Just before Rudy announced his plans to seek the Republican nomination for President I was asked if I would join his volunteer team as one of the Healthcare Coalition Chairs for California; and I said yes with little hesitation. Like so many of my friends and associates I saw the potential of Rudy being our Republican nominee for President, not to mention the possibility that he could be our Country’s 44th President.
So I agreed, signed an endorsement form and began to recruit others to serve on the health care coalition that I chaired as well as a few people to donate to the campaign – and then the snafus began. First there was a key area campaign staffer that just “disappeared” from the campaign — no reason given, no announcement; just a conference call to announce a new person running the area, a person that had to resign his position with a state party under allegations of racism.
This turn of events gave me some concerns, but I thought that I’d take a few breaths and evaluate how this campaign would continue to shake out. Then the hit pieces began, of course hit pieces against prospective political candidates are nothing new and they have almost become expected in today’s politics. However, one would think that the campaign would alert its supposed key volunteers and supporters that such pieces are set to be run, provide them with background and response information if needed, but not the Rudy campaign. I guess it was much more fun to let the volunteers find out when they received telephone calls from friends, family and other volunteers wanting to know what was going on. As in the case of the two, nearly back to back stories in Vanity Fair, and though we all know to take what Vanity Fair reports with a grain (okay maybe an entire salt shaker) of salt it doesn’t change the fact that it is read by a lot of people and our friends, family and acquaintances that may read it might call asking us about it. (The Vanity Fair articles can be found here – http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/06/wolff200706 and here – http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/09/giuliani200709)
However, I didn’t let this phase me too much that is until Purdue-OxyContin and a reported $634 million dollar fine came to light. And though I cannot blame Rudy for trying to defend his client, Purdue at the time, but expecting people to believe that OxyContin was not addictive or habit forming seemed a bit far fetched; any nurse or physician can tell you how many lives were ruined by an OxyContin addiction. This failure to divulge by the Rudy Campaign was my last straw, so I decided that at the next meeting I would announce my decision to step down from the campaign. (A link the report in USAToday – http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2007/05/oxycontin_maker.html)
The next opportunity presented itself with the California Republican Campaign that was held this past weekend in Indian Wells where Rudy volunteers were also gathering for two planned events. When my daughter and I arrived Friday night we ran into a fellow Republican (imagine that!), and she reminded me to cast my straw vote for Rudy, and she was shocked when I told her that I wouldn’t as I was stepping down and that I was no longer supporting his candidacy. She asked why and I briefly shared with her my reasons and concerns and told her that I would make it official at the Saturday morning meeting. So imagine my surprise, on Saturday morning, when she came along with the volunteer coordinator from the National level (who shall remain nameless because he knows who he is) came up to me and he took that opportunity to inform me that “I was not welcomed here”, and that if I didn’t leave immediately I would be forcibly ejected. He repeated this ominous threat several more times, as I gathered my belongings; however as a woman who uses a cane and has some mobility issues I can only move so fast. However, he was unconcerned about my apparent “handicap” and was more concerned about bullying me to leave, which of course I did once I had gathered all my things. Apparently, this “nice, Republican lady” had decided to announce my resignation and to further embellish matters she even added her own editorial flourishes such as I had stated that I had planned to go to the Press (something I had not given any thought of doing).
Since I am a firm believer in the “power of the pen”, freedom of speech and expression, I decided that this would make a great entry in my blog, and a good lesson on how not to manage, especially on how not to manage volunteers. I would say that the Rudy Campaign has a lot to learn on how to manage volunteers. Demanding that volunteers do phone banks when this is not their skill or desire; asking volunteers to donate $1,000 and $2,300 to attend events without giving thought to low cost events to inspire the troops will only go so far, and not realizing the incalculable value of volunteer “sweat equity” is most definitely a weakness I do not like seeing in a potential Presidential candidate.