Proud of a No Nothing Campaign? | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Proud of a No Nothing Campaign?
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Campaign press shops routinely call our attention to columns which have nice things to say about their candidate. Today Thompson’s communications team sent around a Jonathan Martin column on Thompson’s Florida travels. It did include a number of comments from many locals who spoke favorably of him and stressed his folksy appeal. However, Martin also said this:
Taping a television interview for a Tampa-area news channel after his appearance at the Villages, a still-sweaty Thompson offered little when asked two questions by the St. Petersburg Times’ Adam C. Smith that nearly every presidential candidate who has touched down on Florida soil this year has faced – property insurance and Terri Schiavo.

He effectively punted on both, saying that he knew that the hurricane-induced insurance crunch is ‘an issue,’ but that he didn’t ‘know enough about it yet.’

The matter of whether Congress was right to intervene to save the life of Schiavo was even worse, as Thompson said didn’t ‘know all the facts surrounding that case.’

‘That’s going back in history,’ he added of the 2005 controversy, forcing his campaign to later plead with The Associated Press to change their characterization of Thompson’s answer from not having an opinion to not offering one.

For conservatives, it was another in a string of Thompson statements since his entry into the race that may give them pause. Since his launch 10 days ago, Thompson has indicated that Osama bin Laden should get ‘due process,’ stated that he doesn’t support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and admitted that he doesn’t belong to a church at home in McLean, Va.”

Why would a communications team highlight an article with all this in it? Several possibilities: 1) they didn’t read the whole thing; 2) they are exhibiting an previously unrevealed sense of modesty and candor about their man; or 3) they are running a deliberating anti-intellectual campaign–overtly saying ideas and their candidate’s own misstatements don’t matter because Thompson’s folksy appeal is going to carry the day. If the third, the conservative pundits who have been pooh-poohing George Will and contending Thompson’s start hasn’t been so bad may have second and third thoughts. Other than contravening a key premise of the modern conservative movement –ideas matter and conservatives can win on the battlefield of ideas– it’s a remarkable tactic in a time when conservatives bemoan the fact that the President cannot articulate the case for the most important issue of the day. But maybe they just didn’t read the whole column. (In which case Bob Novak is right–the Thompson staff shouldn’t have turned down offers of help.)

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