Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Calls Are Getting Through

The push by folks like Steve Benen and others (including this humble blog) to call our representatives in the House to “pass the damn bill” (PTDB) seem to be getting through. Mark Kleiman called his Senator:

Today I called the Washington office of Sen. Diane Feinstein. (I’m reliably told that, for those without the time to make a personal visit either to Washington or to the local office of a legislator, faxes are best, calls second-best, and emails nowhere. Snailmail is effective – more effective if handwritten – but now very slow due to screening. There’s a logic to this: the more effort a communication takes, the more impressive it is.)

The polite young man who answered the phone said that he could take a comment about a legislative matter, listened politely to about three polite sentences of Pass the Damned Bill and an expression of displeasure about DiFi’s “slow down” comment, assured me that the Senator had voted for the bill and was eager to see it pass – and then gave me the first ray of sunshine I’ve seen since the catastrophe in Massachusetts. He said that they’d been getting a lot of Pass the Damned Bill phone calls and wanted to know whether my call was part of an organized effort.

I told him that it wasn’t, since I don’t know anything less organized than Blue Blogistan.

But it seems to be having some effect.

Democratic congressional leaders are coalescing around their last, best hope for salvaging President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul.

Their plan is to pass the Senate bill with some changes to accommodate House Democrats, senior Democratic aides said Monday. Leaders will present the idea to the rank and file this week, but it’s unclear whether they have enough votes to carry it out.

Let’s put it this way: if they get this close and chicken out now, it won’t be the votes in the Democratic caucus that matter. It will be the votes in November that will.