"They've" been hearing his footsteps for weeks. With each massive rumble the quake of the earth was echoed in their hearts growing more distinct with each stride.
"They" have raised in excess of $50 million dollars; he's barely broken $300,000 to date. "They've" spent a good deal of it, he has yet to spend one dime.
While they have been yammering back and forth at mostly each other and the limited slice of America that is the politically active blogosphere, he took his folksy talk to the massive millions who listen to Paul Harvey. Oh but he's on the blog train too, posting on his own blog site, and leveling the playing field in political commentary by joining the ranks of the op-ed writers across America.
Ardent supporters of the other candidates at first dismissed him. The author of "Mormon in the White House" appeared on my show to bloviate on how Thompson just is more interested in playing talk radio than he is in grinding out the campaign trail.
McCain's folks watched his numbers surpass Romney months ago and thought to themselves, "Heh, he didn't pass us."
Giuliani's folks watched his numbers pass McCain weeks ago and thought to themselves, "Heh, he'll never catch us."
Today - all of the campaigns stand with jaw dropped, gaping at the latest numbers from Rasmussen, and the L.A. Times/Bloomberg polls which show him drawing even - for the lead - for the GOP nomination. And remember - he hasn't so much as given a single campaign speech, held a rubber chicken fund-raising dinner, commissioned the creation of a single television spot, appeared in a presidential debate, or even announced his candidacy.
So what's the draw?
Chalk it up to a heaping portion of old fashioned, southern deep fried, common sense, with more than a ladle full likeability, and topped off with a wink and a smile. He's also tough as nails, and when big daddy walks into the room - everyone knows it.
Yet I think it goes way deeper than this.
Evangelicals like him because he reflects their values and eliminates any need to even attempt to bridge the debate between Mormons and... well... Evangelicals.
The anti-terror vote likes him because while Mayor Giuliani may talk a tough game, nobody on earth thinks you could mess with Papa Bear. (He's even already articulated strategies towards Iran, North Korea, and the future of what is at stake in Iraq were the terrorists to win.)
Fiscal conservatives like him because he has the audacious understanding that in order to keep economic progress moving forward, unemployment at near record lows, highest African American ownership of homes in the history of our nation, etc. etc. - you must reduce not inflate taxes.
Border security types like him because he said what Washington refused to hear on the original debate over the amnesty reform bill in the Senate: "THEY DON'T GET IT! Secure the border through enforcement first, and then deal with the issue of who is here."
He's poked fun at Al Gore by demonstrating fact over consensus on global warming. He has also poked a bit of fun at the president of Mexico for trying to make "his citizens his nation's greatest export." He even called out Michael Moore by puffing cigar smoke right back in his face. Continued...