THE THOMPSON CONSTITUENCY. Yesterday our own Steven White pondered Fred Thompson's manliness. A month back Ezra called him a hidden "ancestor-worship[per]," which to my mind has a certain primeval, cave-mannish tinge of masculinity to it.

So are folks in Tennessee bristling with anticipatory hero-worship of their own for Thompson? Are they ready to explode with feverish fervor for their manly man? Not quite, the Indianapolis Star's Ken Bode found in a highly anecdotal account of his trip to the state.

"I loved him in 'Law and Order,' " said one woman, surprised to find herself queried about politics. Another corrected me: "His name, I think, is Frank Thompson." A man on the smokers' bench outside the gallery, who assured me he was a loyal Republican parishioner, crinkled his nose and replied, "You really think he's going to do it?"

For now Thompson is chilling, just chilling, on his own smokers' bench until September. Effete TAPPED bloggers will be on hand to chronicle his every red-blooded twitch until then.

--Matt Sledge