Fred ThompsonWhen I first heard of Fred and the Draft movement, I didn't think much of him. One of many. The Republican Presidential wannabee mob is a large club, mostly of wishy washy type moderates. First of all he takes the constitution literally and seriously. He is a true conservative in a race where so for there are no other serious conservative choices. While Ron Paul is libertarian, he's not going to have a lock on the moderate libertarian vote. His stand on Iraq is going to hurt him. Watch him though, he is a maverick and will stick it out until the very end. That leaves only Fred, at least so far.
While much of the media is treating him like a longshot, after all he isn't really an insider. The first primarys are a long ways away and Fred might not look like he is speeding towards victory. He is gaining momentum, and in a two year long race momentum could be everything.
What are his strengths?
He understands the media. He is an actor, blogger, and radio talk show host. He played the Michael Moore / Cuba controversy beautifully. Got himself some free publicity, and showed classic example of left and right. He used the MSM well. He understands the internet well as he explains the guerrilla net video on Hillary:
Guerrilla campaign ads have been around for several years, but this one got noticed. It really got noticed. It might be because it sparked tension between the Democratic Party's two front-runners. Or it might have been because, for two weeks, no one knew who was responsible.
Rumors blamed Obama's staff. Others were sure Republicans were trying to provoke a spat. It turns out that the maker of the ad was just an independent Obama supporter.
He may not affect the Clinton/Obama race, but the message he sent to the political world will probably endure. That message is that anybody, given some inexpensive software and a little time, can compete with the pros..
E-mailed links to the video spread through offices like a bad joke list. Millions watched it on the Web. Millions more saw it on news shows. One cheap, anonymous campaign ad got more attention this season than any expensive, professional commercial.
Over 100 million Americans reportedly watch videos online, at least occasionally. The Websites of citizen journalists, the bloggers, have become truly influential, with an estimated 75 million Americans reading them. Cheap software and computers put tools into the hands of teenagers that used to belong only to networks and studios. YouTube and other video-sharing sites provide a cost-free forum accessible by nearly anyone.
There's no question that this is democratization. Professional journalists and campaign staffers no longer control the political debate. Individuals can now make headlines and directly influence elections -- though some of the accountability that once existed is gone.
The real attraction to him as candidate might be his views on the minutia of everyday politics. Republicans should have no problem understanding conservative values in the grand scheme of things. But he has way about him on some of the smaller issues. He writes about using radio propaganda :
When Ronald Reagan was elected, he greatly empowered the private, congressionally funded effort and handpicked the Radios’ top staff to bring freedom to the Soviet Union. Steve Forbes led the group.
Cynics still say that the USSR fell of its own weight, and that President Reagan’s efforts to bring it down were irrelevant, but Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev say differently. Both have said that, without the Radios, the USSR wouldn't have fallen. The Radios were not some bland public relations effort, attracting audiences only with American pop music. They engaged the intellectual and influential populations behind the Iron Curtain with accurate news and smart programming about freedom and democracy. They had sources and networks within those countries that sometimes outperformed the CIA. When Soviet hardliners and reformers were facing off, and crowds and tanks were on the streets of Moscow and Bucharest, the radios were sending real-time information to the people, including the military, and reminding them of what was at stake.
Then we won the Cold War. The USSR collapsed in 1991, and America relaxed. Military downsizing began and the Radios began to reduce broadcast air time to target countries.
Now, of course, we know that the Islamofascists, many trained by the old Soviets, were making plans and plots of their own. Unfortunately, the plans to broadcast a pro-freedom message into Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Kurdistan and Ukraine were shelved or diluted. Reagan's ideological audacity was replaced with a more "diplomatic" tone.
And see where it's got us? Not only has Islamic totalitarianism spread without a true ideological challenge, many of the freed Soviet bloc countries are slipping back into repression. Russia is making the same old threats and even protecting Iran's efforts to build nukes.
Elegant clarification of a small idea. This guy will be able to sell ideas. He might not have a pretty face, a political insider, but he has what it takes to get there. The conservatives really don't have another choice. yet .... The Newt could spoil this party.