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Spin Control

Posts tagged: debt ceiling

Sunday spin: The American people want…what?

It was difficult to catch any member of Congress on the television last week who wasn’t talking about doing what the American people want.
The American people, it seems, want them to cut the deficit, increase jobs, not to raise taxes and to balance the budget. Or to stimulate the economy, increase jobs, and make the wealthy pay their fair share. (You can guess which parties’ members say which.)
Just how members of Congress divine the wishes of the American people isn’t always clear. Elected officials dare not listen too closely to polls, for fear of being accused of holding their finger to the political winds and then being blown in that direction. It’s also possible to get just about any answer one desires from a poll by the way one words the questions.
There was a time when they’d check their mail. Not personally of course, but Washington is magnet for eager young interns who come hoping to change the world and get issued a letter opener and a desk in a small dark room. Later, interns would check voice mail and the fax machine.
In the 21st Century, they also check the congresspersons’ Facebook page, their Twitter account and the e-mail inbox, all of which provide more immediate communication than paper, pen, an envelope and a stamp ever could.
Except, of course, when cyberspace fails…

Local reps get some air time on the debt

 

 

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who is often behind House Speaker John Boehner at public statements, was out front on CNN Thursday night being interviewed on the GOP plan by Piers Morgan.

Who? You know, the guy with the British accent who replaced Larry King. (He manages perhaps the worst pun ever on a serious subject in his introduction, but maybe that's what they mean by dry British wit. At least he doesn't wear a different pair of suspenders every night. Or should we say braces?)

Coming up on the tube: Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador's staff says he will be on “Meet the Press” this Sunday.

Dear Congressperson…

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner both suggested contacting Congress in speeches Monday.

That's fine. Contacting your congressperson is a right guaranteed under the First Amendment freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances. But exercising that right now may prove difficult.

One of the most common ways to send such a message is by e-mail, with a link found on a member of Congress's website. But Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' website was down for at least half of the day, her spokesman reported.

“There was too much traffic on account of the Boehner and Obama speeches,” Todd Winer said. “It pretty much crashed the system.”

Websites for Washington Reps. Doc Hastings, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dave Reichert and Adam Smith, and Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson were also down for much of the day.

Members of local progressive groups, including MoveOn.org, staged a protest outside McMorris Rodgers’ Spokane office at noon Tuesday. When one of the protesters told a McMorris Rodgers staff member her efforts to send an e-mail to either Boehner or Majority Leader Eric Cantor have been met with a “permanent failure” message, the staff member said GOP leadership e-mail servers had been down for more than a week.

Winer said he wasn’t aware of problems with leadership e-mail, and suggested calling Boehner or Cantor’s offices. A call to the speaker’s office was routed to patriotic music with an intermittent message to hold for a staff member who didn’t pick up for more than 10 minutes. A call to Cantor’s office asked the caller to leave a message, then connected to a voice mailbox that was full.

Kind of makes you wonder, though. Members of Congress say they are listening to the American people, and responding to their wishes. If the American people can't get their make their wishes known threw one of the easiest and most ubiquitous forms of instant communication, how can they back up that claim?

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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