As I entered into my first year in college, the 2004 political debate was at its peak. Students living on my floor gathered in the hallways at night to discuss candidates, issues, and who was right or wrong until their faces beat red. But I never got it. I never understood how people could tolerate the endless, and seemingly meaningless, banter that inevitably resulted in an “agree to disagree” solution anyhow…until this past January.
When the political race between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton really began to heat up, I found myself moseying over to a friend’s house, mostly in search of good company. However, I found much more. While my two friends—both amazingly intelligent law students at The University of Iowa—patiently coached me through the ins and outs of political issues and candidate positions, they helped me uncover an unknown passion for political communication strategies.
In my mind, the communications directors of political campaigns have one of the most interesting and exciting jobs a public relations professional can attain. With job tasks like monitoring media coverage, responding to misinterpreted information, and strategically communicating a politically delicate message, what’s not to love?!
As a public relations professional, watching the tactics unfold from Obama and Clinton’s campaign teams was exciting and educational. Strangely enough, it even makes me miss Hillary a little bit. The competition is not as urgent anymore and the coverage is not as interesting. I often find myself hoping that someone will make an embarrassing public mistake so I can watch and learn about good—and bad—crisis communication techniques.
So after four years, I guess I finally get it…politics CAN be fun!