Update: About an hour after I posted this, CNN reported that Fred Thompson has, in fact, dropped out of the presidential race. 

After a disappointing finish in South Carolina, rumors are rampant that Fred Thompson could drop out of the race for president as early as today. I kind of hate to see it happen, even though I wouldn’t have voted for Thompson. The question remains: what happened?

I honestly thought that Fred had a chance. He’s southern and more conservative than most of the other candidates (even though he is no Ron Paul) with widespread name recognition. The fact that he’s an actor lent itself to inevitable Reagan comparisons. His off-the-cuff style is appealing. Why didn’t his campaign take off?

For one, he got in too late. It’s sad to say that someone entering the race more than a year before the election is “getting in too late,” but everyone else had been raising money and traveling the campaign trail for months on end already. I suppose Thompson thought his name recognition would be enough to allow him to skip those early months, but by the time he got in most of the media had been focused on others for quite some time. Like it or not, the media picks our president and without their support, you’re dead in the water.

Second, his campaign has lacked passion. While Romney, McCain, Huckabee, and Giuliani have the media on their side, Ron Paul has all the passion. What Fred needed was the die-hard commitment that Dr. Paul has – millions of dollars in online money bombs, weekly sign-wavings, and supporters willing to go door-to-door in the dead of winter to spread the word about their candidate. Fred had folks willing to do little more than go to the polls – if he made it through to their state. Thompson just doesn’t seem to have the ability (or maybe it’s the desire) to really inspire folks. His message is an old one – the status-quo Republican message of the last several years – and nothing to tell the neighbors about. “Yeah, you know that guy Fred Thompson from Law and Order? He’s running for president. Whoop-de-do.”

I have to say, I’m a little disappointed that Fred hasn’t done better. He scares me slightly less than most of the other Republicans. Then again, if he’s been thus far unable to run a decent presidential campaign and possesses an utter lack of ability to inspire large numbers of people, I can’t imagine that he would be a terribly effective president. We need a president who can create passion in a citizenry; someone who can stand up, speak, and make people listen. We need someone who will make the necessary changes to our great nation and make us all smile about it. And I just don’t think that Fred’s that guy.