Monday, August 13, 2007

Tommy Thompson drops presidential bid

Well, it appears that Tommy Thompson is out of the GOP race for the White House. This is from MSNBC News:

MILWAUKEE - Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson said Sunday he is dropping out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination after finishing sixth in an Iowa straw poll.

"I have no regrets about running," he said in a statement released Sunday evening by his campaign.

"I felt my record as Governor of Wisconsin and Secretary of Health and Human Services gave me the experience I needed to serve as president, but I respect the decision of the voters. I am leaving the campaign trail today, but I will not leave the challenges of improving health care and welfare in America."

Thompson realized that the game was up--right after all the millions Mitt Romney spent buying votes in the Ames straw poll. According to this August 9, 2007 Washington Post story:

One candidate, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, has assembled an unrivaled operation for the event: a statewide corps of 60 "super-volunteers," who have been paid between $500 and $1,000 per month to talk him up; a fleet of buses; more than $2 million in television ads in Iowa; a sleek direct-mail campaign; and a consultant who has been paid nearly $200,000 to direct Romney's straw poll production, which will include barbecue billed as the best in the state.

Facing off against this are a half-dozen candidates whose combined Iowa expenditures through the end of June did not match the $1 million Romney had spent by that point, not including his many TV ads. Tommy Thompson, the former Wisconsin governor, advertised in the Denison Bulletin & Review at a cost of $297. Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback has been luring voters to Ames by sending out "brown bracelets" to wear around town ("a great conversation starter with friends and neighbors"). Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) is offering a tour of Washington -- dinner included -- to anyone who brings 25 friends to Ames.


Romney is waging what amounts to a one-sided financial war, bidding himself up against candidates who have raised less money during the entire campaign to date than Romney is likely to spend just for the straw poll.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee had raised $766,000 by June 30, according to the Federal Election Commission. Brownback and Tancredo had each raised $1.4 million. Texas Rep. Ron Paul brought in $2.37 million. Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.) and Tommy Thompson raised $814,000 and $487,000, respectively.

They are waging spirited campaigns. Brownback has used inflammatory automated telephone calls to capture attention. Huckabee and Brownback have sparred about religion and abortion. And all have been to Iowa in buses, cars and even the occasional plane.

But Romney's money gives him a huge advantage in a contest that is less about persuading undecided voters and more about bringing warm bodies to Ames. Officials with other campaigns have complained privately that some local party activists have said they would like to support their candidate but felt compelled to back Romney because of the stipends he was offering.

The reality here is that Mitt Romney outspent every other GOP candidate, essentially buying up the Ames votes. Thompson raised only $487,000 by June 30--of which a good portion of it was probably spent trying to buy up some Thompson votes in Ames. I'm guessing that the Thompson campaign went for broke on the Ames straw poll, and came up very short of the campaign's expectations. So Thompson had to bow out.

So we now have the first casualty for the GOP presidential candidate. Who is next? I'm guessing either Duncan Hunter or John McCain will drop out after Iowa, unless either of them will get a strong showing in the Iowa caucus. And the reason is simply money. Duncan Hunter ended up in ninth place on the Ames straw poll results--if he can't move up in the Iowa caucuses, then he is not going to get the money he needs to continue his campaign. And as for the McCain campaign, well they're just about flat broke. The McCain campaign avoided the Ames poll to probably keep their operations going through the Iowa caucus. And McCain needs a big showing in Iowa in order to stay alive as well. So the race is getting interesting here.


emphasa said...

Don't worry. America will vote for whomever has the most televised visibility. This means that the best way to get your name out there is to appear on "America's got Talent" (according to Neilsen.)

(Despite media claims that youTube is the new electoral medium, I doubt the morons that loiter around on youTube all day have the motivation to vote.)

Eric A Hopp said...

Hello Emphasa:

You get a chocolate brownie point for that comment! You're right that presidential candidates and television have been going hand in hand since the Nixon-Kennedy debates, where right now any incompetent moron, with less than half a brain cell left after a booze and coke binge, can be elected president simply because he can whore himself better on the boob tube than the rest of the candidates. I think we're going to see the next level of evolution between presidential candidates and television--Fox News American Presidents! Patterned after the American Idol series, each week the presidential candidates will perform their dog and pony show before the studio and televised audience. They will receive constructive criticism from a panel of judges which will include Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. And at the end of the show, the entire studio and televised audience can vote who will be led off the island. Just think--instead of a year and a half of presidential politics, we can have the entire presidential campaign, and election, done in around 13 weeks.

I don't think the presidential candidates should go on America's got talent, because most of these candidates don't even have any sort of "talent," that is, unless you call prostitution a talent. And here the Republicans are far better at prostituting themselves on their corporate interests and rich elites, which could make them superstars on the TV presidential talent shows--hey, the corporate media would love big ratings and big advertising dollars, so they're willing to pay the GOP to prostrate themselves.

And as for the YouTubers, they may just take on the American Presidents political talent show. At least they can post the candidates' dog and pony shows on YouTube.