It really is a grind. Ever seen “Brewster’s Millions”? He only had to flush $30 million down the crapper. Multiply that task 75,000 times or so and see how chipper you are.
In a city where work can border on obsession, the Obama staffers stand out. They are not quite the walking dead, but their eyes are frequently ringed with the bags that accompany exhaustion.
“This is a place, because of the stress, the schedule and the sheer hours, that just chews people up and spits them out,” said press secretary Robert Gibbs, whose alarm clock is set to 4:30 a.m., though he ignores the early ring more often these days.
All West Wings face fatigue at some point, but the Obama team has had a particularly frenetic start, the result of inheriting the worse economic crisis since the Great Depression and the team’s own seemingly chaotic drive to push an agenda that includes the creation of a new health insurance system, auto bailouts, Middle East peace, nuclear nonproliferation, two wars and education reform…
Obama is now testing the limits of his staffers’ endurance. So far, there is a palpable sense of pride in the West Wing that treaties are negotiated, complex legislation is crafted and banks are bailed out — all on very little sleep.
Really? You certainly can’t tell from the results. I know I speak for all of us, though, when I say that if there’s one thing I want to read on a day when the deficit finally crossed the trillion-dollar mark, it’s a story about how hard life is in the West Wing. Exit question: To save time and ease stress, have they given up on reading bills before they’re enacted too? Or is that strictly a congressional practice?
Update: Omri Ceren knows what this story is really about.