Inauguration Luncheon in Statuary Hall

January 15, 2009
Statuary Hall viewed from south (Wide-angle)

Statuary Hall viewed from south (Wide-angle)

So I’ve received my assignment for Inauguration.  I’m working at the Luncheon that follows the swearing-in, in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.  My role, along with about 20 other White House Social Aides, is to escort guest to their seats and distribute gifts to them.  You can see the menu here.  A map of the statues in Statuary Hall is available too.

Three lucky Social Aides will present flags to the POTUS and VPOTUS on behalf to Senator Feinstein.  They will also present a framed photo of the swearing-in (it gets printed and framed in about 30 mins) at the luncheon.  Approximately 150-200 guests will attend…the guest list is not releasable to the public.

Here’s a blog post from the LA Times that provides a snarky take on the Inauguration timeline:

“…Suffice to say, on this Jan. 20 while the big shots are munching seafood stew and duck and washing it down with apple cinnamon sponge cake, you won’t be able to buy pheasant on D.C.’s sidewalks.

While lovely music plays and stone statues statuesquely peer over diners’ shoulders, Congressional leaders will suck up to the president for possibly the last time by giving him some gifts. Don’t tell him, but they include an already-framed photo of his swearing-in, the Capitol flag that was flying at that moment and a one-of-a kind engraved crystal bowl to fill with popcorn in the White House theater…”

Hope you watch on C-SPAN.


Grassroots campaigning is like dating

January 2, 2009

Originally posted (10/22)…LONG POST (GRASSROOTS ORIENTED)…MYSTERIES OF MALE DATING BEHAVIOR REVEALED BELOW…You have to click the links to fully appreciate this posting (especially the “older people” one)

The Obama campaign is courting voters like a skillful man goes after the woman of his dreams.  Up today on Ben Smith’s blog at the Politico.com are some interesting stories about Obama’s integration of Calling, Canvassing, and emailing.  Back in Dec ’07 & Jan ’08, ten months ago, mainstream publications ran stories on the strength of Obama’s ground game (click links for articles):  Obama’s Ground Game Advantage, Inside Obama’s Iowa Ground Game, Obama’s and Huckabee’s Ground Game . Numerous other publications and bloggers have discussed the mechanical advantages of David Plouffe’s campaigning strategies.

A few months ago, I mentioned to a classmate that Obama is registering masses of voters in Virginia.  The naysayers scoff and say “new voters don’t vote…young voters don’t go to polls…they’re to lazy…”

Another groups of naysayers and pundits have asserted that the “Bradley Effect(the idea the white voters lie to pollsters about who they are supporting and will balk at pulling the lever for a black man when inside voting booth) will kick in on election day.  Turns out the pollster for the 1982 California Governors election said his polls were old. The winning candidates pollster said the election ended up how he predicted it in last minute polling. The Bradley Effect has been debunked here and here too. It doesn’t exist!

And finally there are people who say “Black people are only voting for Obama because he’s black.”  In 2004, Blacks went for Kerry 88%; In 2000, Blacks went for Gore by 90%.  Could it be that black people overwhelmingly vote Democrat?  Does the fact Obama is leading in some of the “whitests” states in America (ME, IA, VT, NH, MN, WI) and losing some of the “blackest” (MS, AL, LA, SC) mean anything?  A vote is a vote…bottomline

Back to my opening paragraph.  When a skillful guy really wants a girl he will call her; he will check in periodically to say “I’m thinking about you”; he will invite her to events she likes; he will ask her questions to get to know her better; he will have his friends and family say positive things about him as third-party endorsers; he will wear his best clothes in her presence; he will show he’s good dancer, brave & athletic; he will demonstrate his smarts; he will send her emails; he will impress her by name dropping his rich & powerful friends; he’ll show he cares by helping older people and inspiring younger people; he will demonstrate he’s a man of faith, and he will always say “baby it’s all about you“…most importantly he will repeat all of these actions until he closes the deal.  Meanwhile…the angry dude and his hatin’ friends will try to discredit the guy with scurrilous accusations, school-yard gossip, and name calling.  But the angry dude can’t get his message through because the skillful guy has sent an overwhelming amount of positive messages and has cultivated a relationship with the dream gal.  Sometimes, even in politics, nice guys finish first.

