Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Handling Your Member During The Congressional Recess

Our very own Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, through the House Republican Conference, is providing her fellow Republican House members with a planning kit containing lots of ideas for reinforcing the message of "Fighting Washington For You".  

"During August, I encourage you to echo this message and reaffirm our theme – 'Fighting Washington for You' – in all that you do, for there is no better message than one that puts the American people before an out-of-control government."  

Let us remember that Cathy McMorris Rodgers has been a part of Washington since 2005. She's on her fifth term as a member of the House. I doubt she realizes that she's looking in the mirror when she's talking about an out-of-control government. Regardless, she certainly doesn't like what she sees.

"Thank you for all that you do for the great country we all love. Please let me know how I can help you have an effective August recess as we take our unified message of fighting an out-of-control Washington to our homes."  

Sadly, it's all about a unified Republican message and seeking information that agrees with it as opposed to finding out what constituents think. There's even a sample op-ed for others to use as a template. When I search for key phrases at the end of August, I wonder how many verbatim copies I'll find in our country's newspapers.

Anyway, the planning kit is chock full of tips for her fellow members. Here are some highlights.

Concerning Meet Ups, we get this advice:  Invite at least 3-4 people with whom the Member already has an established relationship. This will strengthen the conversation and take it in a direction that is most beneficial to the Member’s goal. (The Member is to stand firm with a single-minded purpose. It helps if your Member has an established relationship with three or four other people. They know how to help reach the Member's goal.)  

Prepare a few questions in advance in case the conversation slowly starts. A meetup event should be closed press so everyone feels comfortable to candidly speak about the issues. (Have some softball questions on hand to break the ice and make people more comfortable with your Member. And don't invite the press. That way your Member doesn't go limp under the pressure presented by prying eyes or hard questions.)  

Concerning making YouTube videos:  Make sure to use a camera on a tripod. (Duh! You want your Member to be in frame and in focus, right? And don't get too close. Nobody likes the sight of a Member that completely fills the screen. The Member can save that for selfies.)  
Concerning a Jobs Fair:  Identify 3-4 times throughout the day for the Member of Congress to address attendees. (Expose your Member to the people. After all, the reason these people are here is to see your Member.)  

Concerning a Millennial Health Care Forum:  Select a health care provider with the same stance on the issue as your boss. (Your Member is your boss. There's no mention of how wide the stance must be, but you should know your Member well enough to know.)  

Concerning an Energy and Agriculture Tour:  Try to ensure that all forms of agriculture in the district are represented with a visit (dairy, sheep, pigs, beef, orchards, vineyards, etc.)  (Your Member should not show a preference for sheep over pigs, etc.)  

Concerning an Energy Production Facility Tour:  Encourage your Member to partake in the production processes as much as possible – wear a hard hat, learn how energy production at that particular facility works, etc. (Your Member has a head. Protect it. Plus, your Member wants to fit in so make sure your Member is fully prepared. Grease the skids so to speak.)  

Concerning a Gas and Groceries Tour:  Wear clothes in which you feel comfortable doing ‘hands-on’ work. (I assume this tip is for the Member, but you never know. Maybe the staff will be doing the "hands-on" work. Can you imagine the eruption that would occur if the staff got this wrong?) 

Concerning a Higher Education Tour:  Take a photo outside of the stadium, arena, or famous spot on campus wearing the school’s colors or team gear to promote on social media. (As many Members have discovered, Twitter and Facebook are excellent methods of sharing photos of your Member--with or without school colors or team gear.) 

Concerning a Hospital or Health Care Facility Tour:  Choose a local hospital that is familiar to many constituents in your district. Alternatively, if your Member represents a more rural area, rural hospitals are particularly effective for this purpose.  (Many Members have lots of experience with hospital visits. Make the most of it.)

Concerning a Main Street Tour:  Too many cameras and microphones following a Member may be found invasive by customers and business owners. (One camera is enough to capture your Member in action. Penetrating a customer's or business owner's intimate zone must be done with care. The last thing your Member wants to be seen as is invasive.)  

Concerning a Red Tape Tour and Roundtable:  Follow up with the attendees continually to update them on what the Member is doing to roll back red tape in Washington and clear the way for growth in the district.  (Your Member is all about growth.)  

Concerning a Senior Center Tour:  Work with each senior center to identify the best time to visit with built-in crowds. (As with the Job Fair, you want as many people as possible to see your Member.) 

Concerning a Drive Time Radio Tour:  Prepare a few compelling sound bites ahead of time. (The compelling level depends on how much your Member likes the bites.)  
Concerning Emergency Town Hall Meetings for Health Care and for Stopping Government Abuse: Do not speak from behind a podium on a stage above the audience. Engage from the floor and walk around with the microphone to get questions. (Again, you want your Member to be seen. Do not hide your Member behind a podium.)
I can hardly see my Member from here.


Anonymous said...

Yes, here's how the pros handle media:

Late on Tuesday, the White House took the unusual step of vocally opposing the [Amash] amendment ahead of the vote to include it in the annual Defense Department funding bill, calling it "not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process."

See how that works? First you secretly and illegally violate the Fourth Amendment against every American. Then your secret gets out, and you welcome a discussion. But you don't discuss it and instead censor newspapers (like the Guardian) and send reporters to jail.

Then, when Congress DOES debate the legality you give a couple top secret briefings and, with no sense of shame, complain Congress is not having an open or informed debate!

