I keep trying to self-analyze exactly why I'm not buying into the Fred Thompson hype.
Logically, I would argue that 1. His popularity has more to do with discontent over the current crop of GOP candidates than with him, and 2. His record, while fine, is not substantially more conservative than the other candidates.
So it appears to me that the main thing a lot of conservatives like about him is ... style.
Ironically, this is precisely the area where (I believe) Thompson is weak. Let me explain...
Back around 1999/2000, a co-worker of mine at the Leadership Institute (who has gone on to do some pretty cool stuff, by the way) kept telling me how "uber" cool "Rummy" was. (I didn't see it, but because this seemed to be the consensus, I didn't question it, either.)
To him, "Rummy" was appealing because he was a "take-charge" tough-as-nails guy. To me, he was an old "my-way-or-the-highway" kind of guy who would be a "turn-off" to average folks. Turns out: I was right (at least, I'm claiming credit, here...) Lesson learned: Go with your gut ...
I feel the same way about Thompson today as I did about Rummy in 2000; while everyone else is talking about what a stud he is, I just don't see it.
What I do see is a guy who carries himself as someone who has "been there and done that." And while that Gary Cooper demeanor may appeal to many conservatives, I think that after a few years in the White House, it would be a huge "turn off" to everyone else. In short, while that "tough guy" shtick may have worked in the past, I'm just not sure it will sell in today's world (maybe he needs John Edwards hair ... just kidding!)
... By the way, if you think I'm exaggerating about the level of adoration many conservatives are displaying toward him, here's an example of the first comment his post on Federalism got over at FRedState, yesterday:
Thank you, Fred, for explaining a vote that has been very easy for some to contrue anyway they wish (depending on what they are trying to get out of it). Hearing it straight from the source is quite helpful and encouraging!
Federalism is like truth... it hurts sometimes but it always works.
But while many conservative blog readers obviously love him, my question ultimately is: Is Fred Thompson too Gary Cooper for a Leonardo DiCaprio world?
Of course, I realize it is odd for me to say that I don't think a movie star has the right "style" or temperament for today's world. That's okay. I'm open to debate on the subject.
So go ahead. Make my day!