More stories on grassroots campaigning:  here, here, and here


Incoming White House Social Secretary

November 24, 2008

In the news today…Ms. Desiree Rogers was announced as Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary.  The Social Secretary position is a big deal because she will be at the table when all invites are made for social events for the President and First Lady.

Desiree Rogers

Desiree Rogers

Additionally, she and her small staff are responsible for the efficient execution of all social events and ceremonies at the White House.  This is arguably the most premier protocol position in government.  Ms. Rogers will deal with dignitaries of all types (Heads of state, elected officials, celebrities, military, children–Easter Egg Roll & T-Ball game) and other honorees and visitors to the “people’s house.”

(L-R) Desiree Rogers, Valerie Jarrett, Future Senior Policy Advisor; and Ebony/Jet mogul Linda Johnson-Rice

(L-R) Desiree Rogers, Valerie Jarrett, Future Senior Policy Advisor; and Ebony/Jet mogul Linda Johnson-Rice

Congrats to Ms. Rogers.  Her job will be super tough with all the people bucking to get into the White House during the future Obama administration.  More on the announcement here, here, and Black Socialite blog here.

I think it’s also neat that her last position was as President of Social Networking for Allstate Financial.

I look forward to working with Ms. Johnson in the White House as a Military Social Aide.

UPDATE:  More background from her days in New Orleans.


Thinking about polling and prediction

October 28, 2008

I have a few theories hunches on polling this cycle…and here’s how I see the final electoral map (Montana is the only true toss-up in my opinion)  OBAMA/BIDEN=326; MCCAIN/PALIN=209; UNKNOWN=3

Myles' final prediction for election night

Myles' final prediction for election night

1.)  Obama is overperforming on some polls because the people who support him are proud to say “Yes, I’m voting for Obama”; McCain supporters probably are less likely to respond at all to pollsters

2.)  Obama is underperforming on some polls because they don’t take in account cell-only voters. I have a detailed post on this subject on my personal blog.

3.)  Obama is underperforming on some polls because they don’t contact newly registered voters and there are numerous data points that indicate the Obama campaign and Democrats have registered millions of voters across the country.

4.)  The “Undecideds” are mostly McCain supporters who don’t want to admit they support McCain.  Therefore, McCain’s numbers will close on election day.

5.)  Obama will win any state he is currently up by +5% (and polling over 50%)

6.)  Mason-Dixon is given too much credit for accurate polling

7.)  Anytime a pundit says, “A democrat hasn’t won here since…” expect Obama to win that state.

Make your own map at Real Clear Politics.


Obama stage design evokes American history

August 28, 2008
MLK speaking in front of columns...how arrogant? *snark*

MLK speaking in front of columns...how arrogant? *snark*

Tonight is Obama’s big acceptance speech at Invesco Field in Denver.  Video of stage and interview with David Plouffe here.

The naysayers are out in full force chastising his set design. Criticism here, here, and here…one more here.

To me, it is a brilliant move and clear symbolism to evoke memories of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln. The imagery communicates a message that the majority of Americans reflect on positively.

MLK delivers I have a dream speech in front of columns

MLK delivers "I have a dream speech" in front of columns

I look forward to the speech.

What’s wrong with trying to replicate images that all American’s hold dear like that of the Lincoln Memorial?  Am I the only one this makes sense too?  Perhaps, it’s just that every move Sen. Obama makes is criticized because it’s new?  Because it goes against conventional wisdom?  Recent history will indicate the Obama team has set new lessons for all leaders–particularly in coalition building, use of new media, and branding.

