Thursday, December 13, 2001

E-Mail Gets the Cold Shoulder in Congress, December 13, 200I

Mr. Larry Neal, deputy chief of staff for Senator Phil Gramm (Republican-Texas), in response to a New York Times reporter on the impact of e-mail lobby campaigns stated:

"The communication that Sen. Gramm values most certainly does not arrive by wire. It is the one where someone sat down at a kitchen table, got a sheet of lined paper and a No. 2 pencil, and poured their heart into a letter." [69]

It is axiomatic in the lobbying game that a hand-written letter by a concerned constituent has by far the strongest impact on an elected representative.

As well, the more personal and relevant to the voter’s life the communication is, the more likely the letter will elicit a genuinely interested response from the representative's office.

When a family without health insurance and mounting medical bills writes to their elected representative about Health Care Legislation, they will most surely get a personalized response.

Other personalized contacts from the home district[70] like impassioned telephone calls and even hand written postcards also carry some weight.

Mass snail-mail-letters and postcards, where people just sign at the bottom of a form are weighed much less by elected officials. E-mails as we shall see are practically "mass-less", carrying almost no political weight. ~~ Technopolitical

[69] Raney, New York Times . E-Mail Gets the Cold Shoulder in Congress, December 13, 200I

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[70] I cannot emphasize this point strongly enough as a major flaw of e-mail campaigns is that they often come from outside a legislators district rendering them as meaningless.