I’m Available


I've just completed my online Expression of Interest Form for a job in the Obama Administration. With any luck, I'll be high-fiving my way through the White House security gate and reporting for work in January.

I'd rather not have additional competition, but in fairness I should disclose that anyone can apply at the new Web site, www.change.gov. Believe it or not, the site is "designed to provide prospective applicants with information to help them apply for positions in the Obama-Biden Administration."

The Federal Government has - are you sitting down? - about 2.7 million civilian employees, with an annual payroll of $173 billion. More than 1.5 million of these folks are in the Executive Branch - so many that 5,000 employees are needed in the Office of Personnel Management alone.

President-elect Obama will personally fill about 3,000 jobs, 600 of which require Senate confirmation. That leaves me with 2,400 positions to shoot for, since I could never go through one of those Capitol Hill hearings, with hot lights and photographers crawling around on the floor. I refuse to make a fool of myself on C-SPAN, placing my hand over the microphone to ask my attorney how many sips of water I'm allowed to take while struggling with a tough question.

After sending my application to change.gov I learned I will be receiving "additional forms, including financial disclosures, and be subject to other reviews which may include FBI background checks." Having recently spent three days completing paperwork to get a refund from a credit card company, I believe I am fully qualified to endure whatever forms, disclosures and checks Team Obama has in mind.

I am worried, however, that my degree in journalism could hurt my chances. Sarah Palin has a similar degree, and she's already been eliminated from consideration for a Federal job.

What might I do in the Obama Administration? I could easily serve in The Office of Bad Advice, a post William Safire held in the Nixon Administration. Often before Nixon gave a speech, Safire would pop in and advise, "Mr. President, I think you should take the easy way out." Later, Nixon would tell the nation with a straight face, "Some have advised me to take the easy way out, but that is something I will not do."

I could be the guy who trains the new First Dog. Obviously, after Barney Bush bit a reporter the job is going to be open on Jan. 20, if not sooner. My Shih Tzu, Dottie, is so well trained that she slept on the couch through 21 primary debates, four general election debates, and a recent news conference in which Mr. Obama expressed a fondness for "mutts." I would be happy to spread pee pads at key locations on the West Wing carpet.

Perhaps I could help coach the White House basketball team. I learned coaching Pony League baseball that winning is not important as long as you win; also, to make sure the most popular guys play the most, and that there is pizza after games.

There are sure to be hundreds of applications for the position of Body Man, the job that gets its name because this aide is rarely more than a body length away from the president - ready to hand him Black Forest Berry Honest Tea, or Nicorette gum. But Reggie Love is likely to retain the job, considering that the President-elect once told reporters, “There’s no doubt that Reggie is cooler than I am...I am living vicariously through Reggie.”

I'm afraid I could never be a Secret Service agent, because I can't stand sticking things in my ear, plus I don't own a black suit. Chief of Staff has already been grabbed by Rahm Emanuel, which is frustrating because I believe I was one of the very first applicants at the new Web site.

I was pleased to see that, "The Obama-Biden Transition Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law."

It would seem, however, that the Project discriminates against anyone who can't handle the Internet, which means I won't be competing with any of John McCain's unemployed staff for one of these great new White House jobs.

© Peter Funt. This column first appeared in The Boston Globe.

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