Tommy Thompson, Former Governor of Wisconsin and Secretary of Health and Human Services under Bush was in Davenport, Iowa today and I had the opportunity to briefly speak with him one-on-one.
I slept in this morning, still being a little off schedule from our trip to Utah last week, so I was late picking up my daily dose of caffeine from Starbucks. Driving into the parking lot, I noticed a two-man TV “news” crew sort of casing the joint.
I walked in, ordered my Venti Coffee as usual. Not seeing anything out of the ordinary, I got back in my car. Just as I was about to start the engine, Tommy Thompson walks out the door. Holding an Iced Latte in one hand the other pressing his motorola razr to his ear.
(Probably the only real perk of living in Iowa is the quadrennial visits from politicians.)
I jump back out of my car walk toward Tommy with my hand outstretched and say, “Tommy Thompson, how are you doing?”. He looks up at me, still talking on his phone tells the party on the other end to hold on a second, frees up his right hand and engages mine in a strong, prolonged handshake.
We had a very brief conversation what went something like this:
Me: “Tommy, It’s Nice to meet you. It’s great to see you here in Davenport.”
Tommy: “Nice, to meet you too. What’s your name?”
Me: “I’m Matthew Smith”
Tommy: repeating it back, “Matthew Smith”
Me:”You know, You’re one of the few Republicans that makes any sense. I voted for Bush before, but I’ve been really disappointed over the last couple of years.” (For the record, I voted for Bush in 2000. I think only ignorant or oblivious people voted for him in 2004. Unfortunately, the majority of voters are ignorant and/or oblivious.)
Tommy: “Me Too. What do you do, Matthew?”
Me: “I own an Internet Marketing Company.”
Tommy: “Really?…Do you have a card with you?”
Me: patting down my short pockets, “No, I don’t. I just woke up, took a shower and came to get some coffee. That’s the nice thing about an internet business… I can go to work whenever I want, where I want.”
Tommy: Looking toward his escort, “Can you get him a card?”
Me: Shaking Tommy’s hand again. “Thanks, I just thought I should say hello. I really appreciate you being here.”
Tommy: “Thank you, and thanks for coming up and talking to me”
That was pretty much it. It was clear he was busy. I didn’t want to disturb him any more than I already had. His aide handed me a business card and said, if I’d like to help out send him an email.
Looking back I wish I would have asked a couple of questions and expressed my opinion on the direction of the country. But, it was all spur of the moment and I’ll just accept as what it was.
If you’ve ever read the book “Blink”, you know that people create near instant impressions of others. Even though I had only 30 seconds of his time, I was left with a very favorable impression of him.