Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Addicted to political campaigns

Gary Pearce, the former political reporter who cut his eyeteeth as a campaign strategist with Gov. Jim Hunt and then helped engineer John Edwards' upset of U.S. Sen. Lauch Faircloth, R-N.C. in 1998, is a great storyteller who co-authors one of the best blogs about North Carolina politics with his one-time adversary, Carter Wrenn. Their Web site is www.talkingaboutpolitics.com.
The other day Gary wrote about the stress, fatigue and sheer terror of a political campaign at this stage, seven weeks before an election. Among other things, he noted:
"On top of the mental strain, there is the mind-numbing stress and physical fatigue. You go from before sunrise until you collapse at night. The cell phone and the Blackberry never stop. The conference calls stack up like planes at O’Hare. You’re fueled with coffee and Diet Cokes all day long. Your first thought every morning: 50 days to go. Can I make it? Weekends? Forget them.
"Only the most disciplined find time to exercise. And when it comes to food, there are two schools: Scarfers and starvers. The scarfers (like me) eat everything, especially doughnuts and burgers. Average weight gain per campaign: 15 pounds. The starvers can’t eat, and their clothes hang off them.
"Weighing over it all is the sheer terror of losing. As James Carville once said, the best thing about winning a campaign is that you didn’t lose.
"It’s a wonderful life. I miss it so."

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