Friday, July 27, 2007

Mama He's Lazy

The question is not whether a slick-drawling actor/lobbyist being pushed into the ring by his wife can be the "savior" of his party. Seriously, it is not even remotely a legitimate question, considering the rest of the Republican landscape, which has been laid waste largely by their own excesses.

No, the question at this point is whether such a corrupt cadre of image-spinning idiot-wranglers even deserves to be saved, if this is their last best hope.

"People are not inspired; everyone's flat-lining," says Ken Duberstein, former chief of staff for Ronald Reagan. "Right now, Fred is all things to all people. Everyone's waiting to see if he can live up to expectations."

With those expectations casting Thompson as Reagan reincarnate, it's easy to understand why he's staying out of the race for as long as he can. The next Republican debate takes place Aug. 5 in Des Moines, to be followed six days later by the Iowa straw poll in Ames, an expensive faux election that measures the muscle of a candidate's organization and the thickness of his wallet more than his actual appeal to caucus voters. Thompson advisers decided that the risk of underperforming at either of these high-profile events was too great - and outweighed any advantages that would be gained by launching the campaign over the summer. As one Thompson partisan noted, John McCain's spectacular fall from Establishment front-runner to underfunded underdog proves how hard it is to sustain a lead, month after month, without faltering.

Also, it's gotta be damn near impossible to sustain any momentum with a closet case like Zach Wamp furiously humping your legs for weeks on end. Seriously, have you seen some of this guy's gushing over Big Fred's manly manliness? There's less campy flamboyance in Rip Taylor's love letters to Charles Nelson Reilly. In the stages of official Republican closet gayness, Wamp's slavering mash notes are somewhere between texting teenage pages from the House floor and offering to blow a cop in a public park.

But as far as we know, Wamp is not wearing a diaper, so at least he's got one up on David Vitter. Oh no I di'unt!!1!1!

Of course, as with any good Hollywood narrative arc, right now Our Hero finds himself in a spot of trouble. Oh no! Can he extricate himself in time to save the day and get the girl?

And even before launching, the Thompson campaign has experienced its first staff shake-up. After clashing with Thompson's wife Jeri, acting campaign manager (and close Thompson friend) Tom Collamore was ousted in favor of former Michigan Senator Spencer Abraham and Randy Enwright, a veteran G.O.P. strategist. "I do worry that Jeri is the one really running his campaign," says a House Republican who describes himself as "likely" to support Thompson. "She's smart, but that could be a recurring problem."

Uh-oh. I think we know how the Party o' Gawd feels about uppity wimmins. Quick, to the Cleavagemobile!

Thompson is also playing in a gray legal zone by postponing his announcement. Currently his noncampaign campaign is a "testing the water" committee registered as a 527, a tax-exempt group with disclosure requirements far less stringent than those of a real campaign organization. Federal election law requires Thompson to declare himself a candidate once he decides to plunge into the water, which - given that he has signed up more than two dozen staffers, opened two offices and appointed his second and third campaign managers - he seems to have done.

Per my consistent theses that this whole Run Fred Run is just a big scam, I believe that the key to it lies in the above description about the money train. I don't see how a person can spend their entire adult life being a lawyer, a lobbyist, an actor, and a politician, and not look at everything first and foremost as a money-making opportunity. Why else the reluctance to move past 527 status? Either he's overly committed to cultivating this ridiculous Bob Roberts/Lonesome Rhodes/Joe Don Baker mystique that has the dimbulbs clucking in unison, or he's figuring out how to scoot the money into his pockets after he gets the rubes into one corral and decides to mosey back to Hollywood.

Nothing else makes sense, especially in an early primary season where every week counts. The only possible candidate who would benefit from waiting to enter the race would be Al Gore. He can walk in come October, when the Democratic field will have pared down a bit, poach Bill Richardson for a running mate with serious foreign policy cred, and hit the ground running. But Thompson waiting late belies either a lack of confidence in actual (as opposed to rhetorical) gravitas and the ability to extemporize beyond mere sloganeering, or it's a testament to how truly weak the Republican field is, which means no one man -- not even Fred Thompson, goldang it -- can "save" the party.

The party is sinking on its own. Thompson offers nothing new, but rather attempts to absolve the old and the current, by lamely pointing the finger across the aisle, where even goofball Mike Gravel is a better candidate than any of the serial adulterers and jingoist troglodytes the Republicans have to offer. Fred may not be a terribly innovative political thinker, but he's certainly smart enough not to spend a year of his life auditioning to be an anchor. So my guess, once again, is that he rounds up some funds, gets a decent chunk of voters to pass off to the eventual nominee, bows out with the usual avuncular charm, and delivers the keynote speech at the '08 convention, with the promise of a Cabinet post, on the better-than-average chance that the American public loses its fucking mind once again and decides to vote out of spite instead of sense.

[Update: Reliably "objective contrarian" potato Marc Ambinder steps up to defend the missus -- who after all is a professional political consultant -- la-la-la-ing the whole time right past the transparent shell game Thompson is running. Even more amusing is one athletic supporter for Thompson's sweaty junk, who apparently was trying for some sort of haiku when he wrote, "This is news only because it is news. If it were not news, then the quitters would not get any ink and the whiners would not get any ink. It is their only way of hitting back."

Indeed. It could also be a baby's arm holding an apple. Who's to say?]


Ripley said...

Fred Thompson makes me wet. Yeah, I said it - so what???

Seriously, though... The difference between the R and D candidate field is somewhat heartwarming to consider, isn't it? We're giddy with the team we have and can hardly decide between best, bester and bestestest - the Rs are sitting on the political equivalent of the Mystery Men and gearing up for a national game of Musical Ice Floes.

And then there's Fred. Well, to be accurate, there's the idea of Fred. Which is really the modus operandi for the Wingnut branch - it's all concept and daydreams and 'whatifs', which is kind of odd since we're supposed to be the Kumbayah! party.

But they revel in fantasies of stoicism and righteousness, smoldering anger that turns to nick-of-time ass kicking with swelling orchestral backgrounds and misty eyes. So, who better to support than another actor(?!?) whose resume was typed up in Patriot Sans Serif boldface by God, C.S.A.?

Everything about the Republican Party and its deadender Dance and Cheer squad reeks of desperation and regret. And so they donate to a man who won't even commit to running, because the idea that he might run is so enticing. And, just like everything else with the Republican Party, all that money will be pissed away with nothing to show for it. To be blunt, Fred Thompson is a cock tease. And everybody knows it.

Can you imagine the balls to the wall FreakOut!! we'd witness if Gore were accepting contributions right now?

woodguy said...

Zach Wamp??? What a wide-awake linguist could do with that! Unfortunately, I am neither. Some help here?