Fred Thompson drops out – UPDATED

UPDATE:::Beth confirms, FDT wants a veep slot:::END UPDATE

Not really a surprise:

“Today, I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort,” Thompson said in a statement.

Thompson’s fate was sealed last Saturday in the South Carolina primary, when he finished third in a state that he had said he needed to win.

In the statement, Thompson did not say whether he would endorse any of his former rivals. He was one of a handful of members of Congress who supported Arizona Sen. John McCain in 2000 in his unsuccessful race against George W. Bush for the party nomination.

Clearly this will be a big gain – at least initially – for Mitt Romney, because the Thompson supporters seem to distrust McCain, and from my email I know too many of them are afraid of Giuliani’s “serial adultery and cross dressing.”

I referred to Fred below as the “flirt who would not put out.” I don’t think he ever really wanted it. Perhaps the spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak? More likely the ego was flattered but the heart said, “nah.” As I said here, a president has to be more than an embodiment of a mood.

More here:

Fans trying to draft him as a candidate launched an online effort, seizing on his conservative Senate voting record as well as his lumbering 6-foot-5 frame and deep baritone as they argued that he was right out of central casting. They painted him as the second coming of Ronald Reagan and the would-be savior of a Republican Party demoralized after electoral losses in 2006 at all levels of government.
He delayed his expected summertime entrance in the race until fall, perhaps missing an opening created by McCain’s near campaign implosion.

Ed Morrissey has still more:

It seems like an opportunity lost, but perhaps one that may have been overestimated from the beginning.

Breathe. Take a deep breath and let it out. Now, begin again. Then consider that Huckabee may be out next.

It’s just getting interesting.

Jim Geraghty says Fred should have punched more hippies.

John Stephenson and Michelle Malkin wonder what happens next. Well, here is my big raspberry to the folks who claim they’ll sit it out.

Beth extends thanks to Thompson for pushing the other candidates rightward.

Rick Moran is in mourning.

Bob Krumm is heading Rudyward…sort of.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Pastor_Jeff

    I’ve been both frustrated with and disappointed in Thompson. More than any other candidate, he’s articulated a clear agenda of smaller government, lower taxes, and strong defense, but I don’t think he’s willing to do what it takes to get the job to make those things happen.

    I don’t think Sen. Thompson will lose any sleep over ending his campaign — which means he has the kind of internal strength of character that is sorely needed in Washington. It’s a shame. Pretty much the only people who can get the job are ones you probably don’t want to have it.

    Then again, the Republic has survived worse Presidents than the current crop of candidates. That’s the blessing of checks and balances and Constitutional government.

  • Kimsch

    I do wish he had held out for two more weeks until ÜberTuesday so I could have voted for him. I still can as he’s still on the ballot. Illinois has a bubble to mark for the candidate and then three choices for delegates… so I could vote for him but for delegates for someone else, or vote for his delegates and someone else, or split it and vote for him and three others for delegates… oooohh my brain hurts….

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    the “flirt who would not put out”

    Then again, maybe folks just need to grow up and act like political adults. A vast majority of conservatives agreed with Thompson and felt most comfortable with his philosophical views, but because Thompson refused to pander to them and give them butt massages, they would not take him seriously. He said he wanted to be president — what more do you want??? It’s not enough to take some folks at their word?

    He said he wanted to be president, and conservatives agreed with him. Accordingly, conservatives should have supported him, rather than wait for him to bow and beg before them. Conservatives constantly talk about self-reliance and rugged individualism, and then when there is a time for them to act themselves in their own self-interests, instead of taking action for themselves, they sit and expect someone else to do all the heavy lifting, they sit and look around to see what everyone else is going to do, like sheep, instead of taking charge of things themselves. Look, the purpose of electing Fred Thompson was not to award Fred Thompson for years of service, it wasn’t for him — it was for us. The purpose of electing him was that it was in our own best interests, not his.

    Now, all these folks who have been too clever by half, basing their support and votes on “tactical” considerations of “who can win,” are going to end up with one of four flavors of RINO. Sure, he won’t be Hillary, but do not delude yourself into thinking that any of the remainders are your friend.

