Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Do you have to know the second Barack Obama knows who his running mate is?

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Originally published on on Tue, 08/12/2008 – 10:17am

I was waiting for the bus this morning to get to work. The train takes me up to a mile from work, and the bus takes me right to the door.

I asked the young woman who was waiting there if she had been waiting long. She said not too long, but asked me which bus I was waiting for. I told her. She looked down at her BlackBerry unit and said, “Oh, that one is 15 minutes away, according to the Web site.”

You can find out how far away your next bus is by logging into a computer or portable device. Thanks to her, I knew to starting walking.

I don’t have a handheld device; I’m not that cool or important. But there are times when I would like to know certain things.

As anxious as I am to know who Barack Obama will pick to be as his vice presidential running mate, am I that anxious to be one of the first to know who he picks?

From the Obama campaign:

Barack Obama is about to make one of the most important decisions of this campaign — choosing a running mate.

You have helped build this movement from the bottom up, and Barack wants you to be the first to know his choice.

Sign up today to be the first to know.

You will receive an email the moment Barack makes his decision, or you can text VP to 62262 to receive a text message on your mobile phone.

Obama has clearly had the upper hand in using the Internet in this presidential race. After all, Obama actually uses the Internet (unlike his primary counterpart, John McCain). And this e-mail announcement is yet another way of showing the power of using the Internet in presidential races.

When I covered marketing in 1995 and 1996, I wrote several articles about the use of the Internet in presidential races. And things have shifted greatly in the last 12 years.

Yes, I know if I sign up to be one of the first to hear the news that I will be subject to appeals to give money to Obama’s campaign. (As a working journalist covering the campaign, I couldn’t contribute money even if I wanted to.) And unfortunately, I don’t have unlimited text messaging.

But I’m still tempted to do it, though. Perhaps Obama will get a call at 3 a.m., finding out his VP pick said “yes” and so Obama will send the word out minutes later. Of course, that would require me to sleep with my cellphone in my pocket so that I can know in the middle of the night that Obama has finally chosen someone.

If Obama makes his choice while he is in Hawaii on vacation, the time difference could be significant. If Obama decides at 3 a.m. Hawaiian time, that would be 8 a.m. Central (Hawaii does not observe Daylight Savings Time), so that time wouldn’t be so bad. But if Obama decides at 10 p.m. in Hawaii, then it would be 3 a.m. in Chicago.

Maybe Obama will make his choice while we aren’t sleeping. I generally am on the computer while at work, so if the news comes during the day on the mainland, I might not need that extra message.

But what if I’m in the bathroom? Out to lunch? Watching SportsCenter while eating dinner? On a date with a woman? How could I live with myself if I didn’t know right then who was Obama’s choice?

This is August, the time of year where my brain is supposed to, well, not so much take a break but run at a slower speed. “C’mon, relax. You’re at a cookout and there’s beautiful weather.” “Yeah, I know, but Obama could decide right now his choice for running mate and I want to be ready in case this is the time.” I’m not sure if I’m ready to be that informed.

But we also live in the 21st Century where information is crucial to have as soon as possible. That could be whether the next bus will ever get here or who might be a heartbeat away from being president of the United States. And it’s good to see that Barack Obama understands this.


Written by democracysoup

August 12, 2008 at 10:17 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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