Thompson's Candidacy In Retrospect

He was NOT lazy; his command of policy equaled or exceeded that of his rivals, and he was, as he said, pretty clearly a consistent conservative for his public life. But his staff was poorly managed; it started much too late; his campaign was riven by internal fueds and suspicions: one faction accused the other of leaking to reporters.

He had a nomination strategy that was plausible enough: do well in Iowa, build a bridge to South Carolina, earn delegates everywhere, defeat a single rival handily on Feb. 5 in the Southern states, and earn the establishment's backing.

Demographically, he alienated Republican women. Mike Huckabee effectively shut off his support in Iowa and South Carolina. In truth, he could have campaign a little more and emphasized retail, rather than stump speeches. He did not raise as much money as he could have, in part because so many donors wondered whether his heart was in the race.

And in many ways, he tried to occupy a space that John McCain more credibly occupied; national security strength, straight talk on the economic challenges facing the country and resiliency.

Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This wildly inventive short film takes you on a whirling, spinning tour of the Big Apple

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Politics

Just In