Call me, call me anytime

My email inbox tells me that the President wants everyone to phone our Republican Representative and ask him or her to please either pass his middle-class tax break or else propose an actual alternative. That sounds like a plan, so stop reading blogs and pick up the phone.

Question: My Representative is the stupidest dumkopf in drooltown. Should I still call him or her?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Even Virginia Foxx?

Answer: Even Allen West. These campaigns work best as a full court press.

If you have a Democratic Representative, thank him or her for being awesome. Don’t worry about the Senate.

Find your Congressperson here.

Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Guide for first timers below the jump.

(1) Use a phone. Email has nigh on zero impact. Trust me on this. Letter mail gets read and in fact has the most impact of all, but you don’t have time. Reach the House switchboard at (202) 224-3121 .

(2) Remember, this person works for you. You pay his or her salary and you voted for them. You’re the boss here, or at least one of them, and it’s they who should worry about what you think of them.

(3) Identify your name and the town or neighborhood where you live zip code. If you are not a constituent don’t bother. Since you guys never listen to me, at least google a zip code in the appropriate district before you call.

(4) State the issue. This is easy: pass the Senate bill or the party gets it. We can (and certainly will) fix the shortcomings later. Talking points above.

(5) How strongly do you feel? Don’t apologize about feeling passionate or pissed off. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. However, keep in mind that teabaggers threaten the apocalypse over everything. Interns get jaded pretty fast when call volume is high. Polite but firm is the best way to go.

63 replies
  1. 1
    slag says:

    I spoke again with my Rep’s office yesterday, and they suggested also calling the White House and leaving a comment: http://www.whitehouse.gov/cont.....-call#call

  2. 2
    TooManyJens says:

    I’m getting my representative’s voice mail. The optimistic interpretation is that they’re getting flooded with calls. The pessimistic interpretation is that he’s retiring in less than a month and they’ve given up talking to constituents. Anyway, I left a message.

  3. 3
    kindness says:

    I’m an anomoly. I want the bush43 tax cuts to end period. I don’t want cuts in Medicare/Medicaid or Social Security and it appears that is the only quid pro quo that Republicans will take. So hasta la vista baby. I’ll happily pay the extra $100+ a month (well I won’t grumble too much at least). And really if it is the only way to get the top 2% to pay more, I am cool with it. Shut those deficit hawk whiners up.

  4. 4
    Linda Featheringill says:

    I have faxed handwritten letters to the 25 Republican members of the House who have shown some measure of independence by renouncing Norquist.

    TooManyJens: Starting Friday evening, I ran into difficulties with Washington, DC phone/fax numbers. I wonder if it is a technical problem in DC. But I switched to the home offices of the representatives and managed to get through. Sometimes it didn’t work the first time, though.

  5. 5
    The Moar You Know says:

    Letter mail gets read and in fact has the most impact of all, but you don’t have time.

    Au contraire, letter mail can be the fastest way of all, unless you handwrite. Handwriting would be a waste of time for all concerned in my case; illegible doesn’t begin to describe it.

    I have envelopes and letters pre-formatted on my computer, this is EASY to do, and I just type in my message, slap a stamp on it and trust the post office to do the rest.

  6. 6
    Mnemosyne says:

    If your rep has a fax number available, you can also fax a letter to him/her. It’s not quite as good as snail mail, but much better than an e-mail.

    I guarantee you that your rep is being bombarded by calls from teabaggers, so you really need to get your voice in there. Otherwise, the only conclusion your rep can come to is that a majority of his/her constituents really, really hate all of the president’s ideas.

  7. 7
    Origuy says:

    Even Louie Gohmert? Just kidding, my Representative is a solid progressive, Mike Honda.

  8. 8
    Saint Timonious says:

    Toll free numbver for the House is : 1-800-962-3524

  9. 9
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    But when the letter gets to Washington, it has to go through the security stuff and that could take a couple of weeks or more.

    [Faxes, of course, don’t carry poisons or explosives with them.]

  10. 10
    Schlemizel says:

    @kindness:

    Does the bright light hurt your eyes after all those years living under a rock? If you think the defective hawks will be satisfied by a little blood sacrifice you obviously have not been among the living for the last 30 years.

  11. 11
    Tokyokie says:

    Done!

  12. 12
    Schlemizel says:

    a couple of days ago someone posted contact info for a project where you could get people in gooper districts to contact the gooper for you (nice for those of us with sane Congresspeople) – can we get that info again please

  13. 13
    TooManyJens says:

    @Linda Featheringill: I tried a few times before I gave up and left a message. I can’t call when I’m at work, but I’ll try again later today or tomorrow depending on when I can get away.

