Former Senator Bob Dole came to town and although I love to attend big functions like his, the price tag is often too big for my checkbook. Some kind soul however made it possible for me to be in attendance, and whoever you are: thank you!
I showed up early to hear Bob Dole talk about the greatest generation. I wanted to soak in every minute as I was going to have to leave early to host the Steve Hall show and interview Drew Johnson of Tennessee Center for Policy Research.
When I arrived, the crowd was about 50 or so people in a small reception area. I was talking with a friend of mine when out of nowhere Bob Dole walks up and starts talking with us, after a few while he had to go but said how nice it is to talk to good Republicans.
I was shocked! I figured at best I would see him from across the room, but it was far better. Bob left to deliver a mini speech for the reception that had grown to about 125-150 people and then to the main reception hall to deliver his main speech. In the main room in front were about 4 rows of tables of 8. There were several chairs in the back. The tables were assigned seating and I was seated right in the front row in the middle. Right near the stage when I walked up to my table, who was sitting there but Bob Dole!
"Hey Camp" he said ,I was impressed with all the people he must meet that he remembered my name. We were able to talk some more and I had him sign a book on tape that he did of his acceptance speech as our party's presidential nominee. He was impressed that I had one.
I told him how I had stolen some of his lines from him-he made a joke about how it didn't quite work out for him in the race but maybe they would work better for me! He said that he actually has only one copy left of the book that went with the tape. If I had one, I would have given it to him.
He seemed in good spirits but he didn't look so well. I think he has been having some health problems and just got out of the hospital. Unfortunately I had to leave a few minutes into his speech to do the TV show. Bob Dole has a great sense of humor about himself and one of his one-liners was to the effect of “I am not sure if you heard I have done a few TV commercials lately (the crowd chuckles) but people keep asking me for free samples. I tell them carrying around free Pepsi is awfully difficult.” The crowd erupted in laughter.
He has a great way with a room and is a true American hero.
Next I went on to do the Steve Hall show. After an initial glitch, the show went well. Drew Johnson is a very sharp person with great political sense. We discussed Pre-K, ethics, state spending, education, healthcare, and the illegal drug tax. This tax is for illegal drug dealers (crack, meth, etc.) to get a license and to pay taxes on their ill-gotten gain and therefore not “get in trouble” if they get busted. We laughed about the stupidity of this tax. It actually costs the state about 25 times what it brings in. Sounds like what a lot of the government does is backward from the start and getting worse.
I almost hazard to complain because the Governor will probably set up a committee or give it more money to improve the system! I can hear the call now “we need to recruit more crack dealers to make this tax work!”
Drew also talked about how he is trying to set up a computer system that will track voting history and bills. I brought this up in an earlier post about how the computer system we have was designed on purpose NOT to allow people to check out information on their state representative or senator. (They don't want an informed public who might not like what they see.)
If you would like to learn more about this idea, log onto to www.tennesseeepolicy.org. This is a very worthy project and if you are able to donate any amount, please do so.
On a last note,as I was walking into the Bob Dole event, a reporter from the Tennessean called me to ask about what I thought of lobbyists and the legislature and what should change. A good story may emerge. We will wait and see.