I think Thompson and his meek withdrawal from the race carry several lessons. First, being president and running for president take more than saying the "right" things. There are personal attributes --drive, determination, leadership and organizational skills -- that matter. The presidency is not the same (though some of us wish differently) as being a thoughtful pundit. It is an executive and leadership position. Second, campaigns tell us something about how people will perform in office. Are they steadfast and brave or lazy or groveling? Pay attention because adults rarely change their basic personality and character. Third, will this matter? Thompson's appeal seemed to overlap most closely with Huckabee. Both attracted southerners and social conservatives. However, disaffected Romney voters who found Thompson more appealing may now gravitate back to Romney. Or they may disperse among many candidates. Finally, many of my colleagues and readers will note that I was quite critical of his non-campaign and his ineffective efforts once he entered but I take no joy in being "right." He is an honorable and decent person with consistent and well thought out positions. He'll be missed.
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