The Republican senate primary in Wisconsin forced Tommy Thompson to run to the right, play to the most conservative elements in the party. As such, Thompson made a decision to define himself as a harsh conservative in order to defeat his rivals.
Now it is hard for Thompson to pivot back to the center and claim some high ground for the general election.
Many recall Thompson while serving as governor being both pragmatic as well as conservative. It was a winning combination at the polls, and also allowed him to have an amazing rapport with the public.
I understand the need to play hardball to win an election. But there seems to be a rougher edge around Thompson this election then he really needed to create. Sadly we all know this has been done as come high-priced consultant told him it was needed in order to secure the votes of the most conservative voters.
Thompson has decided to play to the Tea Party element of the GOP. That does not look good on an aging politician who is seeking his final chance on the election stage.
I think if Thompson had maintained the image of a senior politician with some statesman-like qualities he would be faring better at this point in the election. His best-selling attribute was his friendly handshaking style that made him come across as just the average Wisconsinite. He should have been able to convey his past experience and performance into a winning campaign.
The fact is however Thompson has changed, and become just another hard-edged conservative who will say and do anything to get elected.
One might expect some newbie on the right-wing who is trying to cut his teeth in politics to play to the wing-nuts in the party in such a careless way.
But I must be honest and say I never though Thompson would go so far astray from the smart politician this state knows him to be just to sway some fringe voters.