Rep. Glenn Thompson is done toiling behind the scenes. The Pennsylvania Republican has somewhat quietly, yet rather effectively, managed to topple two of his chattiest colleagues in the race to total C-SPAN dominance.
Granted, it’s only June, so there’s still plenty of time for other talking heads to get their rhetorical swerve on.
But Thompson appears to have the dedication, discipline and time-management skills required to carry him across the “Hey, Isn’t That …” finish line by popping up on must-D.C. TV more than anyone else this year.
As (only) C-SPAN junkies can attest, Thompson seemingly came out of nowhere over the past 18 months, knocking off perennial camera hogs Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and Ted Poe, R-Texas, by amassing 155 onscreen appearances to their 136 and 124, respectively.
The loquacious lawmakers have been jockeying for first and second among the most televised pols since the 110th Congress, with Poe achieving maximum exposure during the 111th Congress (235 appearances and 26 hours of precious camera time), while Lee was just four showings shy of besting Poe during the 112th Congress — 199 to 203 appearances, respectively — but managed to whoop him in terms of endurance speaking (31 hours to Poe’s paltry 13).
Whereas Lee spent nearly a half-hour on Jan. 9 extolling the virtues of the polarizing Affordable Care Act and Poe consumed 20 minutes of April 18, 2013, schooling colleagues on the importance of San Jacinto Day, Thompson almost always keeps it short and sweet.
Mr. One Minute never misses an opportunity to speak his mind.
Thompson’s go-to topics include:
- All things military (1/8: talked up transitional aide; 2/3: discussed suicide rates among Armed Forces personnel; 4/10: cheered on Senate’s medical parity for service members bill)
- Bad mouthing President Barack Obama’s signature health care initiative (1/10, 1/28, 2/5)
- Honoring medical professionals (1/8: cheered on emergency personnel provisions; 5/6: praised National Nurses Week)
- Congratulating constituents for myriad accomplishments (1/9: winning a public speaking contest; 2/27: staging a Panhellenic dance marathon; 3/26: bringing home a fencing title); and,
- Practicing good citizenship (1/27: commemorated 100th anniversary of his local Boy Scout Troop (#31); 4/1: led the Pledge of Allegiance on the House floor; 5/9: commemorated the 100th anniversary of the United Way of Erie County).
Whether he’s greasing the skids for a flood insurance vote (Jan. 8) or working in a plug for National Frozen Food Month (March 6), you can count on Thompson to deliver his message in around 60 seconds flat.
What he lacks in terms of longevity — per the C-SPAN counter, Thompson has only logged about four hours of combined face time since last January — he more than makes up for with frequency. The longest any C-SPAN viewer has had to go during the current session without seeing his smiling mug — congressional recesses, notwithstanding — is roughly three days (usually surrounding weekends). And the shortest gap between screen time has been 106 seconds, which happened on June 19, his most active day on C-SPAN to date with four appearances.