Thompson's supporters say that once he officially enters the race around July Fourth, it will soon become apparent that he's out there humping it just as hard as the other guys. He'll have to. There's only so much you can do virtually. Howard Dean proved in Iowa in 2004 that enthusiasm, love, and the Internet do not lead to victory. A methodical, disciplined ground game matters, and Thompson is way behind.
Thompson will also face a tough set of issues once he gets in the race. He is a vocal opponent of comprehensive immigration reform, which is a crucial part of his appeal but also means he enters in the middle of a brutal fight within his party. Thompson is seen by many as a savior who can unify the unsettled GOP. Not when the putative leader of the party, President Bush, has characterized people who hold Thompson's view on immigration as offering "empty political rhetoric trying to frighten our citizens." Thompson's old friend John McCain is also on the other side of the issue and has said he was "disappointed" that Thompson has flip-flopped from a previously more-supportive view. The debate has gotten ugly, and aphorisms alone won't do the trick.