  14. 14
    Carl Nyberg says:

    What if my representative has resigned?

    And what if I prefer the fiscal cliff to the alternative deal they will negotiate?

    I sorta agree that middle-class taxes should rise.

    The middle-class are the dumbasses who went along with the policies that created the debt.

    Without the big cuts to defense required by the fiscal cliff, the U.S. government isn’t going to get its act together anyways.

  15. 15
    dww44 says:

    I called my tea party rep’s DC office yesterday. His staffer told me that Scott is against all tax increases. No surprises there. This will only work if he and others hear from a whole bunch of progressives.

  16. 16
    Keith says:

    I’m ignoring the president’s emails until he weighs in on Washington & Colorado. Sorry, but it’s my prerogative.

  17. 17
    Tim in SF says:

    Letters are the best. A phone-call is second-best, but a lot easier. A third option is to write a letter, then call and read the letter. :-)

    Don’t write emails.

  18. 18
    TooManyJens says:

    @dww44: He responded to your call in favor of a tax decrease by saying he wouldn’t vote for it because he’s against all tax increases?

    Sounds about right.

  19. 19
    NCSteve says:

    But my representative really is Virginia Foxx.

  20. 20
    NCSteve says:

    But my representative really is Virginia Foxx.

  21. 21
    TooManyJens says:

    How in the hell did that get me put in moderation?

  22. 22
    dmsilev says:

    I currently don’t have a representative (he resigned, and won’t have a replacement for months). One of my Senators is out on medical leave, and the other one is Dick Durbin. Not much I can do, I think.

  23. 23
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Congresscritter DeFazio: You are awesome!

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @TooManyJens:

    How in the hell did that get me put in moderation?

    You obviously were thinking about a “male enhancement” when you posted that.

  25. 25
    Roger Moore says:

    @kindness:
    I don’t personally mind paying the extra that I’ll have to pay if the Bush tax cuts expire, but I’m worried about what they’ll do to people who aren’t as well off as you and I are. I think all the tax cuts need to expire sometime, but it would be better to put off ending the tax cuts for the lowest tax brackets until after the economy is in better shape.

  26. 26
    The Moar You Know says:

    Snailmail typed up and stamped, ready to go this afternoon.

  27. 27
    PurpleGirl says:

    @NCSteve: I know the double posting is the fault of WordPress but somehow it seems appropriate — an emphasis of having Virginia Foxx as your Congressperson. Just saying.

  28. 28
    namekarB says:

    My representative is Tea Party hero Tom McClintock CA-04

    Voice mailbox was full so could not leave a message. I sent a letter via FAX

  29. 29
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Keith:

    Enjoy having your parents move in with you when the House shuts down the government and their Social Security payments stop. Hey, it’s your prerogative!

  30. 30
    The Moar You Know says:

    But when the letter gets to Washington, it has to go through the security stuff and that could take a couple of weeks or more.

    @Linda Featheringill: Which is why I ALSO have the addresses for their local offices typed up and saved as well. Snailmail or live phone calls are the only things that get their attention, the rest is worthless. Fax is probably good, but that’s a work-based thing (I have neither the machine nor the landline it requires at home) which in my case is:

    1. out of my rep’s district
    2. due to the nature of my work, illegal as fuck

    So I’d love to fax but it’s not going to happen.

  31. 31
    EdTheRed says:

    *Sigh* I live in DC. So, yeah, let me just write a letter to NO FUCKING BODY. Maybe the president could, you know, put in a word or two for DC representation once every term or so. Then I could actually, ya know, contact my representative. Not that I’d need to, because I’m pretty sure my rep would be as reliably blue as they come…which, of course, is why I don’t fucking have a rep.

    Whatevs, at least it’s not my fault when the jacknut congress you guys elected drives us all over a cliff.

  32. 32
    TooManyJens says:

    @The Moar You Know: You could use an email-to-fax gateway. It’s what I use for contacting my representatives when I can’t bring myself to call.

  33. 33
    PurpleGirl says:

    @TooManyJens: He could also probably send a letter by fax through the word processing program. Both Word and WordPerfect will do that.

  34. 34
    Keith says:

    @Mnemosyne: Dead mother, and I’d love to have my dad live with me…he’s a stoner.

  35. 35
    cmorenc says:

    @Keith:

    I’m ignoring the president’s emails until he weighs in on Washington & Colorado. Sorry, but it’s my prerogative.

    My hunch is that you’re also ignoring the President’s emails because you’re too stoned on some trippy sativa to write more than a once-sentence reply. HEY! That’s not a criticism man, it’s envy!

  36. 36
    Tim in SF says:

    No, Faxs are NOT good. They can be electronically generated, are sent electronically, are often received by a computer and reviewed prior to printing.

