Friday, December 14, 2007

Quin Hillyer: "Fred Ain't Dead"

I was reading Quin Hillyer's column for the American Spectator. He had written a column that was to be posted today, but finished it Tuesday, one day before the Iowa GOP Debate. His column was to talk about how Fred wasn't quite out of the running for the GOP nomination yet, and speculated as to how Fred could get into the running.

Then came Wednesday's debate, and Hillyer HAD to address the effect it has had on the whole race for the GOP nomination, and he addressed it in a pre-column memo to the readers...

"With his superb performance in Wednesday's debate in Iowa, Fred Thompson has made a monkey out of me. By early afternoon on Tuesday, the column that appears below, one which posits that Thompson's presidential campaign might still find a way to win, was ready in exactly the form it appears here. But I thought the column would still remain exactly on target throughout the week, so (for various reasons) I aimed for a Friday release. At the time, I thought that until Thompson began his Iowa bus tour on Monday the 17th, my contention that he "ain't dead" yet would seem noteworthy for its boldness.

Then Thompson ruined it all by so clearly running away with the laurels in Wednesday's debate -- and in particularly Reaganesque fashion. Just as Reagan did at the famous Nashua, N.H. debate in 1980, Thompson used the unfairness of the debate moderator as a foil in a way that justly earned the candidate plaudits as a no-nonsense kind of guy. Now everybody is taking a second look at Thompson's chances. Deservedly so.

But of course a debate performance like that should not have been a surprise. As my column reports, pollster Frank Luntz said even before Wednesday's debates that Thompson was hitting his stride and connecting with audiences at earlier debates.

Anyway, without further ado (but with more commentary afterwards), here is my column as originally written -- in what I thought would seemed a fairly bold analysis, but which now seems unremarkable -- as an object lesson for those of us who think we understand political timing. Just as pundits, myself included, were having a high old time criticizing Sen. Thompson for the timing of his efforts in this campaign, he somehow succeeded in stealing a march on us. Maybe Good Ol' Fred knows what he is doing after all."

Somehow, I'm inclined to agree...I think Fred knows exactly what he's doing. He's simply decided to "be Fred", and that may be the greatest asset to his campaign.

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