Which is a shame. But it's not like it was unexpected.
Bob Krumm wrote up an excellent piece yesterday documenting where the Thompson Campaign went wrong, What might have been . . . and what was:
We can only wonder what might have been, but we can analyze what was. And so here are ten lessons that we can take away from Fred’s campaign.
1. Hit the ground running. ... 2. Showmanship sells. ... 3. Never skip New Hampshire. ... 4. The best time to kick a man [McCain] is when he’s down. ... 5. Politics is a blood sport. ... 6. Since the media only print sentences don’t talk in paragraphs. ... 7. Every candidate needs a few friends in the media. ... 8. Like Dixville Notch, the internet picks losers. ... 9. If it’s the most important problem, but it doesn’t have a good solution, it’s not an important issue. ... 10. Build a base.
One final thought. Much will be made of Fred’s delayed entry to the race being the cause of his defeat. (Keep in mind that many of those making the case will be professional campaigners and pundits who directly benefit from extended campaigns.) I don’t think he began too late at all. Furthermore, I really wish he had won so that we could hold back this urge to begin campaigns earlier and earlier every four years. It’s like seeing Christmas decorations go up in the stores right after Labor Day. I hate it.
Fred’s start date, however, did mean that he wouldn’t be able to fail. At all. John McCain failed miserably. He was at zero– zero support, zero money, and zero staff—right about the time that Fred jumped in to the race. McCain made lots of mistakes in the previous year, but he has made the best of his second start. The manner in which Fred entered the race meant that he didn’t have time for a restart. He had to do it right the first time, and he didn’t. Oh, what might have been . . .
It's kind of sad that how-you-campaign seems to carry more weight than the policies you offer, but, alas, the world's not fair. To the extent Fred's campaign forced the other candidates to push conservatism, and to the degree he utterly exposed Mike "Give Fred Thompson Some Metamucil!" Huckabee as being anything but conservative, well - Fred, thanks for running.