What I Just Wrote to Senator Reid

Update:  Several commenters have asked for free fax info.  I’ve never used the service (yup, luddite me) and googling the term I find a bunch of different options.  Anyone care to weigh in on the what and the how?  I’ll add it to the post if we can find a consensus on the service.

Update 2: 
Up from the comments, here are two recommendations for free fax transmission: Faxzero or Myfax.  Never used either — but that’s why we have a blog community, right?

So, just to follow up last night’s post, here’s my first attempt to be heard on what might come of the Catfood Commission redux the new joint Congressional committee on debt reduction:

Dear Senator Reid,

I write to ask you to commit to appointing as members of the so-called “Super Congress” committee on debt reduction only Democrats committed to revenue raising and tax reform as an essential, non-negotiable part of the deal.

We’ve already heard from your counterparts in the GOP:  they will appoint only those who oppose any tax revenue in the final package.  That’s both bad (disastrous) policy and bad politics for any Democrat.  We need to counter with strength the other side’s scorched-earth approach to every political dispute.  Right now, that means a committee composed of people who will not give on what both our country and our party desperately needs:  powerful voices defending the idea that when our country needs help, everyone, including (especially) the richest and most fortunate among us must rise to the occasion.

Don’t treat this as business as it used to be usual, when you could sit down with your counterparts and cut a reasonably equitable deal.  If the events of the last few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that those days are gone.

Act accordingly, or the country and our political fortunes as Democrats in 2012 will suffer terribly.

I don’t say it’s great prose, but of course, anyone who wants to grab any of it is more than welcome.  Reid’s contact page is here.  The GOS’s piece on this, from which I got that contact, is here.

Volume counts, both in decibels and amount.  So in your copious spare time, write the notes — to your own senators (Democrats on this issue, of course), representatives, the leadership, the White House, your local newspapers and so on.

A last thought:  several commenters in the thread from last night expressed some variation on the “it-doesn’t-matter because either the two parties are functionally the same, or the Democrats must necessarily cave/lose” theme.

Maybe so, but if ever there was a self-fulfilling prediction, that is one.

Image:  Gerard von Honthorst, Solon and Croesus, 1624.

35 replies
  1. 1
    Tomjones says:

    I pointed out on GOS the other day that this exercise would present a great opportunity for O-bots and Firebaggers to unite in a common cause, to set aside our vast differences over the degree of emotion to invest in our support/opposition to the big O, if only for a moment.

    I got fewer HRs than I thought I would, so this avenue shows promise.

  2. 2
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    What the hell is GOS?

  3. 3
    eric says:

    With all due respect, I think the proper recipient of this correspondence is Obama’s campaign folks. There is no way that Reid nominates anyone without the White House’s blessing. Of all the hills for the Left to truly die on — this is the one. This is the decision from Obama that will impact more people than any other he has made to date. The protection of the social safety net will require 6 sure votes from the Dems. pelosi will to this correctly. Now is where Obama’s desire for the middle and compromise must admit that true reality of GOP obstruction. The real issue is whether a moderate Dem (Conrad or Baucus) could sign onto what the six GOPers put together. I would hope not, but I would rather not take that chance with the social safety net. Obama — through Reid — needs to appoint reliable votes in favor of America’s most needed institutions and programs.

  4. 4
    lacp says:

    Nice letter – hit all the points that a Democratic elected official should be considering.

  5. 5
    Dexter says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    GOS is Great Orange Satan a.k.a. Daily Kos.

  6. 6
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Dexter: Thanks!

  7. 7
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):
    GOS= Great Orange Satan = Daily Kos.

    @eric: Fine. Send it to everyone. I’ve written to Obama a couple of times on this kind of stuff, most recently today in a birthday message plus small contribution. But these are not either-or propositions. Both/and is the order of the day

  8. 8
    General Stuck says:

    Reid won’t appoint a dem that will allow entitlements to be gutted or turned private, or likely any change to benefits, at this time. At some point with medicare, in the fairly near future, like ten years or so, when it nears insolvency, then both parties will get serious and make the necessary adjustments, that will be the least possible painful for their voters, even wingers.

    And really, if you noticed the voting patterns on the several bills in the House and Senate, it has been very close to unanimity of dems holding together to vote against wingnut bills that propose an overhaul, or major changes of any kind, right now to medicare and SS.s or the ACA

    The committee this close to the election, and dealing with foundational ideologies of both parties, will be a big top circus event for posturing and politicking with likely no end agreement. And I think most dems, if they can get past the butthurt of Obama giving anything to the wingers, should see this as a good and winning debate for democrats, between those who support medicare and SS, and those who want to destroy or privatize them.

    The incentive is all on the dems side to produce no agreement and go to the auto cuts.

  9. 9
    Violet says:

    write the notes—to your own senators (Democrats on this issue, of course)

    My Senators are both hard core Republicans. Why not write to them too? Too much giving away the game for the Dems or something? Waste of time?

  10. 10
    boss bitch says:

    You should add that free fax info when you do action posts.

    Your letter was good. Respectful.

  11. 11
    dr. bloor says:

    Nice letter, Tom, but dream on. It’s going to be closer to Nelson, Conrad and a PTBNL.

  12. 12
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Right now, that means a committee composed of people who will not give on what both our country and our party desperately needs

    Don’t worry, Harry’s only going to appoint the staunchest of liberals to the commission; liberals like, um, Max Baucus, and, er, Kent Conrad, or maybe, uh, Mark Warner, or, hey, Dan Inou–ah, fuck it. Never mind.

  13. 13
    JPL says:


    We need to counter with strength the other side’s scorched-earth approach to every political dispute. Right now, that means a committee composed of people who will not give on what both our country and our party desperately needs: powerful voices defending the idea that when our country needs help, everyone, including (especially) the richest and most fortunate among us must rise to the occasion.

