TheStar.com - comment (((taken from the New York Times)))
Sep 08, 2007 04:30 AM
Fred Thompson, erstwhile actor and senator, treated his fellow Republican aspirants for president like so many spear carriers on Wednesday night. He ducked their nationally televised debate yet managed to chew on the scenery by running his own campaign commercial during their show.
Ever since gaslight parades became old media, candidates have looked for risk-averse ways to stir top billing. Thompson's approach was to avoid a formal announcement until well after his rivals were strutting and stumbling from the wings.
Instead, he tinkered with a shadow campaign noteworthy mainly for its repeated staff shakeups. The noncandidate wandered the hustings unofficially (a new wardrobe director might be in order after he was spotted in Gucci loafers at the Iowa State Fair). He amiably teased the groundlings while his all-electronic campaign launch was in the works.
And . . . Action! Enter Iowa again on Thursday as Fred Thompson, official candidate and formal protagonist on the set. The scenario behind his roundabout approach was to generate national buzz on cable news and talk radio shows that would be more boffo than any possible substance from the GOP candidates' debate.
As they say of satire, substance is what closes on Saturday night. Well, no, Americans must hope not. This is such a long campaign season that maybe all the caperings and posturings of the candidates will play out early.
Maybe voters will be left hungrier for something more. For substance over stagecraft.