I was listening to Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter being interviewed on Public Radio as I drove home from teaching today and the argument he was making was that Obama should not have to give up his Blackberry as the security mavens around him are demanding. Indeed, Alter gave lots of good reasons why Obama should stay plugged in.
In this day and age when corporate users and those developing highly secret government projects are using their Blackberries, the President should have at least the same access to personal communication. There are plenty of means to encrypt everything and Obama is an intelligent user. It was his use of the Blackberry that helped him get through this very tough election… and the Republicans didn’t break his security… But I’ll bet they tried!
One of the reasons we liked Obama more than McCain was that McCain seemed to make it a point in his favor that he didn’t know how to use a computer or do e-mail. Hey… this is the Twenty-First Century. If the President can use a phone he can use a Blackberry.
If the argument is that the law says all his communications have to eventually be public, then so what? Are the historians and investigators concerned that they will have to key up hundreds of thousands of short messages? That’s their problem.
Obama has already said he’ll be the first President with a laptop computer on his desk (my guess is that it will be his beloved Apple iBook), he should also put his foot down and tell the crowd that will be sealing him away from the world for one or two terms to shove it.
I’ll bet the heads of France, Germany or England have no trouble if they want a Blackberry around.