My take in the Sunday Times:

Thompson is accused of being lazy. So was Ronald Reagan, of course. But there is a key difference between the Reagan of 1979 and the Thompson of 2007. Reagan had spent a lifetime honing arguments, finessing policy, articulating a broad philosophical view, while proposing concrete and radical policy options.

Thompson has a legislative record as a senator from Tennessee that is all but invisible. Yes, he has a solid conservative record on taxes and other people’s spending. But he was a hog for his home-state pork barrel projects. He was, in other words, a popular backbencher – but no more. At times his candidacy feels merely like a rationale for a man who senses that Americans are deeply uneasy about their current leadership, wants to reassure them, but has no idea substantively how.

A thinker he isn’t. He’s rather a conveyor of mood. In a period of less moment, when less is at stake, this might be an aesthetic preference: a calm presence in a storm. But on the substance of war, and foreign policy, the Thompson shtick can seem somewhat detached from the needs of the moment.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to