Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tommy Thompson Finally Gets Some Love

Political Insider notes the appeal of the candidate I have said could play a more prominent role before this is over: Tommy Thompson:

Former Governor Tommy Thompson (R-WI). I know, he has no money, no name ID, and is not a national figure. But let me remind you of what sets him apart:

1) Executive experience - He was Governor for 14 years -- that's winning four separate elections) and Wisconsin is a swing state and borders two other swing states, Iowa and Michigan.

2) Health care expert - At Secretary of HHS for the first George W. Bush term, he has been at the forefront of a wide range of medical issues, including pandemic flu preparedness, medical diplomacy, digitalization of medical records, including Verichips, and the prescription drug benefit. As Governor he started Badgercare in Wisconsin, which became a model for other states, to help people without employer-offered health insurance who made too much money to qualify for Medicare. Health Care is always an issue which the Democrats dominate, but in this case Thompson could neutralize them.

3) Personal story - He was born to humble roots in Elroy, Wisconsin, and is the perfect example of local boy makes good. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin and was a state representative, along with being a lawyer. He tells a great story about his wife surviving breast cancer and becoming a strong advocate on women's health issues. His daughter had breast cancer also, at a young age, and the drugs made her unable to bear children. So she had an egg frozen and his grandbaby was born healthy, beating the odds.

4) Commitment to Iowa - Thompson has said he will spend at least one day a week the rest of the year in Iowa. He isn't in limited within his schedule by being in public office currently, so he can campaign full-time. He has hired Steve Grubbs (former IA GOP Chair) and Brian Dumas (Iowa campaign veteran) to set up his field operation.

6) True conservative - He is a fiscal and social conservative and was on the short list for Vice President for Bob Dole in 1996.

I can see Thompson overtaking Huckabee and Brownback for many of these reasons, but fundraising will be his biggest issue. He will have to do well in the debates, gain momentum, and get lucky. But if he finishes second or third in Iowa, he could get "Big Mo" and then you're on your way.

I simply do not understand why Republican voters are not talking about Thompson more. He is worth a look.

If Republican voters are looking for a 'real conservative' as an alternative to Giuliani, McCain and Romney, then Thompson is the man to look at. Apart from the fact that he is one of the few true 'Reaganites' in the race, he's had unmatched political success in a major swing state at the heart of a swing region.

If Giuliani is the nominee, I suspect he will have to nominate a soutern conservative. But if the nominee is McCain or Romney, Thompson might be an extremely attractive choice for VP.

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