It's official: Fred Thompson is running. The conventional wisdom has it that he lost his momentum by waiting this long to enter. The conventional wisdom is concocted by people who have trouble remembering that 95 percent of the country isn't paying attention to the campaign yet. (The other five percent is running.)
I'm not saying Thompson doesn't have problems—there's been talk of anemic fundraising, for example—but it's far too early to write him off. Giuliani still has the substantial handicap of being pro-choice in a fiercely pro-life party. The other frontrunner, Mitt Romney, has been counting on the support of social conservatives uncomfortable with the former mayor of New York. But they're less than enthusiastic about settling for the former governor of Massachusetts. (When exactly did the northeast take over the GOP?) When Romney speaks, the question isn't whether he believes what he's saying; it's whether he believes anything at all.
There are other social conservatives in the race, of course, but they don't have the TV star's crossover appeal. I don't say this as a partisan—I'm a Ron Paul man myself—but I think Thompson still has a substantial shot at the nomination. I'd even put some money on it, but then I'd have an incentive to cheer for the guy, and I don't think I could stomach that.