Republican voters believe Hillary will be the nominee and that she will be extraordinarily tough to beat.So, track and see whether or not he is correct...
They also know it will require an enormous amount of money and energy to beat her.
The vast majority of them know this political context limits their choices to one of two candidates: Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.
There isn't going to a stampede to Huckabee or a Fred Revival, period. If Romney can deliver three or four early wins and back it up with the cash he has amassed plus much of his own on February 5, he will be the nominee.
If he can't, Rudy will be the nominee.
Fred Thompson has been making a bit of a splash today, first of all with the release of his plan for income taxes, which is pretty interesting. It offers a simple option, with very limited deductions (for example, no deduction for mortgage interest payments) and only two rates (10% up to $100,000 for couples filing jointly, and 25% above that). The personal deductions and those for children are such that a family of four would pay no tax at all on earnings up to $39,000. Feasible? Who knows, but it is a plan, and serves as a good point of discussion. As might be expected, some folk are already saying that the country cannot afford it (see the comments on this site). This is a legitimate area for discussion, but it should be remembered that Fred has given us something concrete to discuss, and that should be considered good.
Another issue with Fred Thompson has been the charge that he is lazy when campaigning. It would appear that this is not the case. I wonder who might spread such tales, and why? In addition to that, Fred was on Fox News Sunday today. Some said he did well, others thought he did poorly. I think he is playing the game a different way, and that carries both risks and rewards. For Fred, he has to make it to South Carolina, win there, and still have enough momentum (or cash - the two may be effectively equivalent) to do well in the Southern States on February 5. Watch this space...
The pace will pick up relentlessly between now and Christmas, so I will leave tomorrow for Europe, to see what they are saying about the race over there (if anything!). With luck, and a certain degree of electronic cooperation, I shall be able to post while over there.