I make it a policy to run with folks who are smarter than me. It makes them feel good, and I learn stuff. That’s why I was at the Vienna Inn, home of killer chili dogs, a few saturday’s ago having lunch and by sheer seredipity meeting putative GOP nominee in Va-11 Keith Fimian.
The table was me and some distinguished folks…a northern Va town councilman and his wife, a Vice-Mayor (and former congressional candidate) from downstate Virgina and his wife a former reporter and commentator for Fox News…plus me to make them all look really good.
As we dove into our dogs-n-chili-n-fries-beer-n-tea, up comes a fellow with a Keith Fimian sticker in the middle of his sweater. He sticks out his hand, and introduces himself-it’s Keith Fimian, in the flesh! We chatted for a few minutes, and then he flew away to mix and mingle with others.
I came away from the chance encounter with a few thoughts, as well as his Delta Tau Chi nickname…
KF Flyer is a very friendly man who does not shy away from answering difficult questions. By the same token, he is not a curious man. It took him a second to recognize the name of my town council friend…and since my pal is a republican and is an elected official in Va-11, you might have thought KF Flyer might have made it a point to meet him already. When he heard my other pal had been a congressional candidate, KFF didn’t ask him a single thing, like “when?”, “what district?”, “got any words of wisdom?”. He pretty much ignored me during the conversation (which may be a mark of good judgement), but never tried to find out where I was from nor did he ask any of us what issues we were concerned about.
KFFlyer gracefully responded to a frowning gentleman sitting at a nearby table who said he hated “politicians”. Our hero engaged him in conversation and left the fellow no longer frowning…but perhaps still not in love with politicians. Must have been the chili dogs…
I don’t know that he is well engaged with the details of legislation. He told of us of the need to allow more federal workers to telecommute, but did not appear to know that legislation is already in affect saying that fed workers of a certain type have to telecommute at least one day a week by 2009. He told us that he had made his business a success by listening to his workers and what they needed to do their jobs better, and that we could make the federal government more efficient by asking federal workers what they need to do their jobs better. It occured to me there is a slight difference between a company of indeterminate size with the bureaucracy that is the US government, but the man clearly has a dream.
KFFlyer came across as a nice, decent fellow who genuinely wants to serve and to do the right thing, but also as someone who better spend time getting up to speed on issues. Being able to (apparently) get the GOP nod without a fight gives him the chance to get himself up to speed, and I hope he takes advantage of that time.
I came away thinking that the Va-11 race is not a lost cause for the GOP, but there is much work to be done, even one with a big campaign warchest like the KFFlyer has. Moreover, he better hope for a really divisive democratic primary if he has a chance of winning in November.