Nothing messy, unlike the Republicans. Conservatives have split -- social cons with Mike Huckabee, fiscal cons for Mitt Romney, defense cons with Sen. John McCain, security cons with Rudy Giuliani, Goldwater cons behind Rep. Ron Paul. Quite a few Free Republicmembers were rooting for Rep. Duncan Hunter and Rep. Tom Tancredo, and if you say "huh?" you won't be alone.
Fred Thompson, the actor-politician-actor, is Mr. Heartthrob to the Freepers; in their eyes, he's Ronald Reagan for the new century. No, we're not kidding. After months of a moribund campaign, Thompson came out swinging this week in a debate in South Carolina. That performance turned on the money spigots, and now Thompson has a chance -- not a huge one, but a chance, and right now the GOP will take anything it can get, so long as the offering is properly vocal in condemning illegal immigration, abortion and gay marriage.
Scrambling for a solution in an already-sobering election scenario, the GOP's rank-and-file is willing to consider anything. Check this post on The Corner at National Review:
The two candidates most acceptable to conservatives, Thompson and Romney, are in not so good shape. The three least acceptable, Huckabee, McCain, and Giuliani, are in relatively good shape. It's entirely possible that the two conservatives will be knocked out early and the eventual nominee will be unacceptable to a large segment of the base.
My crazy idea is that Thompson and Romney join forces now. Thompson would be the President and CEO, Romney would be the COO. Each would play to his strengths. Fred would work on broad principles and policies (many have commented that he has the most complete set of positions on taxes, entitlements, etc.); Mitt would actually run the government on a day-to-day basis. He would tear into the Washington bureaucracy, reorganize it, and fix it - exactly what he wants to do and has done so well before.