It's said that in life, timing is everything. And it could be that former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson's entry into the 2008 presidential race, expected in early September, will prove to be timed perfectly.
According to a just released poll from the Pew Research Center, 52 percent of Americans have a negative reaction to the presidential campaign thus far and only 19 percent have anything positive to say. And the main complaint of the disgruntled 52 percent is that the campaign simply started too early.
This could be Thompson's "rope-a-dope." Recall this maneuver of Muhammad Ali's in his famous "rumble in the jungle" in Zaire with then heavyweight champion George Foreman. Ali leaned back on the ropes in the early rounds, his forearms up covering his face, and let Foreman pound himself to exhaustion. Ali then stepped up, fresh and strong, and knocked Foreman out.
Thompson has been sitting on the sidelines while the large field of announced candidates on both sides have been traipsing from debate to debate in a campaign begun earlier than ever.
When Thompson announces next month and formally enters the race, his timing alone might be appreciated by a public wondering why they have been forced to start listening to candidates more than a year and half before they'll go to the polls to vote.
In a Washington Post poll done last week, only one in five Republicans say they are "very satisfied" with their candidates. And although the Democratic field is more settled (almost half of Democrats say they are "very satisfied" with their candidates), the negative ratings for their front runner and likely nominee, Sen. Hillary Clinton, remain at almost 50 percent.
So, Fred Thompson, a seasoned actor, may really know how to respond on cue. With Act One, Scene One played out, he may enter the stage in Scene Two and wake up the audience.
And, from what the Washington Post's David Broder reports, it may be more than just timing that wakes up this audience.
According to Broder, who reports on a two hour interview he just did with Thompson, the ex-senator and actor is going to be bold. He's got a nice life as a star in the popular "Law and Order" TV series, a beautiful young wife and young children, and is not running for president out of some ego-driven need.
He is stepping up to the plate out of a sense that there are things that need to be said that aren't being said, and that, if elected, he'll have a shot at getting these things done.