Happy 45th Anniversary of the “I have a dream speech“!!!  Hopefully Rita & Kevin (I don’t know them) get good seats.  Here is a  photo of them inside the stadium last night.


Biden it is

August 23, 2008

*eats crow*  Yummy!  And I owe my Mom a pair of shoes.  She was right.  Seems like she Moms always is are…

Here’s the VP choice SENATOR JOSEPH ROBINETTE BIDEN, JR.

On June 23, 2008 Senator Biden said:

“Of course [I would say yes],” he said. “If the presidential nominee thought I could help him win — am I going to say to the first African-American candidate about to make history in the world that, ‘No, I will not help you out like you want me to’? Of course . . . I’ll say yes.”

Things you may not know about Sen. Biden:

Read more of Joe Biden on the issues

Joe Biden speaks at the Center for American Progress

Joe Biden speaks at the Center for American Progress


Obama Vice President picks

August 14, 2008

(Posted: 8/14/08) For what it’s worth…here are my pick/hunches/guesses for Sen. Obama’s Vice President (Gov. Sebelius and Rep. Roemer are my strongest guesses):

***My only hard & fast rule for Tier I guesses is that his VP will not have voted for the Iraq War***

TIER I:

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (Kan.) (Moderate; has battled health care industry; hunts; Ohio roots; gray hair, yet youthful; “regular” wife & mother)

Gen. Wesley Clark (Decorated veteran with executive foreign policy experience; 3am experience; respected by netroots)

Gov. Brian Schweitzer (Mont.) (Popular governor; foreign policy experience–yes, you don’t have to be in the military to have foreign policy experience; will lock in Montana’s electoral college votes; pro-sportsmen; anti-FISA; netroots will love him) UPDATE: VIDEO OF GOV. SCHWEITZER‘S ADDRESS TO DNC

Fmr. Rep. Tim Roemer (Ind.) (Opposed NAFTA; serious Foreign Policy & Intelligence credentials; solidly puts Indiana in the toss-up category; Louisiana connection–hey, it’s possible Cleo Fields almost won the governorship a few years back)

TIER II:

Fmr. Sen. Sam Nunn (Ga.)

Fmr. Gov. Ray Mabus (Miss.)

Gov. Janet Napolitano (Az.)

Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.)

WILD CARDS (If not selected, I expect them to be key advisers or cabinet members):

Gen. Richard Cody

Gen. Anthony Zinni

Fmr. Sen. Max Cleland (Ga.) He is a lobbyist.

Fmr. SecDef William Cohen (A moderate Republican)

NOT GONNA GET PICKED:  Clinton, Bayh, Biden, Richardson, Powell, Hagel, Kaine, Webb (Webb is too important of an ally in the Senate and it would be hard for Virginia to produce a candidate to replace him)

Click here if you want to know the real answer as soon as it’s announced.  Read Garrett Graff, Sensei of Social Media’s New York Times Op-Ed about Obama’s announcement technique. Follow Graff on twitter here.

Final thing to watch for the remainder of the campaign…the Rocky Mountain strategy…during the primaries much hullabaloo was made of how poorly Sen. Obama performed in Appalachia; meanwhile he was winning big in the Rockies.  I project he will win MT, CO, NV, OR, WA, CA and NM in November (the old Florida/Ohio “big state” paradigm is soooo 2004)


Race Card defined

August 1, 2008

In my opinion the Race Card is a statement by a  person–of any race–who directly uses race to do any of the following:

1.)  Explain their poor performance or reason they haven’t achieved something on race; instead of personal actions/responsibility

2.)  Accuse others of gaining a position as a result of their race, without any objective assessment of that persons talents and accomplishments

3.)  Those who play the Race Card typically play the “victim” mentality

***Typically the “Race Card” is used as a distraction from real issues.  e.g…the economy -or- upcoming court cases -or- Afghanistan

All this discussion about the Race Card makes me sick.  But, I decided to post this because the media is redefining the proper definition of the Race Card and I must battle back for fairness from my perch in the blogosphere.

