Politico has an interesting take on the new players on Fred Thompson's team. The article makes a point that both the new players --Randy Enwright and Spencer Abraham-- are lobbyists/ “consultants.” There is a certain “shocked, shocked to see there’s gambling going on in there” (Casablanca reference for those saying “huh?”) quality since no one should be surprised that a GOP candidate would have just such connected people working for him. Indeed, Abraham is highly regarded inside the Beltway and could be a significant asset to Thompson if given real authority. However, Thompson opponents contend these changes have some additional meaning ---further complicating Thompson's "outsider" approach which was already in doubt after revelations about his lobbying for a pro-choice group. An advisor to an opponent comments “The façade was falling brick by brick at first, but now the entire structural foundation of his potential candidacy is crumbling fast. The fact that Spence Abraham is also a
I think the whole "outsider" tag is rather silly anyway and is best left in the consultant's trash can. Thompson is no Ross Perot (this is a good thing, by the way) and pretending that he is simply distracts from the task of carving out a real political niche in the race and developing policy positions. He wants to be the Movement Conservative or the more stable 3-Legged Stool (one-upping Romney); the difficulty will be in establishing a spot in the field where he can be a more solid choice than his opponents for conservatives. He will need to overcome concerns about electability (how will he do against Hillary?) and lack of executive experience. If we start getting substantive speeches and interviews with national press which lay out a clear rationale for his campaign (and maybe even an accelerated announcement date) we’ll know Abraham is having an effect.
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