We've had a tempestuous week, Deecy Ceecy and I.

In one message she told me I was incredible. In the next she told me to kiss all hope goodbye.

She thanked me for all my support in one message, and pleaded for my help in another. She apologized for contacting me late on a Friday, then said she was sorry for emailing me early on a Saturday.

It's my own fault, I suppose. About two years ago, in a rare burst of political enthusiasm, I gave her a little gift. Nothing extravagant, mind you. A bauble, merely. A bag of shells. She has stalked me ever since.


I ignored every appeal, but they kept right on coming. Once, she sent me a FINAL NOTICE: Either I forked over another token of my esteem or we were quits. As usual, I did not respond and figured that was the end of it. Imagine my surprise, then, when she called me one of her strongest supporters. I have since received multiple FINAL NOTICES, often followed by extravagant expressions of gratitude for stepping up "in a big, big way," though I did not step up at all.

Lately, the appeals have been cast in terms of romantic rivalry: If I fail to send another gift, BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLongtime House parliamentarian to step down Five things we learned from this year's primaries Bad blood between Pelosi, Meadows complicates coronavirus talks MORE wins. I am supposed to want to humiliate this Boehner, to crush him, to leave him speechless, to "give him a kick in the gut."

Once she even told me there was "nothing more headache-inducing to John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLongtime House parliamentarian to step down Five things we learned from this year's primaries Bad blood between Pelosi, Meadows complicates coronavirus talks MORE" than I. Now I'm no psychotherapist, but this obsession with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) seems a little unhealthy to me.

But there is more at stake than vanquishing Boehner, apparently. Either I deliver some tangible proof of my loyalty or "our campaign to win a Democratic House for President Obama will be doomed from the start.
" Either I come through or "we might as well throw in the towel for the remainder of his presidency." Either I respond or I'll "miss out on history."

That explains all the make-or-break midnight deadlines, all the magic donation targets, all the exhortations to "chip in," to "have the president’s back":

  • "If we want to fight back, we HAVE to get to the $2,OOO,OOO mark this weekend."
  • "We just ran the numbers: it'll take another 8,947 donations before tonight's midnight fundraising deadline to be able to compete."
  • "We just need 276 more gifts before the weekend to land a CRUSHING BLOW to Boehner and his frivolous lawsuit."
  • "If we can hit the $8 MILLION MARK before tomorrow's vote to sue the President, we'll deliver yet another humiliating setback to Boehner."
  • "We have to hit 1,000,000 supporters by MIDNIGHT. No ifs, ands, or buts about it."

The urgency of it all also explains why I have heard from Vice President Biden ("you have been there for Barack and me in the past"), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi ("I'm tired of it. I'm fed up. And I'm ready to fight back"), Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaBlack stars reimagine 'Friends' to get out the vote Obama shares phone number to find out how Americans are planning to vote Michelle Obama: 'Don't listen to people who will say that somehow voting is rigged' MORE ("Barack is working hard on the issues that matter to so many of us") and the president himself ("Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Democratic groups using Bloomberg money to launch M in Spanish language ads in Florida Harris faces pivotal moment with Supreme Court battle MORE has emailed you. Michelle has emailed you. And now I've emailed you").

And it explains the breathless tone of messages like this one:

"If you step up before midnight, it'll be a major victory for us, but if we don't it'll be a tragic conclusion to what could have been a great night."

Be still, my heart.

Nancy Pelosi tells me, "Speaker Boehner was shaking down his Tea Party Republicans for last-minute cash."

Not the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, though. So glad to be the recipient of such high-minded appeals.

Frank teaches journalism at Penn State University.