This Newsweek story implies that Fred Thompson might be able to use his laidback image to his advangtage. I believe this is incorrect for two reasons:
1. Fred Thompson is running to replace George W. Bush, a president thought to be intellectually uncurious. Elections are about change, and the next president will, to some extent, be a reaction to this one.
2. By waiting so long to get into the race, Thompson has already reinforced the image that he is lazy. So it is even more important that he reverses this meme.
My advice to Thompson is that once he gets in -- to hit the ground running ... hard. He needs images of him working long and hard, around the clock, to woo voters.
You'll know Thompson is on the right track if you read about "sources close to him" leaking that they, "have never seen him want something so bad or work so hard to get it."
Sure, the American public likes outsiders who get away from Washington -- but they also want a president who wants to be president.
Let's not forget, Ronald Reagan ran as California's favorite son (against Nixon) in '68. He then challenged a sitting Republican President (Ford) in '76. Reagan had strong ideas (something Thompson seemingly lacks) -- but he also had a strongambition to be president.
Thompson shouldn't believe any press that encourages him to play up his "laidback" image. He needs to immediately hit the ground running and make sure early press reports are about how hard he is working ...