Not much to say except bummer.
No surprises, of course. This was at least as telegraphed as the Bhutto assassination. He pissed off Fox News on opening day and went downhill from there, playing defense by explaining why he "got in late" or why he wasn't "lazy". He allowed his opponents to define him. And that's no way to run a railroad.
As to the stalking horse theory, it's not so far-fetched. One could speculate that his entering the race late allowed a full evaluation of opponent strategies and how the polls were doing with the goal of draining money from other candidates and taking away key endorsements. The National Right to Life endorsement comes to mind, which otherwise might have gone to Huck prior to South Carolina. Weirdly, McCain rose from the askes about the time Fred entered while Rudy began to sink.
And Thompson is an actor and even plays one on TV. Still, the thought of him entering the race only to run interference is a bit much. I won't believe it unless he admits it.
Bottom line, where to now for Fredheads? Personally, I'm having great difficulty with that question. Time will tell. The vote will not be wasted, even if it's a vote against somebody else.
More fuel to the "Fox News was anti-Fred" meme. Speaking of fairy tales, that certainly sounds like a big one. I'm going with the poor organization due to not making enough early deals explanation. Well, and his inability to articulate like on Law and Order.
Go here for a literal plethora of Fred coverage. Just keep scrolling because AC (the famous one) is a very productive blogger. Unlike some of us.