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Jon Fleischman

Romero: Thompson’s South Carolina Debate Response Better Late Than Never

I was talking with my good friend Nicholas Romero, whom FR readers know as the former Managing Editor of the FlashReport. Nick was very animated after watching Thursday night’s Presidential debate. Nick’s been very passionate about this Presidential campaign season – he’s a big supporter of Fred Thompson, actually. Anyways, after talking with Nick a bit, I asked him if he would be willing to pen his “take” on the debate for FR readers. So, in Nick’s own literary style, here’s what he sent over…  Flash

Better Late Than Never

Well, this past week has been a rollercoaster. The open New Hampshire primary (they allow Democrats and Independents to vote in the Republican Primary in the Granite State) had conservative Republicans staring down the very real and undesirable prospect of a McCain nomination. However, I think New Hampshire’s surprising results have awoken the fusionist base. We do not want to see the party fall the way of the Whigs. We have caught a glimpse of the party slipping through our fingers in this presidential election and we are starting to rebel.

This made Thursday night’s debate in South Carolina, the first Southern, sanctioned, pre-Tsunami Tuesday primary, very important. With news that Romney had ceased airing advertisements in the state in order to be able to afford to play with McCain in Michigan (the next sanctioned early primary) and Giuliani’s own financial difficulties and focus on Florida, South Carolina has been billed as the fight for the indispensibly Republican South between the two Southern candidates, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Fred Thompson of Tennessee. Sure, Florida is in the South, but it’s not considered a politically Southern state. South Carolinian Republicans provide the litmus test for the rest of their Southern brethren.  Watched by the largest number of viewers to date (3.6 million) according to Drudge Report, this debate was inarguably crucial.

Since Huckabee’s shock win in the Iowa Caucuses, he’s largely suffered from his frontrunner status at the hands of the pundits. The Wall Street Journal published a scathing piece on the Governor’s apparent European Christian Democracy and its assertions have been debated and affirmed across wide expanses of the conservative blogosphere. But not one of his opponents had successfully cited examples of Huckabee’s transgressions and introduced an attractive alternative. That is, until last night.

For those of you who haven’t seen the debate, I’m going to post a clip. This had FR’s blogging compatriots over at National Review Online (who, due only to Thompson’s customarily laid-back approach to campaigning, endorsed Romney) salivating.

But Thompson didn’t’ stop there. He took the stage Thursday night with the fire conservatives have demanded he bring to the presidential contest.

For a conservative who happens to be Latino, who has no sympathy for those demanding to be considered a welcome addition to our nation after breaking our laws, but who has enormous sympathy for lawful people seeking a better life in peace and freedom, Thompson’s answer on immigration was spot on.

Thompson also established his considerable knowledge of and intelligent approach to foreign policy with answers on Pakistan and the United States Navy’s recent confrontation with Iranian aggressors in the Strait of Hormuz.

It was due to this new, aggressive Fred Thompson that the ubiquitous Fox News Frank Luntz focus group found him to be the undeniable victor in the debate.


Rush Limbaugh, who has said he thinks Thompson is the only consistent conservative in the race, was exasperated with excitement at the conclusion.

Coupled with the release Friday morning of the endorsement of Fred Thompson by President Reagan’s “favorite newspaper,” the venerable conservative periodical Human Events, the former Senator must be regarded again by all doubters to be a serious contender for the Republican nomination. He’s currently riding a very powerful wave. Should he win South Carolina’s 24 delegate votes, he’s back amongst the top tier going into Tsunami Tuesday (of which California is a part).

In California, Thompson still has the chance to pull off an upset. With the endorsement and assistance of conservative icon Tom McClintock and a wave of good, obligatory media recognition of a South Carolina victory, the dark horse could become the lead horse in the Golden State, making conservative supporters and prospective delegates of his – like me – very happy. Visit if you’d like to join us. As the Senator has shown us this week, there’s still time to make a large impact.


Nicholas Romero
Managing Editor Emeritus

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