Sunday, October 12


Part II

My friend Andrew called me up 8:30 pm Friday and asked me to come with
him to Iowa at 7 am the next day. I agreed reluctantly. My only
previous involvement in the campaign had been visiting a friend in
Princeton who was working for Obama and trying out the button machine.
My impression from that experience was that political organizing is a
fundamentally chaotic affair, which is to be expected from a
decentralized operation that really only becomes active every four
years and is run mostly by volunteers, many of whom don't lead, run or
organize in their regular jobs. Without institutional memory, it
seems that each office has to reinvent the wheel, and that large
chunks of time are spent on logistics and trouble-shooting. For me,
"grass-roots" had been a euphemism for ad hoc, do-it-yourself, thrown

But that judgment does a disservice to the passion that underlies the
enterprise. As volunteers gathered outside the Evanston Obama office
(which has a banner outside that reads "Evanston Ba-rocks for Obama),
some people passed around a recent article in the New Yorker endorsing

It is one of the most thoughtful, fair, well-argued endorsements that I've read.

-Ian Le