That's how the pros do media!

Spork Spie said...

The Administration has taken various proactive steps to advance this debate including the President’s meeting with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

Another funny from the most hypocritical White House statement of all time.

Spotato said...

Pelosi and Michelle Bachman will join forces against the Amash Amendment, which must mean it's an exceptionally good idea.

Whither Cathy McMorris Rodgers? She's been rather quiet since announcing she's pregnant.

We're about to learn where all House members stand on the Bill of Rights, and whether our children will inherit freedom or tyranny.

Spoker Face said...

"Mommy, where were you when Congress voted against democracy?"

Spokane Al said...

When I saw the headline of your blog post I thought you would be writing about Anthony Weiner. Color me a tad disappointed.

Anonymous said...

With her vote to limit NSA spying, McMorris Rodgers has now done more for civil liberties than Obama.

That's the open, informed, deliberate, blunt--and sad--truth.

Spodi said...

As an added little "fuck you" to Washington State, Obama the Choomster just ordered a resumption of pot raids here.

Our president is psychotic.

Spotocious said...

I dunno Hank. Even four months pregnant, our Member had the balls to vote for the Fourth Amendment. Just saying, might wanna ykk bro.

The Amash Amendment narrowly lost a battle, but pro Constitutional forces are steadily winning the war.

The New York Times said the close margin was "unexpected" and then buried the story again. Actually, the margin was just as close as Amash and the ACLU predicted

"Open and Informed" is the new "Fair and Balanced."

The President's anti-Constitutional and Wall Street policies are losing bets in the trans-Mississippi West. We're no longer Democrats vs Republicans. We're East vs West.

As the economy continues to divide rich and poor, we are also those on top versus those below. The Pesident can no longer pretend to be a populist, having sided with Wall Street.

All he can do to prove his manhood is sic the feds on cancer-riddled potheads.

Very sad.

Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering how Mrs. Obama feels about Mr. Obama's odd new bed partner, Michelle Backmann!

Rumor is Mr. Obama even has a new codename to facilitate his, um, intercourse with right wing Members.

Meet "Anthony Weiner."

Wayne Regretsky said...

Aside from Amash and Conyer, the real star yesterday was Sensenbrenner, author of the Patriot Act, and sincerely remorseful on its secret application.

Comrade Citizen said...

Meanwhile the oily Ben Stuckart is bragging in the Inlander about how Spokane Police track the GPS coordinates of every car in Spokane, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and the Washington Constitution's privacy clause.

Stuckart never misses an opportunity to vote for more elite surveillance of us proles, despite occasionaly hollow posturing.

Another guy I can't believe I once voted for. Not surprisingly, Stuckart is most passionate when defending his right to meet secretly with corporations about city business.

Bleh. Time for a complete change on the council and mayor's office.

Weft, Warped said...

Fawning to armed authority, drooling over technocratic solutions, scornful of citizen rights and Constitutional restraints...

That's not just Ben, that's the President and a whole generation of politicians who came to power post-911, post web, post Cheney, post-torture, post TARP.

There's more to repairing the democratic fabric than just replacing people. Be careful about playing to the great man, "right people" dynamic.

Hacky Sack said...

I'll meta this. I think the new politicians are living in a culture where the hacked shortcut is assumed superior to the system hacked.

Cheney was a master hacker--he hacked the Constitution in many ways. Normally, the courts would call bullshit (eg Gitmo prisoners must have some sort of positive legal status, not none), but, guess what, Cheney had hacked the judiciary, too.

Politicians have basically hacked elections (Citizens United was a hack).

In this sense, Obama was exactly wrong calling Snowden a hacker. Obama is the hacker, Snowden is trying to get us back to the system.

About the hack:

--It is ultimately dependent on the system hacked for definition (the Fourth is meaningless to Obama, but not the constitutional clause that elected him). The hack may eventually undermine what the hacker is standing on.

--The hack is not rigourously tested against the prehack system for desirability.

--As Snowden pointed out about computer hacks, they are not neutral, they can damage both computer systems and social systems.

--Hackers have a conservative and erroneous notion about hacks. They assume they will be stable through time. They see hacks as predictable programs.

So, you hack the Fourth Amendment to allow a new search which is just a cover for a developing mess of searches until there is no meaning to the Fourth. Eventually that means the Fourth becomes a political tool for power, which in turns undermines the elections clause.

Politicians at the federal level seem to be waking up to what the NSA hacks to the Fourth (the Patriot Act) mean to the foundational system that gives them power in the first place.

I didn't read the Inlander article, but you can see how a pol would like surveillance to solve some nagging crime issue. He's not thinking about the wearing effect of surveillance to the underlying democratic system.

Lower level pols at the federal level are getting suspicious--they themselves lack the power to keep from being surveilled. Their power becomes dependent on processes that are secret even to them. The party elites are less worried--they are part of the hack, they get to see the intel. They GAIN power (at first) through surveillance.

Hacks can't replace systems. We're losing the system.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Snowden is a sys admin!

SpoPo is already using the license plate sweep for purposes beyond which they stated in their initial announcement.

There are millions of possible uses for this data. Why should it even be limited to law enforcement, since the legal theory would apply to any agency.

Do these cars drive through downtown during political demonstrations? How is that data used? Is it shared at the Fusion Center?

Because this "hack" lies almost entirely outside of court review (the original program), the system itself erodes.