    Faxes are seen as emails: about 1/10,000 the value of a letter.

    Send a god damn letter. Print it out, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and send it off. The most effective political change comes from paper and pen.

  37. 37
    catclub says:

    @Linda Featheringill: I think this explains why you send the handwritten letter to the local office, then THEY fax it to DC, because it was a handwritten letter.

  38. 38
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I suspect that an effort on ALL fronts is what gets things done. So whatever we do is not wasted. Yea for us!

    On the other hand, I bought a basic fax machine from Amazon for under 45.00. It doesn’t require a second landline to function, although you can’t fax and talk on the phone at the same time. And you can fax at any time, day or night if they leave their machine on and keep paper in it.

    Just sayin’.

  39. 39
    Gretchen says:

    @TooManyJens:
    How does the email to fax gateway work?

  40. 40
    Mike E says:

    @PurpleGirl: I believe the double posting of Ginny Foxx is the result of locking eyes with the Congresswoman ;-]

  41. 41
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @catclub:

    You’re probably right.

    One good thing about handwritten letters is that they obviously are not computer-generated spam. And you have a point that it might be better to send them to the local office anyway as the letter is likely to get more individual attention.

  42. 42
    Gretchen says:

    I just called the tea-party rep of my purple district. I can’t believe this guy ran essentially unopposed, and still lost 30% of the vote to some Libertarian nobody ever heard of. We had a Dem rep for 10 years until he retired, and this bozo, whom the Dem had beaten in the past, slipped in.
    I called this morning and spoke to his bored and annoyed-sounding staffer. She had to be prompted to take my name. I asked if they were getting lots of calls and she said “Oh, yes.” I wish I knew which direction the calls are going.

  43. 43
    catclub says:

    @Tim in SF: I remember that one. Thanks for the link.

  44. 44
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Tim in SF: #36

    Send a god damn letter. Print it out, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and send it off. The most effective political change comes from paper and pen.

    You are probably correct.

    But if you’re sending it to some other rep from some other district . . . .

  45. 45
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tim in SF:

    So does he even mention anthrax and the length of time it takes for a letter to get through the security system set up in Congress? I don’t have time to watch an entire TED talk just to find out that he’s full of shit.

  46. 46
    Tim in SF says:

    @Mnemosyne: He doesn’t mention any of that, to my recollection. But you should be sending it to the local office, not to the congressional office.

    Or, watch the video to learn details of an interesting hack: You write the letter, copy it, send the original to the local office, mark the copy with “COPY” and mail that to the DC office.* This makes it more likely the rep will be handed your letter.

    My suggestion is to bookmark the video and watch it when you have some time. It’s short but it will stay with you for years.

    * – I may have reversed which office gets the original and which office gets the copy.

  47. 47
    Brachiator says:

    If you have a Democratic Representative, thank him or her for being awesome. Don’t worry about the Senate.

    Worry about everyone, including the White House.

    Send your messages to everying urging raising the taxes on the wealthy, keeping the middle class tax cuts, and ending phony attacks on Social Security and Medicare.

    The Republicans know they have to cave. Now, the media is pushing stories about how Democrats and Republicans both need to get concessions in order to save face.

    The only thing that matters is what is best for the American people. Congress can’t keep putting off doing their jobs until the last possible moment, and then claim that they need to be thrown a bone to salve their hurt fee fees.

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tim in SF:

    I’m just not sure that a guy who seems to be unaware that Congress has had very strict screening policies for snail mail in place since the anthrax attacks of 2001 knows what he’s talking about. Sorry.

    ETA: Marking your letter as a copy isn’t going to make it get through the screening any faster.

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tim in SF:

    Just to be clear, he’s probably right about issues that are not going to be brought to a vote almost immediately. But when time is of the essence, the screening procedures in place mean that it’s very likely that your hand-written letter will arrive after the vote actually takes place.

  50. 50
    NCSteve says:

    @PurpleGirl: I was looking for the “spits on the ground” html code button, but it’ll do.

  51. 51
    Keith says:

    @cmorenc: It’s very, very hard to be too stoned…different intoxication curve from alcohol. Very non-linear

  52. 52
    jp7505a says:

    @Brachiator: Obama’s approach should be – ‘here are my terms, please sign on the dotted line’. When Boehner asks what is in it for him tell him we’ll name a post office in his honor.

    Obviously soc. sec./medicare ane medicad need a bit of up-dating, the world is a different place than it was when these programs were passed. The last major update to social security was 1986.

    The problem is the GOP wants to eliminate these programs one way or another. If they can’t outright repeal them, then death by 1000 cuts will work just as well.

