Crooked Conversations Podcast

Crooked Conversations

Priyanka Aribindi’s “Crooked Conversations” interview with her boss, Tommy Vietor, was fun to listen to. The ep’s titled, “What’s it like to work on a campaign?” Ms. Aribindi does well in getting Vietor to talk about his early political career. He talks about working on campaigns going back to 2004. That’s going back to ancient times. 2004 was the year I joined DailyKos.



First, Vietor spent a lot of time during the 2008 campaign in Iowa. He was part of the in-state team in 2007. The Iowa caucuses are, for better or worse, Yuge/Bigly. Losing Iowa may not do a candidate in, but winning the caucuses can really boost your campaign. Obama’s Iowa win in 2008 put him on top, going into New Hampshire. The narrative at the time was more, can Hillary catch Obama, rather than focusing on how strong a candidate she was.

Vietor’s public displays of affection for Iowa are consistent. It doesn’t sound like he’s saying these things just to be polite.


There’s a scene from The West Wing, from “In the Shadow of Two Gumnen, Part 2,” where Donna’s thinking back to the early days of the Bartlet campaign. The staff’s getting ready to leave New Hampshire (nothing to see there, Bartlet was governor and a CongressCritter from NH). As they’re packing up to go south to South Carolina, Josh tells Donna he can’t carry her in SC. She says, she’ll work as a volunteer, sleep on someone’s floor, etc. Eventually she knew he’d put her on paid staff, if the campaign continued. And so the relationship began.

Vietor’s thoughts echo what Donna did. Tommy tells listeners, get involved in a campaign for a candidate you believe in. Volunteer. Work unpaid. Work hard, be good at it. He reminds everyone that all the success stories you hear of from the Obama administration (Crooked Media, Plouffe, Axelrod, Alyssa) originated with volunteering and working for Obama’s Senate campaign.

Priyanka edits the “What a Day” newsletter for Crooked. Tommy joked that she can’t leave to work on a campaign.

Go listen.

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