After months of hysteria and pre-caucus caucusing, this week is finally it: the Iowa caucuses for the 2008 Presidential election. I am departing today from Washington, D.C., for the vast, windswept cornfields of Iowa, the Hawkeye State, America's breadbasket, and the future birthplace of James T. Kirk.
I will spend the next week "deployed" for Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign for President of the United States (or the POTUS for us Beltway types). My bosses in Washington advised me to remind whomever might care that I'm doing this at my own expense and using left-over vacation time from 2007; to participate in a campaign on the taxpayer's dime would, naturally, be against the law.
Twice in my life I have seen Mitt Romney with my own eyes. Once was six (6) years ago at the unveiling of the Olympic Cauldron at Rice-Eccles Stadium, shortly before the 2002 Games. As a reporter for the U of U's paper, the Daily Utah Chronicle, I gave myself the assignment to cover the Cauldron's christening. The article is still online. Sadly, I couldn't get the photo to work -- which is an apt metaphor for the subject of this blog posting.
I remember immediately after the press conference concluded, I said to myself, "That's Mitt Romney! The savior of the Salt Lake Olympics! I should go say hi to him and shake his hand and get my picture with him."
Then I responded to myself by noting, "Meh. So what? It's just Mitt Romney. Why would you want a picture with him? Besides, it's 7:30 a.m. and it's cold. Just take off."
So I just took off. The thought has occurred, given his meteoric rise to prominence since then, that perhaps it would not have hurt me to get a picture with Mitt Romney.
I again saw candidate Romney at networking meet and mingle event on Capitol Hill after work in June of 2007. A whole bunch of my friends and fellow Republicans swarmed the Governor and got their picture taken with him. I could have too, but - and I'll be honest on this one - I was less interested in the event itself than I was chasing a girl in my ward who was there too.
So this week I will be actively involved, or let's make the token Mormon reference and say "anxiously engaged," in trying to help Mitt Romney win the Iowa caucus. I believe I will be walking door-to-door in "get out the vote" efforts to help people attend their caucuses and vote Mitt.
And perchance I will finally get a photo with Mitt. I dropped the ball the first time because it was too cold and the second time because I was chasing girls in my ward. But all of Iowa will be cripplingly, bitterly cold, so the first excuse won't fly, and no girls from my ward will be there, so the second excuse won't either.
So those are my goals for the week: 1) help Mitt win Iowa, 2) get photo with Mitt.
It's gonna be a raucous caucus.