Fred Thompson: "I'm Not Particularly Interested in Running for President"
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It's not exactly a secret that Fred Thompson's presidential campaign isn't going well. By some measures, that's a surprise -- he's plenty conservative; he's never flip-flopped on key issues; and he's not a member of a religious minority that the GOP base finds offensive. Simply as a matter of process of elimination, this guy should be huge.
There is, of course, a problem: Thompson apparently has no interest in actually running for president.
There's no shortage of stories about Thompson running a lackluster campaign that seems to include avoiding voters. Here's a good example. Here's another, another and another. It's as if the former senator is allergic to retail politics.
Given all of this, Thompson offered an unusual admission yesterday: his heart's really not into all of this.
"I'm not particularly interested in running for president," the former senator said at a campaign event in Burlington when challenged by a voter over his desire to be commander-in-chief.
"But I think I'd make a good president," Thompson continued. "I have the background, capability, and concern to do this and I'm doing it for the right reasons." [...]
"I am not consumed by personal ambition," Thompson also said Saturday. "I'm offering myself up.... I'm only consumed by a few things and politics is not one of them."
I've seen quite a few reactions that Thompson's candid remarks are a good thing. Overly-ambitious candidates consumed with political gain are somehow unseemly, the theory goes, so Thompson is a breath of fresh air -- he wants to be president, but he has no taste for the silly, often demoralizing process.
I'm just not so sure this is a plus.
Steve Benen is a freelance writer/researcher and creator of The Carpetbagger Report. In addition, he is the lead editor of Salon.com's Blog Report, and has been a contributor to Talking Points Memo, Washington Monthly, Crooks & Liars, The American Prospect, and the Guardian.