No surprises here: Fred Thompson, after having done nothing more than form an exploratory committee and put up a website for folks to donate and join a mailing list, has moved into second place in the first national poll of likely Republican primary voters performed since he made that announcement. Someone over at Townhall.com, in reporting that news, made the following correct observation:
In April and May, many Republican insiders who consider themselves conservative, but not the wacky right, burned up telephone lines in search of an alternative to what many view as an uninspired group of candidates. When Thompson's name emerged, those close to him seized the moment.
Thompson's conservative purity is already being questioned by some (doubtless supporters of miffed back-of-the-pack candidates,) which is a good sign.
No matter how they slice it, anyone of sense is going to see Thompson as more authentically conservative than the other major candidates.
Unless Thompson messes it up (and he has yet to prove his ability to actually be a candidate) it looks like it may come down to him and Guiliani.