Yet, he has a point -- in fact, he has a number of good ones, and his gut level feeling is shared by nearly all conservatives we talk to. While our Thompsonesque leanings are clear here at MH, we still remain skittish and skeptical. We still need to see how he performs under fire.
Regarding money, Thompson has been caught in a bit of a bind. It is clearly to his advantage not to declare as a formal candidate yet. But in delaying a formal declaration, he doesn't yet have to do the formal paperwork regarding finances.
Democrats have been all over this, planning to file charges against Thompson. For a party that is sure to capture the White House and to expand their majorities in Congress, they are acting awfully concerned about Thompson.
The charge is a bogus one, since once Thompson formally declares, he will retroactively have to report all of the donations that he received during the "exploratory" phase. That is why Thompson is only accepting donations that meet FEC guidelines.
So, in a deliciously good move, Thompson has made his Friends of Fred Thompson a 527 organization -- he will now be able to report all money just as his opponents are demanding, yet keep formally out of the race with the psychological advantages he has in that position. And he is on the right side of McCain-Feingold, just like Michael Moore, George Soros, and all the other big-money types dedicated to defeating Republicans.
And those narrow-minded religious conservatives appear to be prepared to back Thompson -- a not terribly religious guy, and just as MH would have predicted, Rudy Guiliani is actually their back-up candidate. Guiliani may be a social liberal, but he pushes all of the right strict-constructionist buttons, and by not backing off from his personal views, doesn't seem phony like Romney.