By all comparisons, Fred Thompson is phoning this one in. Here’s a description of the recent Florida Republican Party annual convention:
“Rudolph W. Giuliani, the first to speak before more than 1,000 Republicans here Saturday night for their annual party convention, worked the crowd into a near frenzy as he lashed out at the specter of a President Hillary Clinton.
Senator John McCain, who spoke next, held the audience rapt as he described the struggle in Iraq, as well as his own experience with war and suffering, in detail and with evident emotion.
Mitt Romney, who focused on the importance of family, brought his wife, Ann, and son, Tagg, on stage: real live family members to show he is a real live family man.
When it came time for Fred D. Thompson, the crowd was primed, having listened to his rivals deliver speeches, lasting about 20 minutes each, that the candidates each obviously thought played to their strengths.
Mr. Thompson walked slowly onto the stage, kissed his wife, Jeri, on the cheek, made a joke or two, claimed to be a “consistent conservative” — and said good night. He spoke for four minutes.
“I was really kind of shocked,” said Linda Hoffman, 47, who wore stickers for all the candidates on her blazer, reflecting her indecision. “We were all hoping he would say something we could get behind, but there was nothing.”
Maybe we (the pundits) are all wrong and Thompson is playing his hand perfectly. He continues to hold ground in polls (although at some point they gotta move up again). He’s got the money, and he continues to be the person to beat in the Midwest and South. If Thompson ends up winning, pundits will have to rewrite their rules on what works and what doesn’t. If Thompson loses, pundits can role out that tired phrase: showing up is 90% of the game.