NEWS BLOG (WSAU) I’m writing today’s News Blog before Tommy Thompson’s official announcement, but there is near-unanimous agreement that he’s not running for U.S. Senate.
I didn’t live in Wisconsin when Thompson was governor. To me, Thompson is only a name. But I still have some thoughts on his teasing over the last four months.
Thompson must have an unbridled ego. Surely he knows that being ‘on the fence’ for months crowds out other Republican candidates, and makes fundraising almost impossible. None of that seems to matter to Thompson, who seems to like hearing his name mentioned in polls.
Thompson’s slow decision making is also disingenuous. Many people can make significant, life-changing decisions in a matter of days or weeks. Thompson could have taken a month to decide if he’s in or out. Taking longer is either someone who doesn’t know their own mind, or someone who likes keeping others guessing. Neither are good traits for a candidate.
And Thompson is not as good a candidate today as he was before. Thompson’s party has shifted further right, where he’s considered a moderate within the GOP. Many Republicans would support Thompson as a default, being more enthusiastic about getting Russ Feingold out of office than getting Thompson in. It’s possible that his announcement of not getting into the race would be greeted with cheers at the Madison tea party.
Wisconsin GOP chairman Reince Priebus is correct when he said its unhealthy for his party for every office to be ‘hold’ until the party knows whether Tommy Thompson or Paul Ryan is interested in running for it. Party leaders are supposed to do all they can to win elections. Priebus knows that Thompson has damaged his party’s chances.
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