So is it OK now to talk about how it would be the most logical, natural thing in the world for Fred Thompson to just go ahead and endorse John McCain, overtly and openly?
When I suggested he do so a couple of weeks ago, his supporters — apparently still believing that he was actually trying to get elected president — came from across the country and danced on my head, virtually speaking.
Then, when I pointed out that my fellow Memphis State grad was sorta already supporting McCain, by beating up pore ol’ Mike Huckabee in the MB debate, I got a friendlier reception. Note that, sometime afterward, George Will is making note of what I pointed to back when:
Thompson, having left the race, could continue to support John McCain. In New Hampshire, Thompson attacked McCain’s principal problem there, Mitt Romney. In South Carolina, Thompson’s attack on Huckabee as a “liberal” might have provided McCain’s margin of victory.
Maybe it helped McCain more to continue to be a putative candidate and pound Huck in the debate. But now that, as Mr. Will notes, Mr. Huckabee’s moment is quite likely over, Fred could do John a lot more good by coming out and endorsing him in such a way that folks actually understand what’s going on. That’s on account of the wicked way that Florida runs its primary, which is that they don’t let folks like me vote. There, you have to swear party loyalty, so McCain can’t count on the very independent and crossover support that (in case Republican party types still haven’t figured it out) is the very reason why he is the GOP candidate most likely to actually win the whole thing in November.
Since Fred was portraying himself as the real conservative (as opposed to all those other real conservatives out there, who tend to be much shorter), and he had a modest-sized chunk of folks believing he actually was the (taller) embodiment of Ronald Reagan, his support could help McCain repeat his SC success in Florida.
All this assumes that Fred actually does want to have an impact on election outcomes — a positive impact, that is.