    We already see some of the impacts of the GOP strategy in the discretionary spending accounts. Approx. 300 billion in actual cuts and another 300 billion in not keeping up with a growing and older population. GOP govenors who have cut the number of teachers in spite of the fact that there are more school kids today than last year and there will be more next year.

    Following this story is just very depressing. The GOP is ruthless and crazy and the Democrats are clueless and spineless. The former beats the later every time.

    What it really comes down to is are we a country that is to poor to afford the level of government that we use or are we a rich country that doesn’t want to pay for those government services.

  53. 53
    TooManyJens says:

    @Gretchen: I use greenfax.com, but there are others. You basically email the letter as an attachment to a specific email address. Different services have slightly different instructions. Or apparently there’s some way to do it from Word and Wordperfect, but I don’t know how to do that.

    If you want to send something handwritten, you could write the letter and then scan it in.

    On the whole “send it to the local office” issue: I was told by our rep’s DC office that policy feedback should go to the DC office, and constituent-service type questions to the local office. Also, some of the locals are total assholes if you express a policy view they don’t like, and who knows what they’re passing along. I suspect that there is no One True Right Way that works optimally for every rep.

  54. 54
    Brachiator says:

    @TooManyJens:

    On the whole “send it to the local office” issue: I was told by our rep’s DC office that policy feedback should go to the DC office, and constituent-service type questions to the local office. Also, some of the locals are total assholes if you express a policy view they don’t like, and who knows what they’re passing along. I suspect that there is no One True Right Way that works optimally for every rep.

    Some members of Congress may also use Facebook and Twitter. Use those as well to contact them.

    I did a search for “California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s email or facebook” and found a nice page set up to send email and select the appropriate topic it related to.

    At the bottom of the page is address, phone and fax information for her local offices. I would imagine that other reps have similar setups.

  55. 55
    kindness says:

    My House rep is a Teahaddist. I’ve already signed the petitions and e-mailed him but it won’t matter. He’s one of the dyed in the wool blind to anyone else genetic mutants.

    You live out in the country and you somehow get surrounded by fools. Why does that happen like that anyhow?

  56. 56
    catclub says:

    @jp7505a: “The former beats the later every time.”

    Well, except for recent national elections, the debt ceiling negotiations, and general popularity.

    latter

  57. 57
    Ruckus says:

    I’m going to save a dime(OK yes I’m old) and not call Henry Waxman for no reason. And Boxer is easily on our(my) side here as well. The only other call would be to Feinstein and that in my experience is a waste of time. Contact with her seems to be ignored on a daily basis. I wish an actual liberal would run for her seat next time as she is 79 yrs old now. This has to be her last. It just has to be.

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    My rep is Adam Schiff (CA-29) and he always includes a poll with his e-mailed congressional newsletter. (You get on that list by e-mailing or faxing his office with an issue.) I assume he pays attention to the polling since his office actually creates it and sends it out.

    Today’s question was, “Should Congress raise the eligibility age for Medicare?” with four possible answers (two “yes” and two “no”).

  59. 59
    Ellyn says:

    Should I call a Republican district rep and pretend to be from that district? Can I get away with it? Or should I just call my own Dem rep and sa y, “You’re awesome”?

  60. 60
    Brachiator says:

    @Ellyn:

    Should I call a Republican district rep and pretend to be from that district? Can I get away with it? Or should I just call my own Dem rep and sa y, “You’re awesome”?

    I think people should call their own reps. Otherwise the GOP will whine that somebody might be playing dirty tricks on them.

  61. 61
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ellyn:

    It’s always good to call your rep and tell them that they’re awesome, because I guarantee you that they’re getting 500 calls a day from teabaggers telling them that they suck.

    That’s one of the reasons the teabaggers have such outsized influence — they call over and over and over again and make it look like there’s a huge public outcry when it’s really more like a couple hundred or couple thousand of them making multiple calls.

  62. 62
    jp7505a says:

    From the VSP’s at Politico ‘They will also tell you Medicare, which is on pace to be insolvent in 12 years, is a much, much bigger mess and threat to long-term economic vitality — and much harder to solve. Yes, the rich need to get smaller benefits, but that is almost meaningless in terms of fixing it. Ultimately, many Americans will have to get less generous benefits that start to kick in at an older age — and those changes need to start a decade from now. Otherwise, the math simply doesn’t work.’

    So in order for the confidence fairy to come visit, when Joe Six-pack’s doctor tells him he needs a quadruple-bypass, he should be satified with a lesser benefit land have a double bypass instead.

    I’m sure the masters of the universe and the VSP’s will be very appreciative of the sacrifice.

  63. 63
    Neldob says:

    Thanks.

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