To All Those Waiting for the Obama Team Phone Call


telephone ringing twn.jpg
This blog post has not been written by Steven Clemons or any member of The Washington Note team. It is written by someone who really does deserve a very top spot in Obama Land but is sitting pensively waiting for a call while trying to pretend he/she is not.
Waiting for the Call. . .
I can’t tell you who I am. Like you, I’m hoping to get a political appointment in the Obama administration. I’m trying to project the aloof and elite appearance of a soon-to-be-announced Schedule C.
But the truth is, I’m just like you. I toiled in the opposition for 8 years. I supported Barack Obama. And I’m now officially desperate to get a plum job in the administration. So, like you, I wait for that long-lost important contact make “the call” and offer me the job of my dreams.
But until then, I wait in a state of suspended ambition. I too have the dreams featuring, in no apparent order, Vice President Elect Joe Biden, Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton and, yes, even the man himself, President-Elect Obama.
Sometimes in these dreams they offer me a job, and sometimes they say they can’t offer me a job because they can’t find my resume amidst the other 300,000 on I wake in a cold sweat.
Like you, I keep a secret “A list” of positions I would kill for, including all manner of ambassador slots, sub-secretary -ships and senior director positions.
I have my secret “B list” of fall back positions I would also kill for, including senior advisor, special assistant, and even the Deputy Assistant Secretary-ship. Of course, I tell almost no one about these lists.
If people saw the B list, that might reduce my chances of getting an A list job. And if they saw the A list, people might think I was too arrogant, too demanding, and too self-delusional to serve in the administration. It takes a lot of skill to project A-list, aspire to B-list, and secretly wonder if you’re on any list at all.
Like you, I have started to act like a person in the know. I never mention except to my closest friends that no one from the transition team has called me. When anyone mentions the transition in conversation, I nod silently and knowingly. I start every sentence about politics by saying “I am not officially part of the transition but . . . .”
I have avoided my usual press calls, fearful that the wrong quote will kill my chances at any position on the A or B lists, and hopeful that people remember my past appearances on CNN.
I read the lists of names on the transition teams, making mental notes of people I know well, people I pretend to know well, and the dreaded category of people I wish I had made the effort to know well before they were on the transition team. I check to make sure I have all of their e-mail addresses and send them a note congratulating them and offering to do anything I can to help.
A good day for me is when I resist the urge to e-mail the same 5 people I do know on the transition team again, congratulating them and offering to do anything I can to help.
Like you, I am getting phone calls from people even less connected and in the know than I am. I try to offer them advice, without being too obvious about my lack of connections and without being too obvious when I discourage them from going after any of the positions I want. “Perhaps the Hill would be a good place to look” I tell them. “There are sure to be lots of good jobs there (that I don’t want).”
Like you, I am convinced that everyone I know in Washington is in the know about the transition and is being considered for some great job I would be great at. I am shocked when I find out that they too are not getting any phone calls and are as filled with angst and self-doubt as I am.
Why aren’t we getting the call? Why did I do all of that volunteer work on the campaign? What did I do wrong? How can they treat me this way? Most importantly, don’t they know who I am? (Literally?)
Of course, it should come as no surprise that there are many people in the same boat. We moved to Washington to serve our country, and now is our time.
And while some of our transition angst is driven by ego, the overriding impulse is a desire to serve our country at a time of great challenges . . . . oh wait, that’s my phone. Gotta run.
— Anonymous
Anonymous is a highly accomplished policy veteran in Washington who is clearly on the edge while waiting for that call. . .


20 comments on “To All Those Waiting for the Obama Team Phone Call

  1. Julia says:

    I think the author of this is Steve Clemons. And I think Obama should hire Steve. He’s smarter than everyone he’s appointed so far.


  2. Scott Boros says:

    M. Dean Jones, I can get Anne-Marie Slaughter a job in the Obama Administration. But I can get John Ikenberry a date with Madonna.
    If he’s interested, tell him to call.


  3. M. Dean Jones says:

    @Scot Boros
    What? You can get Anne-Marie a date with Madonna? 😉


  4. varanasi says:

    hey tahoe!
    how are you doing, my friend?
    your pre-election posts were hilarious. still wish mccain and palin were transitioning into the white house right now?
    it boggles my mind that someone as intelligent as you ever thought that those bozos ever had a chance.
    …and i told you so! (sorry i couldn’t resist)


  5. niimma says:

    OMFG! I actually think I know who this person is … the give away is
    their appearances on CNN and background in policy.


  6. Scot Boros says:

    Anne-Marie Slaughter? I thought you were happy at Princeton. If not, give me a call, I’d be happy to represent you.
    A-Rod is one of my clients; what I did for him, I can do for you.


