Freddy's Dead, That's What I Said
The big man has waved farewell to the presidential race.
Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people.
I welcomed Thompson into the race with a Bronx cheer. John Tabin was at the final Fred speeches in South Carolina, and came away a little wistful.
Here's a question for the class: What was Thompson's effect on the race? Did he reframe any debate on any issue? One thing I'm sure he didn't do was alter the way people run for president. He had a theory that the explosion of media (the "information revolution") would render (mostly) irrelevent the exhausting retail politicking of presidential races. Why should a candidate answer questions in Dubuque VFW centers when he could cut web videos or TV ads or do interviews on blogs and talk radio? I don't think he made the most of that strategy (I think he held one blogger call, early on, and that was it), but hes eliminated the chance of anyone trying it in 2012. And I think he realized its weakness, even if he didn't mean to, by shooting his ads in the kind of homey diner that he never spent more than 10-15 minutes working on the trail.