Applauding Fred

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It’s great to say, “I saw a first today.” Today, I did. Fred Thompson had just finished his stump speech at “Tremont on Main”, a restaurant in downtown Marshalltown. Yes, it’s on Main Street. No one in the crowd of about 60 was clapping (well, what was left of the crowd. About 10 or so of them had taken off already.) So Thompson took matters in his own hands. I’ve never heard a presidential candidate do this. But after hearing the silence, Thompson said to the crowd, “First of all, could I have a round of applause?” Polite applause then followed. He thanked them and added he “had to drag it” out of them.

If Thompson becomes President next year, I need to think back about Orland Jeons (it’s pronounced like “Jones”. He told me it’s the traditional German spelling). Mr. Jeons lives in Marshalltown after moving from Manning to be closer to his daughter who owns the restaurant where today he listed to Thompson speak.

Mr. Jeons wants to vote republican. Although, these days, he’s considering himself more of an independent. He voted for Bush. Twice. He was o.k. with the first term. He’s far from o.k. with the second term. So now he’s concerned with electing someone who can help the image of the U.S., an image he believes that has been badly tarnished because of Bush’s decisions. Mostly the war. He agrees we should have gone to war. He doesn’t think we’ve done it the right way or handled it the right way. Mr. Jeons first decided John McCain was his man this time around. But he says when McCain started “going downhill”, he moved on to Mitt Romney. Now, he’s rooting for Thompson. He likes what he’s seen from Thompson, the actor. He liked his image. Now, he’s hoping Thompson can use that tough, good decision-making image to repair the image of the U.S.

Mr. Jeons says he thinks he’s like a lot of his republican friends. They keep changing their minds as they search for the “right” candidate. But then he ended by saying, they would pick the best one, even though he will “just get defeated.” Republicans may have an optimism problem, don’t you think?


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