At the risk of making this a habit, I agree with 99% of what you say, Quin, with one quibble and one addition. Given all you say I don’t see how Thompson might be the best candidate against Hillary. His opponents have problems too but he doesn’t strike me as the fellow to convince others beyond the core GOP base that he’s the one to get the country on the right track. In addition to all you note about his Jay Leno appearance, I go back to the setting — a cheesy late night show(Johnny Carson it ain’t). If you are trying to be the gravitas guy it seems a classier setting would have set a better tone. Hawking Newt’s ideas to make the debates more substantive lost some credibility when delivered from Jay’s couch (really it is a chair). More for those who haven’t heard it all by now, here.
UPDATE: Rush agrees on the setting.