  • TheAnchoress

    Well, gosh, Bender…as Hillary would say, “that hurts my feelings…”

    I mean…I’m a RINO…and I am still the country’s friend! :-)

    Which is sort of my point. The best candidate available does not have to be Rush Limbaugh’s or “conservatism’s” perfect construct.

    He might be someone who just loves America passionately and will do his very best for her.

    But nowadays, that’s just not enough. There have to be all of these purity pledges and litmus tests.

    We get the candidates we deserve.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    You’re absolutely, positively NOT a RINO — as I just posted below.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    To expand further — my understanding of the species known as RINO is that they are closet liberal Democrats — not principled classical liberals (which are the modern-day conservatives), as I understand our gracious hostess to be.

  • joeh

    Some say Hillary Clinton is not a uniter, but a divider. I disagree. If she is nominated, you will see the republican party unite as never before. She is one who will get out the vote for the republicans as none other could.
    My prediction is that the democratic primary is all about window dressing and that the plan will be a Clinton Obama ticket with the act being that both are doing this act of goodness to unite the party. The words between them now are just like a wrestling match. The press will gush when Obama says yes to Hillary as a great sacrifice for the party unity. women and blacks will rejoice that now they can have both of them on one ticket running against the evils of Bush.
    When we vote, we should be looking at how can defeat this two headed monster. It is not just 4-8 years but potentially 16 years of pure liberalism. During that time, America will change forever as a country. I also think this ticket will sweep into office maybe a veto proof majority.
    This is not a time to sit on the sidelines. this is the war we have all talked about for the last 30 years.

  • March Hare

    Either Michelle Malkin or Captain Ed mentioned that Mr. Thompson’s mother is seriously ill and he was caring for her. I haven’t read any more about it–but it would certainly explain why he’s seemed distracted during this campaign.

    Perhaps he decided there is a time for country and a time for family–and the country came in second? If so, I’m not blaming him a bit.

  • philwynk

    Thompson ran the campaign that best qualifies a man for President. He addressed the issues seriously, thoughtfully, and at length. He refused to return dirty tactics in kind. He actually did not particularly want to be President, and yes, that is a huge qualifying characteristic for a leader.

    And nobody paid attention, which tells us that what we’ve said all along that we want, isn’t really what most of us want.

    America, like all other nations on the planet, gets the leaders it truly deserves. This is not a flattering truth. Especially if another Clinton wins. Blame the fool in the mirror.

    (Unrelated to this topic, please visit my political blog, “Plumb Bob Blog: Squaring the Culture,” here. Thanks.)
    [edited to insert link - admin]

  • http://none Darrell

    People fell for the MSM spin again. When will they wake up!
    The Media wants McCain(or the Huckster) to be the candidate so that we will lose in November. Got it now?
    If that happens, God will certainly NOT be to blame. . .

    Now go sell your stocks at a loss! The Media and the Dems want you to! The economy has to be on the front burner if “It’s the economy, Stupid!” is going to work again. Afterall, they called twelve out of the last two recessions.

  • joeh

    Fred Thompson ran a campaign not to be elected. If a person came in acting like he did wanting a job, I would not hire him. You want someone with fire in the belly.

    However, I say again, the ticket the republicans will face will be Hillary Clinton and Obama. They are running to bring the democrat liberal wing to power for 16 years. When Hillary wins the nomination, she will become the uniter of the party and the country by asking Obama to run with her. He, loving his country over any personal angst, accept for the good of the country. The press will wet their pants trying to gush over these wonderful people who have set aside personal differences and a tough campaign to do everything for the people. The deal is made and all these so called battles are simply a show. It is a done deal and we are simply watching the play.

  • amcalabrese

    >He actually did not particularly want to be President, and yes, that is a huge qualifying characteristic for a leader.

    Phil, I agree with you. While I am a McCain supporter, especially by the end Thompson was clearly my second choice. He did not pander, did not play games, just explained his beliefs.

    He would have been a nice dull Cincinatus. Unfortunately in this era of YouTube and 24/7 news channels to be president you have to be a rock star wannabe.

    Hopefully, we have not heard the last of Thompson, and while he will never run for office again (except, maybe Vice President), I think he will remain a prominent player.

  • rightwingprof

    Fred was Fred, he was always going to be Fred, and he wasn’t going to change for anybody. He wanted it. He just wasn’t going to jump through all of the media hoops to get it. Some of us considered that a plus.