If you listen to the Fred-heads, Thompson’s entry into the GOP nomination contest was supposed to turn the race up on its head. It hasn’t exactly worked out that way. In fact, Thompson has recently seen an eroding of his poll numbers. According to Rasmussen:

[Support] for Fred Thompson has declined in each of the past three weeks. He earned 28% for the week ending September 16 and then saw his numbers fall to 26% and 25% in subsequent weeks. Now, for the week ending October 7, his support is down to 22% and he trails Rudy Giuliani by a single percentage point.

Thompson consistently takes positions and expresses those beliefs in a manner that connects with the GOP base. He appears closer to the base that the majority of the GOP “inside the beltway” leaders. Doesn’t he? Consider his recent support for talk radio:

The funny thing is that the success of the current crop of radio talk show hosts is due, in part, to a lot of people’s perception that broadcast television doesn’t give the views of their audience a fair shake. Maybe I shouldn’t admit it, since I dabble in radio myself, but this media used to be viewed as a kind of broadcast ghetto. The bicoastal elite had such a grip on the major newspapers and television networks; they pretty much ignored the hinterlands. It was media flyover country. Now congressional leaders say they want to “level the playing field” there too – meaning they want to diminish the importance of conservative talk radio. In other words, they don’t trust the results of freedom and the marketplace. Why am I not surprised?

So, if Thompson is such a poster boy for the GOP grassroots, why hasn’t Team Thompson blossomed? There have been a number of campaign mis-steps, team re-organizations, and the political media seems all too eager to jump on the band wagon of unmet expectations. Perhaps Thompson has yet to achieve that campaign momentum where the viewing public perceives him as serious front-runner. That opportunity may present itself tomorrow in Dearborn, Michigan when the GOP hopefuls gather to debate business and economic issues. Already Thompson is benefiting from reduced expectations. Can Thompson use his first GOP debate to launch his campaign into high gear? Tune into MSNBC to find out.