Tired on the First Day

Jul 26 08

Tired on the First Day

Paul Weinstein

Senator Obama finished his Middle East & European tour today with a stop in London to discuss the potential direction of United States – United Kingdom relations should Obama become President in November with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

It seems to me I have yet to hear any news outlets refer to Obama’s trip as historic. Of course, the “mainstream” media outlets have been doing their usual handwringing about is there media bias in their coverage of Obama, is he getting a “free pass” by the media and are they “afraid” to say anything critical about him. It seems these days the media does more analyzing about itself then a psychiatrist. Which I guess explains why I have yet to hear what is usually par for the course, given what passes for news these days, the insanely obvious, that Obama’s trip is historic. Or at least, again given the news, his trip is historic in terms of any presidential politics from the last half century.[1]

Historic, at least to me, since I don’t recall many presidential candidates, presumptive Democratic nominee as the news likes to call him[2], taking a world tour as part of a campaign for office, let alone a war zone. [3] Senator McCain toured Iraq in March, and basically goateed Obama to do the same. So, in reality that is two historic trips in one election.

Which I suppose brings us to the real reason why the press passed on calling Obama’s trip historic, not so much because of the concern of bias, well maybe a side-effect and not because McCain already went, but because the junior Senator from Illinois is already a “historic” figure, being the first “electable” African-American candidate for President.  He’s already historic; he can’t be taking a “historic” world tour as well. There can’t be too many historic events relating to Obama already, what will the news cover next year?

Is it bad I feel that I might be in one of those flashback scene in “The West Wing” from before Bartlet becomes President? The ones where we learn how the main characters got to the White House and Bartlet as President?

Yes, my “first day” on the new job as IT Director for the Obama campaign in the state of Minnesota sure has that feel of organized chaos. The main office in St. Paul is just getting off the ground. I have a laptop, but “my” Blackberry has been repurposed by one of the Regional Field Officers, I think.[4]  I had housing, but the supporter who had volunteered room was not answering their phone, so for the moment I’m in a bed of a friend of Maggie’s[5] who is out of town. Soon I’ll have an email address, if I don’t already and of course passwords galore.

Oh and there was that whole six and a half hour drive from Chicago to St. Paul. The last two insane weeks of organizing everything once I accepted the job, the shock and concern in my mother’s voice and of course leaving Katie just days before our one year wedding anniversary, not knowing if I’ll be able to make it back later in the week for our planned weekend on North Michigan and the annual Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing benefit. 

Meanwhile I need to relearn Microsoft Office as I sit here working with Office 97 and its “Ribbon” Interface. I suppose Office is the least of my worries given that before I arrived Brian[6] had me expecting everyone working on Vista systems. What, what a nightmare that would have been.

I expected that this job would be a little bit of everything, and so much that’s proven to be true, and I didn’t even put in a full Saturday given that whole driving thing. Had a little fun trying to figure out some of the florescent lighting in the St. Paul office, tried to track and organize the brain dump Brian give me of what office has or needs what,[7] where everything is[8], what everything is[9], who everyone is[10], when.[11]

It’s going to be bumpy from here on out.

[1] Everything in the news is in relation to JFK and the “Baby Boomers”. Nothing of note happened before then. Of course more times than not, it seems nothing of note happened even just last year or “Pre-9/11” or…. Then again, IIRC correctly, T. Roosevelt was the first President to leave the US while in office to visit Panama, so I suppose you have to cut them some slack, G. Washington might have been “touring” a “war zone” before “running for President”, but it’s not like he was touring central Asia. 

[2] I would like to thank the academy; it’s an honor simply to be nominated.

[3] Then again nothing happen, for me, before Ronald Regan. Sure I was born while Ford was mopping up for Nixon, but most Baby Boomers where born while either Truman or Eisenhower was in office.

[4] Now that would be West Wing to the “T” what with everyone holding their BlackBerries in hand while walking down some corridor. Oh guess I’ll have to make do with my iPhone 3G, which is much hipper. I mean let’s face it if they filmed West Wing now everyone would be holding iPhones…

[5] Maggie T., Congressional District 4/Region 4

[6] Brian S., Minnesota Data Manager

[7] St. Paul has cable Internet, but no voice yet which I will be in charge of and is schedule for Tuesday. The Minneapolis and Duluth offices will have DSL that has yet to be installed. Nor do the other two offices have voice either.

[8] St. Paul office 777 Raymond Ave, Minneapolis office 514 Hennepin and who knows where Duluth is.

[9] Windows XP systems, so far most staffers seem to have their own laptops, mostly PCs and a couple of Macs. Xerox printers, which it seems the Chicago IT office was smart enough to standardize on one/two models, makes cartridge ordering/replacing a painless job and can just have one set of printer drivers. Routers and wireless hubs still need to be purchased.

[10] God help me here, Jeff Blodgett, State Director, various support staff, such as myself and of course lots of Field Officers such as Tess Wolterstorff

[11] 24/7 Ok, not really, but it’ll be long hours starting Monday 9am.