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Friday, August 31, 2007

Politics - Action Item

Turkey receives oral from turkey

My first email is to Nancy Pelosi:
It has come to my attention thatGeorge W. Bush is planning to ask the Congress to give him yet another $50 BILLION to throw down the tubes in Iraq. Madam Speaker, I am writing you today to ask you to, for once, use the power of the purse that the Constitution's framers granted to Congress. Do not give Bush that money, and pass a law that restricts the use of the other $147 billion you recently gave him to the sole mission of shipping the soldiers safely home from Iraq. No other course of action is acceptable.


Madame X
If you are a constituent, you can reach Nancy Pelosi at:
If you are not a constituent, you can reach her at:

Tomorrow it's a postcard or two.

Next email is to Harry Reid:
Senator Reid,

The American people elected the Democrats in the hope that this would result in winding down the war in Iraq. To date, neither you nor Speaker Pelosi has shown the ability and the inclination to force an end to this unjust war. Next week, George W. Bush comes to you to request a further $50 billion to fund this illegal, immoral war.

I urge you to put your foot down, finally, and refuse to give him another cent. Moreover, I beseech you to pass legislation forcing Bush to end the war and safely bring the troops home. It doesn't matter if you don't have the required number of votes. Do it anyway, and send the bill back as many times as necessary. Your symbolic gesture will be greatly appreciated by those whose loved ones are dying in Iraq.

You can contact Harry Reid at:
Here (culled from Firedoglake), a handy list of tips from someone who actually has worked for a congresscritter:
Here are some suggestions about contacting your Representative and Senators.
  • First, remember what’s going on here. You are NOT, in all likelihood, going to change your Congress Critter’s mind. [This is especially true if your Congress Critter is “out there.”] What you are doing is letting your Critter know that there’s a VOTER in his/her district who has been paying enough attention to notice the Critter’s vote on an issue.

  • Second, remember the difference between Senators’ offices and those of Representatives: a Senator has to deal with an entire state. That means LOTS of mail. A Representative — not so much (but still a fair amount).

  • Third, what gets their attention is mail [or phone calls, e-mail, or FAXes]. LOTS of mail….In a Senate office especially, the Senator is not likely to see what you wrote. So your eloquent prose and flawless reasoning are not going to sway the day.

    The full mailbags of polite but angry letters will. It’s a game of numbers. (And BTW, that genuine-looking signature on the “thank you” letter will definitely be written with an auto-pen.)

  • Mail comes into the office [the DC office, anyway] and is opened & sorted by the lowest person on the staff totem pole. It’s “tallied” — first, letters (or postcards or FAXes or e-mails) are divided according to issue and counted. Then, for “big” issues, the pros/cons are tallied: X many letters “for” an issue; Y many letters “against.” The results are usually relayed to the Senator/Rep. or his/her chief of staff.

    Sometimes a few “representative” letters will be pulled out by the legislative assistant or someone else, to give the Congress Critter an idea of what the mail’s like. It all depends on the Critter: some care (especially new ones), some don’t.

    Someone on the staff is assigned to write a vanilla/milquetoast response for each issue. [”Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I will certainly keep them in mind when this issue comes to the floor.” ]

    You can spot the drill: they’re trying to make you feel as though your writing mattered, trying to provide a little “info” about what a great person your Critter is, etc. This end of the exchange [the letter to you] doesn’t really matter. [You don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy any more, do you?] What’s important is that you’ve sent a message to them.

  • In addition to his/her DC office, your Critter has one or more “district” or “home” offices. Most constituents know about the DC office & write their Critter there, but the home office(s) will usually keep a tally of mail as well. So hey, spend an extra 24 cents and send a postcard to the district office(s) as well.
Here are some ways to maximize your impact:
  • Go sit at your breakfast table, write a SHORT note, identifying yourself as a constituent, and give ‘em a POLITE earful.

  • Send one note to the DC office of your Critter, another [one or two] to the “District Office(s)” — they will be listed in your phone book.

  • Tell as many of your friends, family, co-workers, etc. to do likewise. Offer to provide them with names, addresses, text. (I send out a “mass e-mail” to my friends, urging them to write. On the current FISA issue, I’ve gone through my “friends” list, identified people in states with Traitorous Dems, provided a summary of the issue/vote, suggested a brief point or two to be made, and included the respective Critter’s addresses. And then begged them to write.)

  • You can call, write, e-mail and FAX. You want to generate a “man, are they pissed” reaction at the Congressional office.

  • Some have pointed out that it may be more effective to send a postcard rather than a letter. It may get through faster, since it doesn’t have to go through whatever “anthrax screening” may still be operating. Same is true for a FAX.

  • Quality does count for a bit. As someone said, as a staffer it’s nice to read something “readable” as opposed to a crazy rant. But, the truth is each communication represents a “voter.” No intelligence or style test before going into the voting booth – Congress Critters know that.

    You’re basically trying — with respect to the most recalcitrant, pig-headed ones — to let them know there’s a voter out there [hell, there are LOTS of voters out there] who pays attention to the news, who feels strongly about an issue, who knows who his/her Congress Critter is, who knows how his/her Critter voted on this important issue, and who will remember all of this when the next election comes around.

    Many “bad” Critters rely on the fact that most voters don’t pay attention to the issues. They believe they can sway them with platitudes and tv spots.

    But above all, most Critters want to stay in office. Even if your card/letter/phone call/e-mail/FAX, and those of your many friends/relatives/co-workers don’t “change a mind,” they WILL put a little fear into your Critter and make him/her just a little less sure he/she can pull off the usual song & dance.

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