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A Laid-back Man In Full

Slate's John Dickerson says "a door feels like it's closing for Thompson," and I have to agree--but then I recall that everyone was throwing dirt on John McCain's corpse about three months ago and now I wouldn't bet my life against him winning New Hampshire.

One problem for Thompson is how ineffectively he's reponded to the (overblown!--but real) "laziness" rap. Thompson's latest tack has been to dismiss the charge of indolence with a certain indignation, as he did in Sunday's debate when he listed his life's achievements at tedious length. He was even more humorless at an event in Florida this week:

"I'm kind of a laid-back guy. … If people think I'm too laid back or not ambitious enough, that's their prerogative. I'm gonna be me, and that's what they get."

Eh. I don't think this is the way to handle it. As a friend reminds me, Ronald Reagan had a famous lazy streak--but defused it through endearing humor. "It's true hard work never killed anyone," Reagan used to say, "but I figure, why take the chance?"

Fred shouldn't be defensive about his laziness. He should just do the one thing that always gets Republicans out of trouble: Quote the Gipper.

--Michael Crowley