Saturday, February 25, 2006
Spent today at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose attending the California Republican Party convention for work.
It hit me like a ton of bricks last night when I realized this weekend is the 25th anniversary of the first CRP convention I ever attended.
(Actually upon further contemplation, I spent a day at a CRP convention in Los Angeles in the fall of 1978 as a volunteer for the Younger-Curb campaign -- so technically it's my 27 1/2 Anniversary.)
In 1981 I was a freshman at the University of Southern California and was active in the Trojan College Republicans. Our leader, Roman Buhler, talked a few of us into attending the CRP convention in Sacramento.
At the convention Roman introduced me to Fred Karger and Kathy Auth who were organizing then-Attorney General George Deukmejian's campaign for Governor. (At that point he was going up against Mike Curb and Pete Wilson for the GOP nomination.) This introduction led to me volunteering on the campaign during the summer of 1981 and being hired part-time (as the youngest staff person) on the Deukmejian campaign that fall.
Following the campaign I worked for two years for the Dolphin Group -- Bill Roberts' political consulting firm which ran the Deukmejian campaign.
That led to my moving to Washington, DC to participate in USC's Capitol Semester program and interning in the White House. That was followed by four and a half more years of living and working in DC.
In 1989 I moved back to Southern California and on February 1, 1990 went to work for my current employer, the political consulting firm, Woodward & McDowell.
(In an interesting twist, Dick Woodward and Jack McDowell worked together at Bill Roberts' first political consulting firm -- Spencer - Roberts -- before forming their own firm in 1971.)
But I wonder what would have happened if Roman hadn't talked me into going to the CRP convention in Sacramento in 1981. How would that have changed the chain of events?
In a nice note, my friend Susan Allen and colleague Ethie Weaver gave me an Anniversary card as a light-hearted recognition of today's significance.
In San Jose, Hertz had the ugly car photographed above waiting for me when I arrived. It's a Dodge Magnum.
Ironically, yesterday's Wall Street Journal ran a feature story on "Manwagons" and one of the cars they test drove was the Dodge Magnum. Manwagons -- a cross between sports cars and station wagons -- are described in the article as "the melding of speed and sippy cups."
They described the Magnum as "the ideal soccer-dad's muscle car" and "the most overtly manly wagon of the group."
This manwagon certainly had pep -- in fact I got on the freeway and was quickly doing 80 before I knew it (and slowed it down).
But I think it's an ugly car and not exactly fitting my self-image.
I didn't, however, hate it enough to demand a different car. In 2002 I was working on a campaign in Seattle and picked up a car from Enterprise Rent-a-Car once a week. I usually accepted whatever they gave me -- but I drew the line one week when the offered me a purple PT Cruiser to drive. Somehow I just didn't see myself driving around the Puget Sound expecting to be taken seriously in a car like that.