The Thompson Review

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Oct 05, 2007 1:19 PM
Geraghty's is more positive than mine:
The monitor shows a standing ovation to his conclusion. It wasn’t Thompson’s best speech – some stretches of silence - but I think he did what he needed. I can see why some folks – gah, I’m saying ‘folks,’ this folksiness is contagious – don’t like Fred Thompson’s style on the stump. It’s vague, general, casual and conversational. He meanders to his points, it’s not fiery, charged up. He’s rarely angry, more head-shaking exasperation with the flawed ways of Washington. But I think it works for him, and it works for people who don’t need the wonkish policy brief.
He's dead-on about the style. You kind of waaaaaaaait until Fred comes back to his point, very front-porch-talkin'-style. I like that kind of thing in real life, but on the stump, it feels a little disconcerting, like you're not sure if he is gonna come back to the point and wrap it all up. It's also a possible explanation for why Fred had to ask for applause at that recent event. His style can make you a tad unsure when you're supposed to applaud. You know when to laugh, and he tells a good, dry joke, but he doesn't get fired up, leave you with an impassioned thought and let you clap it out.

I have video from the smaller Virginia gathering, so I'll have that up in a bit. Jeri Thompson is even more glamorous in person, and accompanied him to the podium for both speeches today. During the Virginia one, she stood comfortably in the front row, alongside all the Virginia activists, and seemed willing to chat quietly with those who offered their cards and well wishes.

Here's Fred, so you can judge for yourself. I'm not a huge fan of the plan to "get together a bunch of people who can figure out solutions" to major problems, which Thompson touches upon. I don't need a policy paper, but I could use a bit more than that. That doesn't mean he doesn't know any more than that; he could be making a calculated decision that people don't want to hear the details, but I think this is a pretty informed crowd. They could have handled it and likely would have appreciated it.