The role of Fred Thompson in yesterday's SC primary is as murky as his next step.
Did he divide the religious vote and thereby hand Huckabee a loss? Or would those votes, had he not been there, have gone elsewhere? My instinct is that more of those votes would have gone to Romney or McCain than to Huckabee. Fred comes across to me as the thinking person's conservative: thoughtful on positions, a sense of history, a Federalist, serious about the war on terror and prepared to take the long view on it. His addresses have content, not sound bites - which may, unfortunately, be a drawback in 2008.
Mitt is quickly seizing the stage as the most knowledgeable in the field on economics, growth and job creation. With a war still consuming dozens of billions, it isn't clear that the race will be won on voters' views of candidates job creation prowess. However, he gives off as much energy as Fred seems to absorb - Mitt's electron shell could power Fred.
So, Mitt may be drawing professional class, Fred the fiscal conservatives and those concerned about immigration, as well as being acceptable to the religious voters.
Assume that I'm right for a moment, i.e. that most of Thompson's supporters would have otherwise gone to Mitt - then it would have been a tight three person race (despite Sunday morning talking heads commentary to the contrary, McCain didn't crush Huckabee).
Given that Thompson hasn't won a race, and funds must be running tight, could a Romney/Thompson ticket be crafted? Thompson as the Cheney for Romney - the insider who knows the beaucracy, the key players, the staffers, potential cabinet members and so on? Even though I don't believe anyone ever votes for the VP, parties nonetheless look for "balance" - e.g. Northern and Southern candidates, or East and West. This would be a Northern Governor and a Southern Senator...
I don't know that their egos would allow it, and I doubt that Mitt would want to tie himself down early, but both need something going into Florida and Super Tuesday.....