Candidate: Fred Thompson
Political Background: Former Senator from Tennessee, Former Chairman - Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Former Minority Counsel - Senate Watergate Committee
Campaign Website: http://www.fred08.com/
GOP Appeal: Staunch federalist and state's rights supporter, folksy and humored demeanor appeals to middle- and working-class, has more-detailed policy initiatives than any other candidate in either party, supports constructionist judiciaries, promotes school vouchers, pro-capital punishment and "truth-in-sentencing" for violent crimes, strong pro-2nd Amendment stance, supports stronger border security, pro-"smart" free trade, free market advocate, long history of fighting corruption in government, strong stances on waste and fraud in government spending, "get tough" stance on national security.
Cross-over Appeal to Dems: Foreign policy views appeal to Reagan Democrats, would allow states to decide gay marriage and abortion issues with no federal bans despite personal views, supports expanding visas so larger flow of legal immigrants can come to U.S., stronger pro-environmental record compared with other Republicans, history of fighting corrupt government is bipartisan.
Cons: Entered race a bit late as initial tide of support had begun to wane, trying to shake tag of being "lazy", McCain-Feingold support while in Senate still remembered by some conservatives.
My Personal Thoughts: My man Fred. I personally believe that this man has all the answers to issues and that his methods would placate a lot of liberals as well as conservatives. For instance, on abortion, his "state's rights" stance allows for abortions to be legal in states that make it so...which means that liberal states get what they want, and conservative states get what they want as well.
The media does not seem to recognize this (accidentally or intentionally), he gets somewhat lumped in with a lot of other conservatives, even though his federalist viewpoints are at odds with some of the bigger-government conservatives.
Thompson had a lot of strong support over the summer, but I feel that the drop in support has less to do with his campaign performance than it does with the Huckabee surge in Iowa (due to Thompson not being a part of the Ames straw poll) and the general public's short-term memory in terms of McCain's immigration debacle. Thompson has run a more traditional campaign than many expected (especially compared to his early use of the internet in the exploratory stages of his campaign), and this caused many to think he would run a much different campaign than he has.
However, now that Thompson has fleshed out his ideas with more details and substance, he needs to start turning on the charm and turning up the heat left and right during the next several weeks leading up to Iowa (the CNN/YouTube debate was a great showing for him). If he can do so, and eat into the Romney/Huckabee votes, a strong 3rd place finish would bode well for him going into future elections (especially in terms of holding his higher numbers in the south). If not, then the GOP will be looking at a different candidate to make a run at the White House.