Politics

Thompson lacked substance

Post-mortems on Fred Thompson’s short presidential run focus on how the actor and former senator ran his campaign. Started late, poorly managed, lack of enthusiasm, etc.

But these analyses miss the more fundamental, and instructive, problem — his message. Touted as the only “real conservative,” a careful look shows that this label was pretty dubious. His ideas were devoid of the vision and leadership that fueled Republican ascendancy a quarter-century ago and badly needed today.

Timeout on political ads

With the closest thing we have to a national presidential primary coming just two days after the Super Bowl, some fear that the sports sanctity of the football championship might be sullied by the presence of political ads.

Several campaigns investigated investing in super-expensive Super Bowl spots, figuring that might be an efficient way of advertising in the 22 states that hold contests on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5.

But the Fox TV network, which will air the contest, just decreed that the broadcast will remain a politics-free zone, at least on the national level.

It’s really scary out there

I don’t know about you, but the closer we get to finding out who will be the GOP and Democratic presidential nominees, the edgier I become.

As the mud flies, all the candidates seem to be shrinking in stature. Yesterday’s glimmerings of statesmen are today’s campaign flimflam artists.

As candidates drop by the wayside, those remaining are less like beacons of hope than spotlights aimed uncomfortably right at the eye.

When it’s time to quit

What kind of ego drives a man to continue for years to seek an office he has no chance of winning? Particularly when that job is the presidency of the United States, a position that requires the occupant to have masochistic tendencies?

Stop! Go! Beware!

With Mike Huckabee down and Fred Thompson out in Florida, Tuesday’s Sunshine State primary promises a three-way brawl among Rudolph Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney. Voters there, and beyond, should regard these three candidates like lamps in a traffic signal.

Hillary’s defender-in-chief

It started with dismissive talk of a fairy tale, then deteriorated into more of a nightmare.

As he campaigns for his wife, Bill Clinton has been taking aim at her rival Barack Obama and the media with increasing rancor, trading the roles of elder statesman and supportive spouse for that of attack dog.

Obama is scrapping, too, going after the former president with increasingly heated criticism, and getting testy with reporters himself at times.

Kucinich drops White House bid

Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is abandoning his second bid for the White House. In an interview with Cleveland’s Plain Dealer, the six-term congressman said he was quitting the race and would make a formal announcement on Friday.

“I will be announcing that I’m transiting out of the presidential campaign,” Kucinich said. “I’m making that announcement tomorrow about a new direction.”

Kucinich, who was elected to the House in 1996, faces a tough race for re-election.

Politics heads South

The center of gravity in the intense battles for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations has now moved South, notably to Florida and South Carolina. John McCain won the latter state’s Republican primary on Saturday Jan. 19.

Rudy fades in California

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who for months was the first presidential choice of California Republicans, may have blown it.

A new statewide Field Poll is the latest survey to confirm that Giuliani, who sat out the first round of primaries to concentrate on the big states such as Florida and California, has slipped behind Arizona Sen. John McCain and other Republican hopefuls.