So desperate are conservatives for a torch bearer to the Reagan legacy, the alternative to the three-headed monster of Rudy McRomney has come out of nowhere. Is it Mark Sanford? Maybe Sonny Perdue, Mike Rounds or Jim Gilmore?

No, the heir apparent to the conservative moment (as of this month) is now the air traffic control guy from Die Hard II. The Right-Wing base is buzzing over the possibility that former Tennessee senator, and current Law & Order star Fred Thompson is really considering thinking about maybe sort of probably “leaving the door open” for a 2008 White House bid.

But while the story last week seemed to be how well Thompson (not to be confused with the more qualified Tommy Thompson) was already doing in some early polls, the question yet to be asked is whether or not the actor-turned politician-turned actor would actually be a good candidate for the presidency. The answer is no, and here’s why:

He doesn’t want to be President

John Edwards knew he was running for president in 2008 as soon as he lost in 2004. He never stopped running. Hillary Clinton has arguably had her eyes on the Oval Office all of her adult life, but at the very least since 2002. John McCain has built an impressive campaign apparatus in several states, correcting the missteps he made in his 2000 bid. Barack Obama, despite having limited electoral experience, has decided to dismiss the naysayers and run now rather than later. These are very ambitious individuals, all of whom want to be President of The United States very badly.

In his must-read contribution this week to the American Thinker, Steven Warhawsky points out why Fred Thompson’s humble approach to the White House might disqualify him right at the starting gate:

Besides his lack of high-level executive experience, there is another thing about Thompson that concerns me: His apparent lack of drive to be president. Unlike some commentators, I do not consider this a positive trait. Being President of the United States is the most important job — by far — in the entire world. It demands an enormous amount of energy, dedication, initiative, fortitude, pride, ambition, and respect for the office. And campaigning to become president is the most difficult and grueling “job interview” there is. As someone who desperately wants to see a Republican elected president in 2008, I am hesitant to support a candidate who, less than a year before the first primaries, has not even decided if he wants the job. Or why.

There is nothing remotely Reaganesque about that.

He doesn’t have the resume

Ronald Reagan served two terms as governor of the most populous state in the union before being elected President. Fred Thompson, having won two relatively easy elections, has never had to run a tough, no holds barred campaign against a strong opponent. Will Thompson have the gumption to stare fellow GOP candidates in the eyes, and attack their positions aggressively and publicly? Can he attack John McCain, who he has praised and campaigned on behalf of in the past?

Thompson has no executive experience, and no major legislative accomplishments to speak of in the Senate. He was never the CEO of a major corporation, nor was he the mayor of a major American city. Al Gore left public life and became an activist and documentary film maker. Rudy Giuliani left Gracie Mansion and started a consulting business, remaining involved in security issues. Fred Thompson left and became an actor. If he were to enter the race today, as a former U.S. Senator with no relevant political work to speak of, he’d be arguably the least qualified Republican candidate in the field.

He isn’t nationally electable, and he knows it

What do Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo and Fred Thompson all have in common? None of them could win in a general election. All three men occupy the far Right-Wing of their party. Thompson opposes Roe v. Wade, opposes gun control and opposes same-sex marriage. If the recent success of Giuliani, Romney and McCain has taught us anything, it’s that the base isn’t as crazy as some would have us believe. They want to elect Republicans, because Republicans are generally better than Democrats. In order to do that, you may need to compromise on issues you hold dear. Does Fred Thompson come across as a compromising figure? The conservative base has a crush on ‘Hollywood’ Fred Thompson because he’s candid about his conservative values. That plays well on Fox News and talk radio, but the results probably wouldn’t be pretty (*cough*Goldwater!*cough*) in a national election.

I enjoy Fred Thompson the actor, and although I disagree with him on most policy, he seems like a nice enough fellow. But this fleeting “draft Fred” flurry will not last long, and is really just endemic of the Right’s Reagan nostalgia. He has no money, no staff and no chance. Sorry, Fred.


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