Maybe it was the tour of the empty dog track. Former Governor Tommy G. Thompson demonstrated the hold he still has over his homestate party when he lost a presidential straw poll at the Republican state convention to a guy not even in the race.
Fred Thompson received 95 votes, compared to 84 votes for former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson. Mitt Romney was a distant third with 41 votes. Tommy Thompson and Sam Brownback, who got 14 votes, addressed the convention in separate speeches.Perhaps it was the speech. Owen Robinson wasn't impressed, and he wasn't alone.
Tommy… oh Tommy. I thought his speech was terrible. He yelled half the time. He used some of the same tired lines that he’s been using for 20 years. His sounded desperate as he practically begged Republicans to go to Iowa on August 11th to vote for him in their straw poll. As for his ideas, they mostly center around delivering American taxpayer funded healthcare to foreign nations in order to generate good will. No price tag, of course. And he spent a fair amount of time bragging about some of the spending that he backed as HHS Secretary.Whatever the case, can we stop with the pumping of this guy's chances?
Admittedly, I’m not a Tommy fan, but I tried to be open minded about him. He still came up very short in my mind.
The audience reaction to Tommy was interesting. Beyond the manufactured reactions, it was pretty tepid. A lot of Tommy’s applause lines only drew scattered clapping. It was a lot more subdues than it was last year when the delegates were very energetic in cheering for Tommy.
Meanwhile, another interesting straw poll, if absurdly early, in the race for governor in 2010. Scott Walker won the Wispolitics.com straw poll to be the GOP nominee with 142 votes. Former Congressman Mark Green finished a distant 2nd with 62 votes. Third place? JB Van Hollen with 42 votes. Given reports like this and like this, I'm guessing JB Van Hollen is not looking like the statewide leader some hoped he would be after the last election.