    Sherrod Brown would be a good start, Casey and Whitehouse and Blumenthal might be good additions but I think Brown is the only one that would hold firm.

  14. 14
    boss bitch says:

    Ben Nelson is not going to be on the committee.

  15. 15

    i’m working on it.

    and by working on it i mean bribing my girlfriend’s daughter to legibly hand transcribe the messages, and securing access to the last operative fax machine i know of connected to a landline/fogiephone. snail mails will follow.

  16. 16
    Mary Jane says:

    @ boss bitch #10

    Great idea. Is it freefax dot com?

  17. 17
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Violet: Waste of time: this is a Democrat only decision.@dr. bloor: @fasteddie9318: @JPL:

    Well, maybe. But this is truly a low to no cost way to try to push the rock uphill. So you can moan in your cups (which is a perfectly respectable habit in which I indulge most evenings) and still hit the send button, just for laughs.


  18. 18
    Gravie says:

    I sent a letter. I will send more. I’ll send letters to anyone and everyone who can influence this decision. And, yes, the freefax info is really useful.

  19. 19
    boss bitch says:

    @Mary Jane:

    I forget. I Googled the term but none of the results look familiar.

  20. 20
    jwest says:

    You’ll be lucky if the Republicans use a little lube while dealing with left side of the committee.

  21. 21
    LGRooney says:

    Good letter but I think it needs the addition of a clause requesting people of categorically unimpeachable personal lives because the public will get distracted by “the shiny” when the GOP rolls out some video of some Dem member saying “fuck” somewhere to someone or hack into their phones a/o computers a/o financial records a/o tax returns to make sure they have usable dirt to ensure compliance with the Galtian Grifters and their Overlords (TM).

  22. 22
    nastybrutishntall says:

    Dear Senator Reid,

    As a staunch Democrat who worked to elect Barack Obama, I will not stand for Democrats dismantling the New Deal. If you don’t stand up for Medicare and Social Security, what do you stand for? How could you be called a Democrat? I consider “open mindedness” to be “empty headedness” if it includes a willingness to scrap my future security out of fear of the GOP, corporations, and Tea Party lunatics. I demand you appoint to the “Super Congress” only members that are committed to preserving, and even expanding, benefits and access to Social Security and Medicare. You need to appoint members who understand that, contrary to the lies that Fox News and the WSJ are paid to spread, current revenue raising on the rich and tax reform of loopholes that leave out working Americans is an essential, non-negotiable part of any deal that will actually secure our future.
    Senator Reid, The GOP wants to destroy America, the Democrats, and even YOU. Stop treating them as reasonable people willing to compromise. Democrats have given up the farm. Anything more, and we’ll give up the ghost as well as a nation. Don’t compromise our core values. Or there will be nothing left to vote for, and America’s destruction will be your legacy.

  23. 23
    Mary Jane says:

    @boss bitch:

    Did a history search, looks like it’s FaxZero. Here’s mistermix’s post from July 26:

    ETA: Appears that my first attempt at linking didn’t work. mistermix mentioned both FaxZero and OpenOffice (dot) org

  24. 24
    jayackroyd says:

    I think SCCC–Super Congress Catfood Commission.

    Talking to friend yesterday, we realized that the US has already tried this wise man rule thing–they called it the Electoral College. It never worked.

  25. 25
    Felanius Kootea says:

    I know he’s not a Democrat but all I ask is that Bernie Sanders be on the committee.

  26. 26

    ” when our country needs help, everyone, including (especially) the richest and most fortunate among us must rise to the occasion.”

    Beautifully phrased. Yes, please, I would like to borrow this.

  27. 27
    Samara Morgan says:

    for one thing, a goodly portion of the Republican base has signed on to Team Reaver.

    Simon: I don’t understand.
    Zoe: You’ve never heard of Reavers?
    Simon: Well, campfire stories of men gone savage on the edge of space, killing and—
    Zoe: They’re not stories.
    Simon: What happens if they board us?
    Zoe: If they take the ship, they’ll rape us to death, eat our flesh and sew our skins into their clothing. And if we’re very very lucky, they’ll do it in that order.

    Obama, Reid and Pelosi cockblocked the teabaggers on thier attempt to fuck up the the global economy.
    i predict this.
    Just like Serenity, the GOP made the teabaggers. now they have to deal with their creation.

  28. 28
    Maude says:

    Cat food is too expensive. It’s mac with no cheese, no margarine.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    Gaardian says:

    P.S. As an addendum to the above letter, please I beg of you, don’t put yourself on this committee. In every major Senate negotiation of the last three years you and your leadership have been more easily rolled than the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Under your leadership the Senate has ground to a halt under partisan Republican pressure.

    Please appoint Senators who understand that meeting crazy half way is, in of itself, a form of madness. Please appoint Senators who understand that Keynesianism is not the intellectual equivalent of a metaphor about balancing a checkbook. Please, I beg of you, fight fire with fire instead of the far less effective teddy bear snuggle. Thank you for your time.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    kt says:

    I would like to learn more about this “Super Congress.” If it is allowed to basically pass laws without a full vote, that seems like it’s bumping up against unconstitutionality. Not sure Congress can delegate its responsibility to an exclusive club of legislators.

  33. 33

    […] is:  keep those cards and letters coming, now, through the summer, and all the way to […]

  34. 34
    xian says:


    If it is allowed to basically pass laws without a full vote…

    It’s not.

  35. 35
    DougW says:

    Don’t send faxes. Unless you pick up the phone and actually make the phone call and talk to one of the aides, you aren’t included in the citizen comment tallies. I’ve received this information from numerous places and pols. I suppose it makes sense (not to me) so I’ve redirected my citizen input regimen.

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