Most Republicans won't admit it, but Bush's trouble articulating his views . . . is a major irritation on the right. There's a reason that IMAO's No. 1 "Fred Thompson Fact" is "Fred Thompson has on multiple occasions pronounced 'nuclear' correctly."
After eight years of being embarrased by Bush, it seems that Goldberg wants Republican candidates to return to the simplest kinds of personal competence. Actually, that's not fair. Goldberg doesn't just want competence. He wants "conservative competence." Giuliani, McCain, and Romney might be competent but they aren't conservative enough from Goldberg's point of view. What Goldberg wants is basic personal competence from a real conservative.
And Fred Thompson's the guy. You can almost hear conservative pundits breaking into cheers over Thompson. "Fred, Fred, he's our guy/if he can't do it Newt will try." However, Goldberg is not so unreasonable that he's necessarily demanding that Thompson be competent in real life.
And Fred Thompson just seems so darn competent. Whether he's the ideal president or just plays one on TV remains to be seen. He's certainly typecast himself as the cocksure, wise, hands-on type in almost every movie role he's had and as the district attorney on "Law & Order."
And this sums up the basic conundrum of the Republican right. Association with the Bush administration, the Republican Congress, and lobbyists like Jack Abramoff has hallowed out the conservative activist wing of the Republican Party of potential presidential candidates. George Allen and Rick Santorum lost, Bill Frist opted out, the Bush cabinet is loaded with non-entities, and no generals have emerged as stars from the Iraq War. So conservatives are grasping at their last straw, a guy who plays a competent conservative on television.
But Thompson can pronounce "nuclear" and lots of other words. So the Republicans should be given credit for raising standards.