Glenn Greenwald does a great job of breaking this all down in one of his recent blog posts. I especially like this:
The only thing that makes Thompson a "tough guy" is that he pretends to be one; he play-acts as one. There is nothing real about it. But in the same way that George Bush's ranch and fighter pilot costumes (along with his war advocacy) sent media stars swooning over his masculinity and "toughness," the Howard Finemans and Mark Halperins, along with the Bush followers in need of a new authoritarian Leader, are so intensely hungry for this faux masculine power that the illusion, the absurd play-acting, is infinitely more valuable to them than any reality, than any genuine attributes of "toughness."Like President Bush before him, Thompson has no unique qualifications to be president. He served for a very short time in the Senate and before that his only major governmental role was as a lawyer for the Watergate commission. All this man has done is master the role of acting tough. In that case, why don't we nominate grade school bullies to public office? Better yet, lets hire doms, I mean their whole shtick is to act tough.