I interviewed both Stimpson and one of her seemingly countless rivals for the GOP nomination, Pete Snyder, in Harrisonburg on Friday. Both of them were featured speakers at a monthly luncheon gathering of local Republicans at the Wood Grill buffet. (See video below.) I asked both of them to name political figures, living or dead, they most admire and also to name someone contemporary with whom they generally disagree on the issues but nonetheless admire.
What Shaun does not yet know is that Snyder also professed admiration for a Clinton — not Hillary, in this case, but Bill:
Drawing on his experience as a college wrestler, when he used to watch tapes of opponents before a match, self-described “rock-ribbed conservative” Pete Snyder admits to a grudging admiration of former President Bill Clinton.
“I try to study the enemy,” he explained …, “and I’ve got to tell you, when it comes to getting things done, you’ve got to watch Bill Clinton.”
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With regard to Bill Clinton, Snyder continued, “if you want to talk about government reform, I don’t really cast him as a true government reformer, but he was able to get in under the hood of government and see what was going right and what was going wrong.”
The former president, he said, “in many wrong ways, exploited” what he learned about the inner workings of government and “did it in a way that connected with people.”
Over the years, he added, “I’ve watched a lot of tape of the opponents, so when I want to watch tape, I watch tape of Bill Clinton [and] what he did.”
For the record, Stimpson also said she admires Ronald Reagan and several of the Founding Fathers (as well as Abigail Adams) and Snyder was effusive in his enthusiasm for the late Jack Kemp.
Here are Stimpson and Snyder speaking in Harrisonburg. It’s interesting to note the differences in their styles: Stimpson stays anchored to one place, even while making eye contact with people around the room. Snyder is more peripatetic and animated, though both deliver cogent, fluent remarks.