  7. ... says:

    can we get an update from this same poster in a few months?? this is a little fun but more anxiety reading about another persons uncertainty…


  8. Adam Austerfield says:

    Hey Steve, greetings from Old Europe – since your visit here with us at LSE in Spain during November I notice that there are more LSE graduates in Obama´s transition team than all other universities in the world except some old colonial outpost called Harvard. Coincidence? I don´t think so.
    Venceremos, as Castro still says.


  9. Paul says:

    I nominate this for a Pulitzer for humorous/satirical writing!
    May I ask what the author(s) was(were) drinking when (he/she/they) wrote this? Clearly a good time was had by all & I’d like to have some in my cabinet.


  10. Tahoe Editor says:

    If you can’t spell “Hillary,” you’d better hang on to your day job.


  11. C.P.T.L. says:

    Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what high-profile, high-paying, post-administration-lucrative, something-that-leads-to-a-book-deal, plum job you can do for your country.


  12. Dan Kervick says:

    I hereby withdraw my name from consideration for any position in the Obama administration. I am certain this will improve Anonymous’s chances immeasurably.
    Anyway, I don’t think I would meet Obama’s extreme vetting standards. I smoked pot every day for at least two straight years in college, and took LSD, mescaline and mushrooms on several occasions as well. And I’m pretty sure I had unauthorized sex from time to time back in the day.


  13. Primary Colors says:

    Will someone please tell Joel Klein that when he calls himself anonymous everyone knows who he is!


  14. JohnH says:

    Tony Blair, does this mean you given up on being an American lap dog and now want a job here, so you can get your Green Card?


  15. Ari Gold says:

    Senator Hagel is that you?


  16. Jerry Maguire says:

    Charles Kupchan is that you?


  17. anIRprof says:

    Someone tell Mike O’Hanlon to step away from his non-ringing phone and start thinking about what he’ll do with the eight solid years of free time he has coming.


  18. Ron says:

    Other comment: Ff GM is producing a new battery for the their new car VOLT which they say will save our country and industry and move us on the way to manufacturing. Then why are they taking taxpayers money to then develop the technology and then have it manufactured in Korea.
    Again the managers make the design here take the big bonuses or options, which ever one they will be able to get away with. Leave the middle class and below left with their bills.
    We can build roads and bridges to no where. Instead of creating a solid manufacturing base. Why don’t we just write a check to the Koreans or Asia for 50 billion dollars and be done with it. At least it would be more honest.


  19. Ron says:

    Larry Summers was the president of Harvard and now he is the head of the White House’s National Economic Council. If he was not able to oversee the Harvard Endowment so they did not make such silly investments how will he manage the American Economy.
    You know how many children who could have been educated in America for $8 billion……..
    Harvard Endowment Loses About $8 Billion
    Harvard University’s endowment, showing how the financial crisis is shaking U.S. higher education, has suffered investment losses of 22% since the end of the school’s fiscal year.
    The Harvard endowment, the biggest of any university, stood at $36.9 billion as of June 30, meaning the loss amounts to about $8 billion, more than the entire endowments of most colleges.
    The letter said the 22% loss understates the actual decline in the endowment because it doesn’t reflect certain assets, including private equity and real estate, for which estimates of their drops weren’t yet available.
    Harvard officials said they were planning for a decline of 30% in value for the year.
    What moron put asset in illiquid investments maybe they forgot to read their history books.!
    Harvard and Yale, pioneered an approach that deemphasized plain-vanilla U.S. stocks and bonds and placed large sums in more exotic and illiquid investments, including timber land, real estate and private equity funds. But the current market may not be so kind since the schools have relatively small holdings of bonds, such as U.S. treasuries, which are among the only assets that have performed well.
    ( private equity they were hijacking American public companies with the help of the Bankers’ and out deposit money)
    Harvard has sought to offload about $1.5 billion in investments with private-equity firms, according to people familiar with the situation. If the Harvard portfolio trades, the transaction would be one of the largest-ever sales of a private-equity stake.
    Many other endowments have copied the Harvard and Yale approach. Moody’s Investors Service, the bond rater, estimates that college endowment losses averaged 5% to 7% in the year ended June 30. Since then, including spending and stock market losses, Moody’s figures colleges experienced another 30% decline in cash and investments.
    Wealthy colleges have been under attack from Congress for hoarding their endowments, rather than spending them on efforts to make college more affordable. Our POOR CHILDREN
    (since when does long term debt reduce volatitlity)
    Harvard said it would convert much its short-term debt to long-term issues to “reduce our exposure to volatility in the credit markets.”
    Iguess not only did they forget to have sense but they also forgot to read their history book on investing.


  20. J says:

    This is hilarious and an apt description of the anxiety percolating through many in this town right now.
    I would add another common set of emotions: Jealousy/envy/rage at those who have been chosen to serve on the transition teams, an iron-clad conviction that they have the inside track on coveted positions, and self despair wondering what these people possess that I don’t ….


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *