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The Adventures of Steve

Episode 32: One step back, two steps forward

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

It happened this afternoon. Toby burst into the computer room, pointed at me and said, "You're mine!" It was the culminating event in a month-long lesson on the fog of political war.

So buckle your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen, because it's time for a ride.

As you may recall from previous episodes, I was fired from the 21st Century Democrats field program upon arrival in Augusta, Maine, after a series of unfortunate miscommunications. Ah, but the truth is just an endless series of corrections, clarifications and retractions. And that was not the truth.

Last week, I received a call from Chris Miller, the former 21st Century Democrat field director who vanished from their organization right about the time I needed him. This was the first call I received from Chris, or rather, the first time he returned any of my numerous messages. Despite his surprising message that he just wanted to know "how I was doing," (after leaving me in the lurch), I knew he wanted something more from me. And I had a good idea what, although I had no idea how twisted the story was.

Chris Miller left 21CD for an organization entitled Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee ( The DLCC decided this year to get into the field organizer business and contracted with 21st Century Democrats to train and place the requisite people. But that deal went south right about the time of the major staff exodus, right about the time I was driving away from D.C. The DLCC decided to take the program on themselves, and luckily for them, here was Chris Miller with his Rolodex.

So 21st Century Democrats, as it turns out, weren't planning on placing anyone in Maine. It wasn’t just me that got axed. When I was told, "we have decided that we're not going to be putting you on our payroll," I thought that meant I was fired. But no: I was laid off. They simply did not have the work for me to do. I just got blamed for their problems.

When I actually talked to Chris, I was clear. I was interested in the job, but I wanted to know exactly who here in Maine I'd be working for, and all the details of the money. Since I was way ahead of him and already knew exactly who I'd be working under, I was just testing him to see if he was for real. I just wanted to see if he could come up with the name, or if he was just blowing smoke.

Well, as it turned out, he didn't call me back when he said he would, but he passed the test anyway. He called Toby Guzowski today, and told him that they'd be paying my tab and I'd be at his disposal. Yes, this is the same Toby that took me in to his house for two weeks. Toby is now planning on placing me in Bangor (home of Stephen King) starting on the 19th and having me help manage some 13 to 17 state house candidates.

So it looks like I might finally have an actual mission to perform in this election year.

For the next two weeks, I'll continue working in the data center of the Maine Democratic Party office ( with Steve Frampton, the fellow who is currently kenneling me. He lives on a farm near Rockland with his wife and three-year-old son, who, not surprisingly, has taken to me. Although I've recklessly offered to do farm chores, they've so far much kept me away from the chickens, ducks, goats and sheep.

I'll talk more about Maine later, but let me just warn you now: I will be going on a bit about mosquitoes.

Some notes: if you were thinking about contributing to the Kerry/Edwards campaign, now is the exact moment to do it. By federal law, they will be unable to accept or spend contributions after the Democratic Convention which is coming right up.

If you haven't seen Fahrenheit 9/11, please do. Yes, it's slanted, so please use your mind when viewing. If you have seen it and feel like getting involved, see Michael Moore's list of things you can do at his Web site.

A month ago, I posted some random photographs from Ohio (and a brand new Flash animation… what do you think?) at I just never told you about them. Sorry!

The photo attached is of a granite cathedral in Augusta, the name of which, for the life of me, I cannot determine. Love them clouds.


All of the Adventures of Steve

   Episode 1: In which Steve leaves Eugene and arrives in Rancho Cordova.
   Episode 2: In which Steve visits the Jelly Belly factory and gets a haircut.
   Episode 3: In which Steve gets a cold, a big box, and a seat on a train.
   Episode 4: In which Steve receives shiny new toys and loyal old friends.
   Episode 5: In which Steve departs for Iowa and rants a bit about why.
   Episode 6: In which Steve takes a trip to Des Moines.
   Episode 7: In which Steve gets really involved.
   Episode 8: In which Steve starts hobnobbing but is haunted by Arne Baker.
   Episode 9: In which Steve becomes a groupie and is informed that we all have love in our hearts.
   Episode 10: In which Steve becomes a media whore.
   Episode 11: In which Steve takes on Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine and Michigan.
   Episode 12: In which Steve is pitted against Fort Dodge, Iowa and seven vans of unruly Texans.
   Episode 13: In which Steve learns that all his hard work wasn't enough to put the candidate back together again.
   Episode 14: In which Steve does nothing.
   Episode 15: In which Steve reaches a decision and attempts to get virtually hired.
   Episode 16: In which we thank the good doctor for all he did.
   Episode 17: In which Steve suits up for a new life in the Cap City!
   Episode 18: In which Steve starts to realize he’s not in Eugene anymore.
   Episode 19: In which Steve switches from job seeking to home seeking.
   Episode 20: In which Steve starts to learn some things via the error side of trial and error.
   Episode 21: In which Steve experiences his first blizzard.
   Episode 22: In which Steve contemplates his next move.
   Episode 23: In which Steve prepares to switch gears... again.
   Episode 24: In which Steve spends a week in a hotel with four thousand teenagers and then gives his 30-day notice.
   Episode 25: In which Steve reminisces about his 10 weeks in Columbus while waiting in the wings.
   Episode 26: In which the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
   Episode 27: In which Steve changes everything.
   Episode 28: In which Steve finds Brood X, gets a teeny crush on a fellow trainee and learns where he's going, approximately.
   Episode 29: In which Steve starts to see how politics really works.
   Episode 30: In which Steve writes a letter to Kelly, executive director of the group that fired me.
   Episode 31: In which Steve spends a tentative week commuting to work in Maine.
   Episode 32: In which Steve learns he's just one piece on the board.
   Episode 33: In which Steve settles in for three months of intense campaigning.
   Episode 34: In which Steve is deep into the final countdown.
   Episode 35: In which Maine wins, the nation loses and Steve heads home.
   Episode 36: In which Steve doesn’t do much more than comb the classifieds and update his Web site.
   Episode 37: In which Steve slips into a normal life.

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