Obama Put Out the Call, And They Answered

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 26 2011 8:11 AM

Obama Put Out the Call, And They Answered

The only real news in President Obama's speech last night seemed to be his call for Americans to contact their members of Congress and demand that they compromise. On Twitter, I asked if anyone was actually doing this. I got around 75 responses within an hour. Here's a sample.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

Pat from Kansas sent this to Rep. Kevin Yoder:

I fully support the president on this.  Boehner is out to lunch.  He made a business analogy.  Not even close.  Government is NOT business.  Government REQUIRES compromise to be successful.  Please do not be an obstructionist.  Please do your job and make government work.
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Rich from Ohio sent this to Rep. Steven LaTourette:

I'm a political moderate, of decent means, living in Hudson. I think I speak for many like me. I've listened to both sides this evening and President’s Obama's approach is the one I clearly prefer. My reasons:
1) Chance for historic tax rate reduction and elimination of loopholes.
2) Includes reasonable cutbacks in entitlements.
3) Includes reasonable cutbacks in defense.
4) Gives the wealthy tax rates that are still lower than 50 years ago! The vast majority of the American people favor this; after all, it is only fair.
5) Repays a debt that we have already incurred. THE MONEY HAS ALREADY BEEN SPENT; we must now pay it back.
6) Prevents this entire standoff from happening again in 6-12 months. I don't want to see precious legislative time used to re-hash this same debate in six months.
This is a chance to do something historic and positive. Let's not miss this opportunity, especially when the alternative sends the USA back into recession. THAT's the real job killer.
While Speaker Boehner wants to compromise with the President, it is clear that he is being handcuffed by a handful of reckless Tea Party members who are willing to take this country into recession just to make a point. If that happens, virtually no one currently in office, Democrat or Republican, gets reelected in 2012. Please help these misinformed Representatives to understand what is a stake.
Please let me know where you stand on this critical issue.

Jayant from Virginia:

I'm TRYING to reach my Congressman, Frank Wolf (R, VA-10), because my President suggested it.  And yes I'm a Democrat, supportive of President Obama and Congressional Democrats.
But, alas, the server has been done every time I've tried to send him an e-mail.  Wolf is a very conservative Republican and I have no illusions it will make a damn bit of difference that li'l ol' me asks him to compromise with the President and Congressional Democrats in a deficit reduction deal, and reject the teabaggers (I'll call them the tea party in the actual e-mail).  But it will make me feel better knowing at least I made myself heard.  I lived in D.C. for 15 years before moving with my wife and kids to McLean for good public schools, and the years of disenfranchisement make me appreciate having an array of elected officials...so e-mailing my Congressman is not something I take for granted.

Sam from Indiana sent this to Rep. Dan Burton:

I won't take up valuable staff time reciting my support of you, of the Republican Party, or of conservative principles we share. I know they are busy enough, and will be in the coming days as we continue on this path toward default.

I write to merely register my concern as your constituent, in the grand tradition of our great American citizenry. I want you to support efforts to raise the debt limit by whatever means necessary. You were sent to Washington to be a responsible adult. Responsible adults pay their bills; they do not seek politically-convenient reasons to decline to pay certain obligations. They do not play games with peoples' lives, their well-being, their jobs, or the fate of their nations. Regardless of how you may feel about federal debts, deficit spending, the president, or Democrats in Congress, it is your Constitutional duty to protect the American people, to promote their interests, and to keep the country great. Default will do none of those things, in either the short- or long-term.

Under no circumstances will I bring myself to support your candidacy in the future, or the candidacy of any current federal official, in the event of default. Should we as a country default, and end up on the so-called "trash bin of history" with the Romans, the Greeks, and countless other great nations, I can only hope that our Creator will have more pity on you than will the American people.

God bless you and you entertain what will be a politically-difficult choice. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.

Jason from Pennsylvania sent this to Rep. Tim Murphy.

Mr Murphy,
I strongly believe you need to put aside partisan politics, and cross party lines to raise the debt limit. This has been a non-issue for so many years and only seems to be an issue due to your lack of respect for our Commander in Chief. I don't recall many republicans objecting during the 7 debt limit increases of George W. Bush's administration. Now is not the time to hold the middle class and US credit rating hostage. We all agree that debt reduction and balanced budgets are necessary, but please work with the opposing party and stop listening to the tea-party base.

Maggie from Portland:

Called Earl Blumenauer's office and told him never, ever to vote for anything like the "Cut, Cap and Balance" plan. Also, not to put my Mom out in the street, either.

Jonathan from Texas:

I tried to call Rep. John Carter (R-TX).  The phone rang and rang and rang, and after some minutes I got Rep. Carter's voice explaining that it was either after hours or they were experiencing unusual call volume.  Then it shunted me to voice mail.
Which told me his voicemail was full, go figure.
I would have urged him to support a balanced compromise with both tax increases and cuts.
Fwiw, the Sunlight Foundation "Congress" app on Android makes it real, real easy to call my congress people.

Kim from Arkansas:

I wasn't able to get thru on line or on the phone so I tweeted one senator (Boozman) and my rep (Griffin) and found out my other senator doesn't even have a Twitter account!  So I tweeted my local free weekly rag my outrage at both his lack of Twitter contact and that he's a big fat DINO. And that he should vote for the Reid bill.

Jamie from Maryland:

I tweeted this today at 1:46 pm:
"If you haven't called your Congressional Representative and Senators about the debt ceiling, you are as much at fault as they are."
The President followed me. 

Richard from Florida:

I have the dubious distinction of being a constituent of Allen West.  I am friends with former Congressman Ron Klein and worked hard to get him re-elected.  I travel to DC frequently from Ft. Lauderdale and have been on the same flight with Congressman West several times and just could not bring myself to make conversation or introduce myself. 
I wrote him an email this evening at the urging of the President and asked Congressman West to reconsider his position on Cut, Cap and Balance and to let him know that many, many of his constituents are not Tea Partiers and to ask him to look for a fair and balanced way to solve this crisis.  I’m a registered Independent and lean a bit left but can get behind a good idea, whether it comes from the left or right.  I’m sick of the Republicans working and positioning themselves simply to work against President Obama, at the expense of the American people. 
I was willing to put myself on Congressman West’s radar screen tonight.  Hopefully, so did thousands and thousands of others who feel the same way I do.

Nicole from Michigan:

I sent e-mail s to my congressional representative Mr.Cony ors and Sen .Stabenow and Sen. Levin . Just left them a short message on behalf of college students like myself; who would love to be able to obtain student loans after they come to whatever conclusion of this seemingly endless saga of negotiations. In the long term of course also the importance of retaining our good credit rating not just for our country but also because of the negative effect inaction would have on the world.

Jeni from Nebraska:

Called all our Reps and Sens tonight- couldn't get websites to load for all, but found an old email from NE Appleseed re:immigration law that had the direct DC #'s. There was a lot of ringing but eventually got thru to all. My husband and I both asked them why a decrease in benefits while paying the same amount of taxes wasn't a tax hike? And if they were going to raise taxes to please do so to the wealthy and not to those who need the money most. Also tried calling Boehner twice- first time got a message w office hours, etc and a hang up. Second time got a message from Boehner and then then the mailbox was full.

And finally, Patrick:

I am a libertarian who will be calling my Senators and Representative tomorrow to urge them not to raise the debt ceiling without huge spending cuts in an effort to balance out all the Democrats who will be doing the opposite because of Obama.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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