The system is down

Chalk this one up to another shortfall of the Bush administration. The Politico is reporting that Sen. Barack Obama's unprecedented fundraising operation has overwhelmed the Federal Election Commission's antiquated computer system.

Every campaign is required to submit a monthly report, detailing contributions and expenses line by line. According to the report:

Obama...filed an electronic fundraising report so large it could not be processed by popular basic spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel 2003 and Lotus 1-2-3. Those programs can’t download data files with more than 65,536 rows or 256 columns.
First off, I didn't know anyone used 1-2-3 anymore; I used that when I was an admin assistant back in 1995, and I thought the program had gone by the wayside ; this is a sign that this administration is way behind the times.

Of course, Excel 2007 can handle over 1,000,000 rows, and Microsoft Access (a database application) can handle almost unlimited amounts of data. But, each of those costs $229, and obviously any department that still uses 1-2-3 probably can't afford that.

So, between the FEC's non-enforcement of public campaign financing rules and this debacle, I feel really confident that things are going to go quite smoothly in the 2008 election season.

To be fair, upgrading to Excel 2007 is not that quick and easy. I tried doing it a couple months ago, and it didn't go so well. Here's a video re-enactment of what happened.

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