Thompson's Retail Politics

“Normally, lack of money is a problem but in the Iowa caucus, lack of money has forced Thompson to do retail politics, which is what he’s best at.  He’s getting a surge from it.  In this case, lack of money may make the difference.”  — Steve Gill, author of “The Fred Factor”

I know what you are thinking.  That gal is in the bag for Thompson and she’s scratching for anything she can find.  Not so, I am a typical conservative, I don’t know who I am voting for in the primary. I know who I am not voting for, but I’ll keep that to myself — for now.

Fred Thompson is traipsing around Iowa, literally. He’s basically out of money and he’s going town to town, house to house, diner to diner meeting the folks.  Unlike, Hillary Clinton, the more you see and talk to Fred Thompson, the more you like him.

He walked into the room at the Des Moines Marriot where FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) was hosting their Congressional Task Force Radio Row.  He met and talked with anyone in the room until he sat down for an extended interview with Jan Michelson of WHO-AM of Des Moines.  He couldn’t spend time with radio shows from Georgia or Kansas because if he doesn’t make it out of Iowa and New Hampshire, he won’t make it to these other states where his has a good chance of winning more than a few of them.  He wowed the room and then headed out to the next stop.

During the course of the day, I saw him all over Iowa in the same boots and leather jacket that he was wearing at the radio row.  This was Fred Thompson’s day.  He looked good, needed a haircut and was in his element with the people around him. But will it translate into a good finish on January 3?

Steve Gill, a syndicated talk host based out of Tennessee and a long time observer of Fred Thompson as well as the author of “The Fred Factor,” said that he’s getting a surge as people are seeing and talking to him.  Four years ago, Howard Dean was the heir apparent to the Democratic nomination for President and John Kerry was the guy that was almost out of money — or out of all Theresa would give him at the time.  On that snowy night four years ago, John Kerry came from about 1% in the polls to winning the Iowa Caucuses. If there was going to be an upset that night, the “pundits” thought it would be a win for John Edwards.  Nobody and I mean nobody thought that John Kerry would be the guy.  It could be that kind of night for Fred Thompson.

Senator Thompson addresses that on the campaign trail, “President Howard Dean was leading in all the polls, was spending most of the money, and he got anointed by everybody. On election night, Howard wasn’t anywhere to be seen.  And Kerry, who, you know, had been in single digits, wound up winning it.  So the only thing we know is that no one knows nothin’ when it comes to politics.”

Of the so-called top tier candidates, Fred is the grown up and that’s what people like about him on the campaign trail.  He has handled his campaign in a grown up way albeit an unconventional way in the world of politics today. Think about it, finally get in, determine your positions and then get on the road, but will it be too little, too late?

Rich Galen, a Thompson advisor doesn’t think so, “…when you’re going to come up with a military paper, with a tax paper, with a Social Security paper, and all those things, it takes some work to get all those things done. To sit down with the experts and actually work though those…So while those weren’t public campaign events, they were certainly campaign activities.” He went on to say, “No we’re in to the public campaign. It’s back to the lunch rooms, the luncheonettes, the dining rooms.  All those kinds of things where everybody will travel around in buses and SUVs.  I think that is what you are seeing now (from Fred Thompson).”

Some say Iowa is about money. Gov. Romney has spent plenty of money but he’s on the ground fighting for every vote, too.  And it was revealed last week, that along with the Kerry campaign having $15 million dollars or so left over at the end of the 2004 campaign; they paid millions of dollars to campaign consultants who had never won a presidential election.  Maybe in Iowa and New Hampshire, it’s whether the folks like you and get to see you enough that they like you more.  Sure you need money, but maybe, just maybe — Fred Thompson will “reprove” the concept that it’s not over til it’s over.

With all the talk about the “Huckaboom,” maybe it’s going to come down to something a little more simple, you go to every place there is a group of people or every place there might be a camera and you say, “Hi, my name is Fred Thompson, and I’m running for President.”  You kiss the babies, pose for pictures, sign autographs, smile and talk to the folks and you can win Iowa — maybe.