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We all became Bob Graham

His quirk of recording daily minutiae is just standard social media behavior now

Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., died on April 16. His habit of recording his daily minutia is now standard social media behavior for billions of people.
Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., died on April 16. His habit of recording his daily minutia is now standard social media behavior for billions of people. (Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., who died on April 16, was ahead of his time.

For purposes of this observation, it was not so much for his joining forces with his Intelligence Committee chairman counterpart, fellow Floridian Porter Goss, to argue for a restructuring of the intelligence community. Or the threat of al-Qaida and Hezbollah to U.S. interests. Or his observation that his home state was dealing with issues the rest of America would face in due time: immigration, unchecked growth and environmental degradation.

No, it was for something he did that many thought downright odd at the time — but a good chunk of his fellow Americans would eventually come around to with equal obsession.

It was his decades-long practice of writing about his daily minutiae — everything from his breakfast choices to how long it took him to rewind a video of “Ace Ventura.”

Graham’s “zealous habit” for filling up thousands of spiral-bound notebooks might have been a factor in being passed up as a vice presidential pick in 1992 and 2000, according to CQ’s Politics in America 2004. And when he mulled running for president in 2004, his rivals were ready to pounce.

Writing in Salon in 2003, former Roll Call cartoonist and future CNN anchor Jake Tapper quoted an adviser for one of Graham’s Democratic rivals: “Most voters will find them strange and sort of bewildering. They’re a weird quirk.”

That’s now standard social media behavior.

Graham did this primarily for himself, what he described as a discipline — and handy way to remember campaign supporters. The two-term governor, three-term senator and former member of the Florida House and Senate never lost an election.

But meals and mundanity is what fills everyone’s feeds, tweets, truths and reels. Graham’s analogue vibe might even resonate with the vinyl-and-Moleskin crowd.

Bob “’Gram” indeed.

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