Here are few real examples of the Race Card being played:

And another example of the Race Card (Listen closely at 2:40-Very closely at 4:10) and in text.

One more Race Card example for good measure by a Hollywood celebrity.

In contrast, this is just snark and not at all the race card–except as defined by the media who know that stories about conflict drive up ratings. Surprisingly someone else brought up the dollar bill idea months ago.

Your thoughts?  I know this is a minefield topic, however, it’s important that we look at things objectively and not just take the media “sound bite” version of things.

Does this constant debate on race help anybody?

In the words of Rodney King:  “Can’t we all just get along?”


Happy Independence Day!!!

July 4, 2008

I like this photo…

A veteran and his wife celebrate with their pick for POTUS \'08

Here’s their guy…Click here to see why I agree.

Sen. Barack Obama addresses veterans in Fargo, North Dakota (7/4/08)

A true “where were you when…” moment

June 4, 2008

January 28, 1986:  Space Shuttle Challenger crash (Sitting in front of the television; in sixth grade)

January 17, 1991:  Beginning of Operation Desert Storm (Sitting in 10th Grade English class watching Channel One and was penpals with a Soldier deployed to Saudi Arabia)

September 7, 1996:  Tupac Shakur shot in Las Vegas (Sitting at my BOQ watching MTV ***Breaking News*** with Kurt Loder)–BTW, I always believed Tupac is dead

February 10, 2007:  Barack Obama announces his candidacy for President of the United States of America (Sitting at home watching on C-SPAN then drove from Petersburg, VA to Hampton to attend the State of the Black Union)

June 3, 2008:  Barack Obama clinches Democratic Nomination (Standing in a room full Obama supporters in Washington, DC–listening, cheering, hi-fiving)

I wish I could express the internal elation I feel about Barack Obama winning the Democratic nomination for President.  Different than the other “where were you when” moments where I sat back and watched; this time, I actually was able to shape history.  Certainly my role was minor: a donation here, phone call there, knocking on a few doors, and consistentely wearing Obama gear despite the odd looks from classmates during the fall of 2007.  But I know my role was important because “the strength of the pack is not the wolf; the strength of the wolf is in the pack.”

From the outset, Senator Obama acknowledged that his campaign was not about him…instead it was about “us” (American voters).  “…in my heart I know you didn’t come here just for me, you came here because you believe in what this country can be.”

I was fortunate to see Barack Obama, twice in the summer of 2007 at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans and the National Urban League Conference in St. Louis.  One thing I noticed were Obama volunteers cheering, selling Obama gear, recycled gear, and signing up new supporters at each event.  The media totally missed the groundswell of grassroots for Obama.  (As I reflect, over the past 17 months no one has asked me to support their candidate for president…why?)

Great leaders provide purpose, direction, and motivation.  Despite the haters critics saying, “he’s too young;” “he’s too inexperienced;” “it’s not his turn.”  Senator Obama realized he had to seek the Presidency at this moment to bring about change: 

“I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness – a certain audacity – to this announcement. I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.”

Knowing the fight wouldn’t be easy, I knew the best thing I could do was join my candidate in the arena.  It’s too easy to second-guess, ridicule, doubt and follow conventional wisdom.  If one wants anything in life they must work for it.  I, too, wanted change in the culture of Washington.  Therefore, I got off the bench and got in the game guided by my favorite quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”President Theodore Roosevelt

If you are still reading…as you know, this blog is for my Social Media course and I leave you with a quote from Barack Obama’s announcement speech:  “Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age.”

Join me in the Arena.  Forty years from now, when your grandkids ask “where were you when” tell them you were Standing for Change.  Tell them you were Standing with Barack Obama.

***This message complies with Dept. of Defense Joint Ethics Regulations***