Peggy Noonan devotes a column to Senator Fred Thompson. The entire thing is a great read. Among her thoughts:
"He is running a great campaign. It's just not a declared campaign. It's a guerrilla campaign... It has been going on for months and is aimed at the major pleasure zones of the Republican brain. In a series of pointed columns, commentaries and podcasts, Mr. Thompson has been talking about things conservatives actually talk about.
"Right now Mr. Thompson has the best of both worlds, an air of fearlessness and nothing on the line. He hasn't committed. He's not in. He can take a chance and be himself because he's not afraid, and he's not afraid because he has nothing to lose."
This last point is something that I've been thinking about. Thompson is not being "careful" in the style of those declared candidates who, at this early stage, are simply trying not to mess up. (Unless you're John McCain, in which case your campaign is over.) As I mentioned the other day, I like that Thompson is willing to "mix it up." I can't imagine a declared candidate, for example, having the nerve to release something along the lines of Thompson's video response to Michael Moore. Thompson is using modern technology to publicize his refreshingly old-fashioned conservativism, saying, in essence, "This is who I am. Are you interested?" If we are, great, and if not, he's got a life. He'd probably be a great President, but unlike some people (Mrs. Clinton, for example), his future happiness is not predicated on retaining or gaining political power.
I disagree with those who think Thompson needs to get in the race now if he's serious. He's running a very cagey campaign by remaining outside the early, endless campaign season. I may well end up feeling differently if ultimately Thompson disappoints us and doesn't run, but for now I'm quite content with his "guerilla campaign."