The battle cry for former Sen. Fred Thompson to save the Republican Party from its current field of candidates could dwindle to a murmur soon.
Although the Tennessee Republican is managing to attract a lot of free publicity these days, he is starting to get some scrutiny. The reviews are hardly encouraging.
Even conservative columnist Bob Novak was not impressed with a Thompson appearance last week in California. Thompson's fans may see him as another Ronald Reagan, but he has a long way to go to imitate the Gipper.
Yes, Thompson left the Senate to pursue an acting career. He has played a district attorney, a CIA director, and a secretary of defense in movies and TV. He will play President Ulysses Grant this summer.
Thompson's main cheerleader is former Sen. Howard Baker of Tennessee, who had a distinguished record in the Senate, as White House chief of staff, and as ambassador to Japan.
Thompson is not a moderate like Howard Baker. His tenure in the Senate was pedestrian at best. He had a conservative voting record but at times was a lone vote in a 99-to-1 tally.
In 2000, he backed Sen. John McCain's candidacy against then Gov. George W. Bush. I'd wager a lot of Bushies don't know that bit of history.
If Thompson does get in, others in the field will not give him a free pass. His record in public and private life will get a much closer inspection.
The little secret about Thompson is that he is not a workaholic. Jokes about it are already making the political circuit.
Reagan made it for two terms and even laughed at his reputation for being lazy. But can Thompson make the grade?