09/04/2007 04:27 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Who's Afraid of Fred Thompson?

I am shocked, SHOCKED, I say, to learn that Fred Thompson has decided to run for president in 2008.

The amazing news will be announced Wednesday night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC.

The venue for perhaps the most important news in the race for the Republican nomination this season was chosen instead of the Fox News TV Republican debate being held earlier that evening at the Whittemore Center campus of the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

I realize that the Jay Leno show is a more respected and more powerful source of news for young people than other more traditional news sources. But Jay is not exactly a rough questioner. He makes Larry King, whose CNN show is the traditional venue for making important announcements that affect the nation and the world's future, look like Torquemada.

And I know the appearance on the couch with Jay is bound to be more helpful to the American people making their decision -- at least those who are still awake after the eleven o'clock news -- than the commercials the Thompson campaign is allegedly running on Fox News in lieu of his appearance on the debate stage.

You should know that in many surveys of voter decision-making process, an alarming percentage reported political commercials are considered the most reliable tools of judging the truthfulness and honesty of candidates.

Given all of this, I nevertheless am nominating Sen. Thompson (R.-Law & Order) for the political coward of the year award, the highly coveted four white feathers, for waiting until the crucial debate Wednesday night is over to throw his Screen Actors Guild union card in the race.

Pro-abortion lobbyist of the year Fred Thompson will come out of the closet tomorrow night, see his shadow, and immediately go back into his defensive strategy. Awesome.

His cravenness Wednesday night will be a great moment in the history of political cowardice.

I'm sure he won't rest on his laurels.

The Republican Party itself has won a place in the yellow pages of political annals by the grace under fire it displayed in its conduct in the much anticipated Univision /GOP debate at the BankUnited Center of the University of Miami, scheduled for Sept .16, but cancelled on Aug. 29. The problem was only one candidate agreed to show up for the first debate aimed at the all-important Hispanic vote: Sen. McCain.

I personally think that McCain talking to himself would be a lot more interesting than the Gang of Nine that usually showed up for these Republican debates. But the University of Miami people disagreed.

McCain gets an ear and tail in my book for his display of real courage in facing the bull. Debates can bring out the inner character of men.

What a way for the Republicans to win the Hispanic vote. Given their pusillanimous record on immigration reforms, which even that brave soldier Bush the Amigo supported, the Republican Party has already been in a state of disarray and confusion on the issue. The cancellation displayed the candidates' fear of speaking a few words of Spanish while at the same time showed the courage of Democrats who are actually attending the first half of the Univision/ Miami U. debate on Sept. 9.

TV debates are not exactly the Home of the Brave. Witness the fiasco of the Democrats running away from the first Fox News debate in Las Vegas last spring. The reason: it was being televised on the Fox News Channel. The charge to the door was led by John Edwards. I'm sure it was just a coincidence but Edwards dropped 50% in the polls immediately after showing his support for a free press and the first amendment by getting the heck out of there. It appears not to have been a good career move.

Watching who will attend and won't at these snoozefests called debates is even more exciting and informative than what candidates say in their digest version of position papers the glorified press conference format allows them to deliver without fear of meaningful rebuttal.

Some might like to think that Sen. Movie Star, as he has been called, stayed out of the race until now because he didn't want to make his co-stars lose residuals for Law & Order episodes that would have been pulled by the network if he were a candidate. (NBC would have needed to give all the other candidates jobs on Law & Order, under the equal time rule).

It also was a politically astute move because it would have been confusing to the American people if there were two Thompsons running at the same time. Former Secretary of Health Service Tommy Thompson bowing out last week cleared the way for Fred the movie star to be the designated Thompson in the GOP batting order.

While its premature, perhaps, handing out awards for cowardice -- No act of political cravenness is beneath American politicians who keep lowering the bar -- Fred Thompson already has shown us that he is a high jumper in his opening crawl into the race.

Who's afraid of Fred Thompson, might well be the major question in the race. I am. If he gets the nomination, he's liable to pick as his running mate Dick Wolf, the notorious producer of Law & Order, without whom Fred Thompson for President would not have been possible. The Wolfman already scares a lot of actors making cast changes whenever he feels like, not respecting our revered institutions (the dumping of DA Steven Hill comes to mind). He could run the country from an undisclosed locations, like Dick Cheney. And we can expect the Wolfman would not come out during the full moon.

There is an old American folk saying, he who runs away.lives to fight another day. Still these debates are showing that we have a collection of lilly- livered, gutless, yellow-bellied candidates with spines of jelly in line to be the next Idiot-in-Chief at the White House.