiently to get him better TV gigs. Or maybe he thought all he had to do was show up, and the prize would be handed to him. For a certain kind of conservative, I guess that made him the ideal candidate.

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