Ross Douthat on The American Scene
, who call the post "must read") gives his analysis of the GOP candidates, and why someone like Thompson could suddenly appear out of nowhere:
The major contenders, in other words, have a worst-of-both-worlds problem. Their ideological untrustworthiness will give them fits in the primary season without winning them many swing voters come the general election. (John McCain, should he get the nomination, isn't going to pick up blue-collar voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania because he broke with his party to champion campaign-finance restrictions. Rudy Giuliani isn't going to win over any of the Montanans who went for Jon Tester or the Virginians who went for Jim Webb because he split the national GOP on gun control or welfare reform.) And because they're considered ideologically untrustworthy, they're vulnerable to a dark horse challenge not from the kind of creative reform conservative that the party desperately needs, but from a candidate whose principle qualification is a solid record of party-line votes, and not much else. Someone like, say, Fred Thompson.