Monday, October 25, 2004

A question of timing

Poor Robert—he is off burning the candle at both ends as he covers for me while I take these few days off. While I won’t have many campaign stories to tell, I do have one from yesterday that I’d like to share. Robert and I left the office for an adventure to the Ft. Lauderdale office, which is the state campaign headquarters. We had borrowed a truck of a friend of another staff person, since we were on a ‘chum run,’ specifically the 4 ft x 10 ft signs. Our trip down 95 was slowed by some rains squalls, though we were back in the sun when we arrived in Lauderdale. In the parking lot, we ran into Jared, the media tracker, who was rushing back to the office because someone had told him that Hillary Clinton was on her way to the office for a visit. Sure enough, the secret service were already staked out in front. She enters the office about 15 minutes later, to great fanfare. I was standing maybe 3 feet from her as she gave a little speech about the importance of the credibility of the election, etc., etc. It is rather a disturbing thought that there is a good chance that this election will be contested in one if not more courts. Is it just me, or is there a general trepidation that the American democracy is in jeopardy, and has been ever since thousands were disenfranchised in 2000 and the presidency awarded to Bush by a partisan Supreme Court?

Hillary’s visit made it so that we were blocked from loading chum into our truck until she left, since her departure point was the back of the building, where we needed to be, too. So we stuck around doing nothing while Hillary had her visit. As odd as it was for me to watch people faun over her, it was even odder to wonder what it must be like to be a political celebrity. It must feel awkward to have total strangers walk up to you and put their arms around you and have your picture taken, right? There go my aspirations for public office!

When we finally got our load into the truck, we headed back up US 1 as essentially a mobile Kerry Edwards billboard. We got some honks of approval, and one thumbs down—that’s pretty brave, I thought. We went over to the Delray Office to drop off some pins, and one of the staff there decided to hijack our truck, and insisted on taking some of the yard signs we were bringing up to West Palm. He was a true asshole about it, actually. While we are all supposedly on the same team, there are some true tensions between the local offices in terms of resource allocation. I suppose it is easy to be selfish when there is some sense of competition between the offices in terms of performance. It was good however that we stopped by, since they were in need of some of the large signs for the Kerry event today. The other staff guy, a campaign veteran, asked nicely for them, and we obliged. We returned much later than anticipated, rather amused at our day’s misadventure.

Robert tells me I was missed today in the office, which gives me hope that I will be able to feel useful instead of just frustrated when I return for the final push. One thing is for sure: this little break is providing an essential attitude adjustment.

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