On paper Flipp should be running away with the nomination, but he continues to lose ground to this second rate actor. Why?

Digby is reading a book which lays it out.

Reductively speaking, Thompson stands as the Daddy Party’s dream Daddy–although a Daddy of a very particular type. Forget the nurturing, “compassionate conservative” model of Bush’s 2000 candidacy, which has been roundly discredited on the right. Forget, too, the blustery, “Bring it on!” swagger that W. adopted after September 11, a little-guy machismo one also sees in Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Thompson’s manliness is laconic rather than feisty, a style more John Wayne than Jimmy Cagney. “He’s a big man,” says Duncan. “He has a way of filling or dominating a room.” And, as all of us recall from our schoolyard days, big guys like Thompson don’t need to run around picking fights, talking smack, and constantly reminding us of how tough they are because, well, look at them.

The main stream media has a “daddy complex” as well – so all of the positive attributes that Republicans project onto Thompson because of his height are picked up and amplified in the press.

Among more serious journalists, The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes has developed a particularly intense man-crush on Thompson, penning a series of breathless valentines about the fledgling campaign, starting with a 6,000-word profile in April that gushed: “As we spoke, I was struck by the fact that Thompson didn’t seem to be calibrating his answers for a presidential run. On issue after contentious issue, I got the sense from both his manner and the answer he gave me that he was just speaking extemporaneously.” Nor is it only the conservative media getting high on the smell of testosterone. The creepiest musings about Thompson’s “sex appeal” thus far have come from NBC’s Chris Matthews, the machismo-obsessed id of the Washington media, who recently cooed: “Can you smell the English leather on this guy, the Aqua Velva, the sort of mature man’s shaving cream, or whatever, you know, after he shaved? Do you smell that sort of–a little bit of cigar smoke?”

Yuk. If I were reading this without having read the News Journal and Celia Cohen for the past few years gushing about the intangible manliness of our local trio of political giants I would have been a little wary of the premise. Afterall, how could people be so gullible and stupid? Right?

Wrong.

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