Coming out of nowhere but wishful thinking and some hopeful hints from the prospective candidate himself, Fred Thompson has risen rapidly into 3rd place among GOP candidates according to polls. See the story in USA Today.

With Mitt Romney a goner and McCain floundering in the low 20s, Fred Thomson would give Rudy Giuliani a good run for the 2008 nomination. And he would give all conservatives someone to rally around in the image of Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately he isn’t running yet.

Unfortunate because that’s a worthwhile political battle that the GOP needs to define its future. Do Republicans return to the conservative roots that won elections in the past, or do they continue the “compassionate liberalism” of U.S. President George Bush and the last Republican Congress? Philosophically I know where my heart is, but the money is now on Rudy.

There is irony in the fact that both Thompson and Giuliani have both been out of politics for years. That says a lot about the public’s attitude toward incumbant GOP politicians, even among Republicans. And that is the primary reason for John McCain’s floundering, despite the fact that he remains the more deserving and ready choice among the three.

For more on all the latest polls, visit Hedgehog Report. And you can see the raw poll results here.

[tags]fred+thompson, polls, election, 2008, john+mccain, rudy+giuliani[/tags]