Ex-Fredhead Keith in Idaho agrees with yours truly:
I can tell you coming from the Thompson campaign, many of posts in the blog were calling for a Thompson-Romney ticket when Fred was still in it. Although the friendship with McCain, most people did not think he would endorse him because he stands for so many things Fred did not, and it would make Fred look a little hypocritical. We all thought he’d still be in however.
If Fred endorses McCain, I can tell you Fred’s core will NOT follow him, and if you thought they were ticked off now, just wait. Fred’s core will follow him to Romney, and as I told Nancy, I bet 80% of them are quietly moving to you anyway. So make a plea to Fred to send his followers to you, because the 80% core are avid anti-Huck, Rudy, and McCain. And there certainly is no love lost with the Paulies… A Romney endorsement will have a great unifying effect of the conservatives in the GOP.
Do not go calling for a Fred Thompson VP too fast. If Carl Cameron is correct, Fred Thompson has a subtlety and is more “unprepared” then I thought. I have considered, based on inputs from this and other conservative sights, that Fred Thompson was a straight shooter. I also believed Fred Thompson when he stated that he was waiting to enter the race until the time was correct. Carl’s note tells me that Fred delayed his entry because of lack of preparation. Carl’s note also indicates that Fred Thompson is currently planning and plotting a VP position when Fred reported said he was not interested in being someone’s VP. I am guessing that Mitt Romney will not favor either the lack of preparation of candor. (Mitt Romney has said that he personally is not running for VP but I do not take that to mean he will reject such an offer.)
First, based on Mitt Romney’s book, he initially ran against Senator Kennedy out of a sense of duty to change the affairs of government. That same sense of duty was a solid argument Ann used when she talked him into considering leading the Olympics (his first response was “Why in the world would I ever consider going to Utah to run the Olympics?”). When Romney ran for Governor and as he now runs for President he has done this not for popularity or for ego but to make a difference for his family, future family and for his community. (He has explained multiple times why he is running for President of the USA.) That being the case, I do not think Romney will be thrilled to take on an uncommitted person. Look at the organization and the team that Mitt Romney has created. That team is in all the way. It seems to be more of Romney character to take Blunt (from Missouri) then Fred Thompson who has only jumped into the race after the public dragged him into the water.
Second, based again on Romney’s book and also on some responses from the campaign insiders, Mitt Romney wants every problem dissected, analyzed and advocated from every angle. I have heard multiple times that if “everyone agrees” then Mitt Romney will start opposing arguments himself. He wants to understand the strengths and weaknesses of critical positions. Now in that type of environment you can not have subtle people with hidden agendas. Mitt Romney will demand honest responses supported with data. Based on Carl
Cameron’s email, I am guessing that Fred Thompson may lack that ability to bring data and openly argue opposing positions. Fred Thompson may be too subtle.
So, to summarize, if Carl Cameron’s email is accurate I think that Romney wants data driven debates on critical issues. He expects honest, hard-hitting feedback so he can obtain the best solutions. Fred Thompson came into the race only after he was unexpectedly overwhelmed with positive responses, he was not prepared for the race, and he is now seeking the VP slot after reportedly telling everyone he was not interested. Fred Thompson’s lack of data, lack of preparation and his possible lack of forth-right candor does not seem to fit the Romney team. But hey, Mitt Romney may not use his VP as a core part of his leadership team (but I imagine he will). Also, I do not expect Mitt Romney to ask me who his VP should be anyway.
For what it’s worth — while I believe the notion is bunk in marriage, in politics, oftentimes opposites do attract. Thus we saw Reagan-Bush (conservative-moderate), Bush-Quayle (moderate-conservative), and Bush-Cheney (laid back-data driven). Then again, we also saw Kerry-Edwards (limousine liberals, unite!) and Clinton-Gore (two supposedly moderate, at least back then, Southerners).
I should also point out that while I don’t necessarily think Senator Thompson would be the best possible running mate later in the game — Mark Sanford, are you reading this? — I think it would be a tremendous boost if he agreed to be on the ticket with Governor Romney right now. That’s why I said before that Governor Romney should make him “his Richard Schweiker.”
Schweiker is the former Pennsylvania senator who agreed to be President Reagan’s running mate in 1976, in the middle of the primaries. That surprise move arguably kept the Reagan campaign alive after a number of defeats — and I think a similarly unorthodox move here would really shake up this race.
Of course, Senator Thompson is a friend of Senator McCain’s and was his national chairman in 2000. But as Keith points out, it’s not likely that the Fredheads will follow him to the McCain camp — so is there much for him to gain in making that choice? I’m not sure there is.