Obama has been told he can’t use his Blackberry once he’s president because there is too much risk to national security as well as the fact that all communications from the President will be public record. But the President-elect is resisting.
During the election Obama might have sent out more text messages than any other American in the country and admits he is an avid user of his Blackberry. But that kind of fast and loose communication is just not appropriate for the President of the United States.
On “Meet the Press” last Sunday, Tom Brokaw exposed Barack Obama’s weak-kneed approach to quitting smoking. Will Obama treat his Blackberry the way he treats quitting smoking? He’ll try to stop using it but he might fall off the wagon from time to time.
Smoking was the most addictive behavior among professionals until the Blackberry came into being. Called by some a “Crackberry” because of its addictive properties, it’s just another bad habit Barack Obama has to kick before January 20, 2009.
Should this be a problem? Honestly, if he continues to use his Blackberry, how long will it be before a teenager at a Washington DC public school hacks into his Blackberry and posts its contents on Facebook? It’s not an issue of staying in touch. All President Obama will have to do is tell one of his staff or security detail, “Get me Michelle,” and it will be done. The whereabouts of the children and Michelle’s mother will be known at all times. Anyone outside the circle will be available because The White House has the most extensive “contact list” in the world.
The President-elect will make the final decision on whether to Blackberry or not and anything can happen. Who would have thought that Barbra Streisand would visit The White House and kiss the cheek of President George W. Bush? So getting unfettered internet connectivity for the most powerful man on earth seems like a small task.
I love my Blackberry and the connectivity I have. I have taken to watching TV with my laptop to look up things I don’t know as I am watching. I am a Baby Boomer geek — not completely comfortable with all of it but can use technology enough to get into trouble. I am a Baby Boomer multitasker, too, and am connected all the time. But I am pretty sure that there’s no time in the day of a president to catch up on email. The President-elect wants to stay connected with the real world through is Blackberry. The fact is, the Blackberry keeps you from interacting with people you don’t know.
As Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune points out, personal handheld email devices narrow your world instead of expanding it. Does Barack Obama really want to read what people are writing and saying about him in the blogosphere? The left wing blogosphere? The Daily Kos folks say they will give Obama a little time to get adjusted, but if Obama thinks the media problem he has is right wing radio nuts like Rush, Sean, Boortz or me, he’s sadly mistaken. It’s the disappointed lefties who will attack him “like it’s 1999” when he doesn’t go far left enough for them and it’s impossible to go far left enough for them.
Is it time for the Presidency to change? There was a time there was no telephone, no computers, and no electric lights for that matter. Technology has to enter The Oval Office at some point. My advice to the next president is this; leave your Blackberry and Laptop in the personal residence and got one of those nifty connect anywhere cards and be a president that is focused on the job at hand. If you want real life, you should have stayed a community organizer in Chicago. Barack Obama left the real world in 2006 when he decided to run for president. The bubble around him began to form at that point and there’s no going back to real life ever again.
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. Blackberry me later Barack — Martha@marthazoller.com.