The response to Michael Moore tipped their hand that they were going to go Net-heavy but now we’ve got not one but two reports confirming it. The first was Newsweek’s hit-and-run about Fred’s alleged laziness and now the WSJ chimes in:
Yet a late start and signs that Mr. Thompson may adopt an unconventional campaign style — limiting in-person appearances by making extensive use of blogging and online video — could crimp the television actor’s ability to raise money over the long haul. He has suggested he isn’t enamored of leaving his family for long stretches of campaign travel. The question is whether an Internet campaign will help him raise money quickly or leave big donors cold…
[I]n a hint of what could become a problem with an Internet-heavy strategy, [Rep. Zach] Wamp said Mr. Thompson fielded a number of questions about his platform in the conference call last week on positions that the candidate has already sketched out.
“The money people aren’t bloggers and activists, so they didn’t know Fred has spoken extensively about many of these issues, such as immigration,” Mr. Wamp said. “So I broke in and told them it’s all collected on our Web site, and they should go and take a look.”
I hope I’m not breaking any news here for the Thompson campaign but, er, there really aren’t a lot of right-wing blog readers. Strictly speaking, there aren’t a lot of left-wing blog readers either, but there are more of them than there are of us and they’re vastly superior in fundraising. If Fred’s relying on the online grassroots to put him over the top, he may come to find the grass is distressingly thin. Or … will he end up growing the grass? Forcing Republican voters (and especially “money people”) to pay more attention to what’s going on online is all to the good for conservative blog readership. It may not win him the nomination but it’ll win us all some extra traffic and influence. Long may he run.
Two exit questions per the Newsweek piece. First, if the perception is that he’s lazy, won’t a Net-centric campaign designed to avoid campaign travel only play into that? And second, how exactly is a guy who started in D.C. as an advisor during the Watergate hearings, spent eight years as a senator and almost 20 more as a lobbyist, and has all sorts of ex-senators and Beltway types advising him going to run as a “Washington outsider”?