Friday, March 21, 2008

What Clinton's Schedule REALLY Says

Everyone is talking about the schedule Hillary Clinton kept as first lady and whether that translates into certain level of expertise in policy issues, both foreign and domestic. Detractors argue that her various meetings and ceremonial activities were purely "fluff", while others point to speeches, meetings and other events that required a clear, calm and collected intelligence (as well as diplomacy and, in a couple cases, bullet proof vests). You can read some about these perspectives through coverage in the Washington Post.

What no one has really said about these schedules, however, is the apalling environment in which serious, complex and sometimes life-or-death decisions get made! Imagine a schedule where from 4:35 to 4:40pm you are presented with a gift, from 4:40 to 4:50pm you are told to give a speech thanking the giver and then from 4:50 to 6:00pm you're meeting with a Congressional committee about health care. Who can make rational decisions when they are hopping back and forth between audiences, issues and tasks?

Rarely do I see in an elected officials' schedule something along the lines of "2:00pm to 4:00pm: Thoughtful contemplation of the potential solutions to our nation's health care problems." Or, "3:00 to 4:30pm: learn something about the budget process before I go out and vote on it." This is not the fault of opinion leaders. Anyone who trys to disappear for a few short hours to undertake some research is often seen as lazy. In DC, as in other major cities, the rule is "go, go, go."

Sometimes, it's better to stop and smell the roses (or the tax code as it were). Less scurrying about and more thoughtful contemplation might make for more rational decisions.

Just a though -- now I'm dashing off to sleep!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

March Madness on Capitol Hill

Well, I've had quite an exciting week. First of all, the team here at the Advocacy Associates empire organized hundreds of Congressional meetings for two different Washington, DC fly-ins, both of which occurred on March 11th. That wouldn't be notable in and of itself except that one of them took place at the Mayflower Hotel here in Washington, DC.

Yes, THAT Mayflower hotel - the very one where Governor Spitzer, ummm, "stayed" in February. So yours truly had the joy of being at the Mayflower the day the news broke. We were so swamped with phone calls and meeting changes during the day that I didn't even hear the news until I called my husband at 6:00pm to say, without understanding the humor at all, "well, I just finished my day at the Mayflower and now I'm going home."

Really. That's what I said. The silence on the other end of the line was deafening (although perhaps he was laughing so hard he couldn't speak).

More important though is the fact that March 11th was perhaps one of the busiest days I have ever witnessed on Capitol Hill. There were literally tens of thousands of advocates in town all seeking meetings with their elected officials. Unfortunately, many offices simply couldn't accommodate all the requests, and some advocates were turned away.

If you want to find some ways to avoid the March Madness and get your message heard, check out our latest tipsheet on the topic!