Well, yeah, as he himself is wont to say. But not in the general election, probably. If, as expected, Thompson is the nominee then it hardly makes sense to vote for an amnesty shill like Mike Bloomberg than a slow-drawlin’, border-enforcin’ dragonslayer like Fred. The real third-party (or primary) challenge should come at the senate level but how to pull that off? It took a herculean effort from the nutroots to push Lamont over the top in the Connecticut Democrat primary and he got gobbled up in the general anyway. And that was only one race. Here you’re talking about a dozen candidates or more, which means you’ll need at least two things: (a) conservative media with a national reach to ride herd daily on the “vote the bums out” movement (ahem) and (b) prominent, well-funded primary challengers who aren’t afraid to risk the party’s wrath by challenging an incumbent. That’s difficult under any circumstances but it’ll be especially difficult next year when, thanks to Iraq, the GOP will be staring at another round of congressional losses and the Dems will be inching towards a filibuster-proof Senate majority. They’re still far enough away from that that they won’t get there next cycle, but the cycle after that? Not impossible.

That’s why I think these threats about how “we’re not going to forget” are a lot of crap, and they know it. If the incumbents squeak through to the general, as most of them will, and foreign policy is on the line, what are you going to do? Stay home? When the left is starting to grumble about withdrawing from Afghanistan now?

The GOP should thank its lucky stars the other side is as weak as it is on jihadism. If it ever turned muscular, they’d be finished.

Update: Think the unthinkable.