I hope that this theory is wrong. Lots of conservatives would welcome the entry of Fred Thompson into the race. If he really intends to be nothing but a stalking horse for McCain, then a lot of conservatives will... stop watching Law and Order.
That's not really the sort of threat that's likely to get much attention.
There is, however, another theory circulating about Thompson, one being floated by critics of the Tennessean. Some Republican insiders suspect that Thompson, who makes no effort to hide his close friendship with McCain, instead might be working a behind-the-scenes, McCain-orchestrated strategy to build support among conservatives for the Arizonan.
According to this theory, Thompson – who backed McCain in the 2000 presidential primary race – would build support and anticipation among conservatives for his own campaign, and then abruptly direct them instead to McCain's camp.
Sources note that Thompson and McCain had an extensive telephone conversation on March 9, just two days before Thompson discussed his presidential ambitions on "Fox News Sunday." And both camps have worked hard to keep the substance of that conversation private.
I don't think that this would really work. McCain has earned distrust on the Right on his own; conservatives will not flock back to him at Thompson's say-so. If Thompson runs for a while and then drops out, those supporters who came from Giuliani, Romney, or someone else, are more likely to return to someone other than McCain - for the same reasons they are not backing McCain now.
Color me skeptical.
Hat Tip: ALa