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« On Being Catholic | Main | Death knell for idiot marketing »

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


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Damage Control at Walter Reed

Jean McGreggor

HELL YEA !!!!!


I wrote my senators about this. I have my doubts that they pay attention, but still, this is ridiculous.


I hit all three of my federal reps last night.

Let me use this as an opportunity to talk to the way electeds process constituent feedback, because I think most people have no clue. It's different than constituent service requests.

1. Don't waste your time trying to write a lengthy or thoughtful letter. One topic, one opinion, no more than a paragraph. Barring something really strange, your congressman or senator will not read your letter/e-mail. Instead, their staff will log it and use it to create statistics. So be for or against something. And don't get cute or insulting.

2. If you're writing e-mail, put the subject in the subject line, and don't be cute about it. I called mine "Walter Reed." That's all. If you reach them through an e-mail form (like both South Carolina senators use) they'll give you a drop-down menu of topic choices. These will be different menus for different senators, and they'll be overly general, so clearly state your topic in your message.

3. Politicians are elected by clear constituencies, and they try to stay in touch with those constituencies and aligned with the groups that elected them. However, few electoral constituencies are static, and electeds are wise to try to tap the zeitgeist of their homestate voters. This is where letters and e-mails come in: It's one of the cheapest and most effective ways of taking the pulse of likely voters, since people who take the time to write will almost certainly take the time to vote. So when you write, what you're really doing is contributing to an ongoing, impromptu opinion poll in which the people set the topics.

4. Don't worry about the elected's politics and don't describe your own. Jim DeMint and I agree on very little, but I wrote to him anyway. I'm just trying to get this story on his political radar.

5. If you've got a special connection to a politician (i.e., you've been a donor, or you're a party activist, etc.), don't stop with sending a note. Call the office and identify yourself. Most staffs keep a separate tally for phone calls and track donors and supporters independently. But there's no reason why you can't do both and get on the separate tallies.

6. There's no problem with sending form letters or signing electronic petitions. But try not to copy-and-paste some group's suggested language when you write. Verbatim letters are identified as part of a coordinated campaign and receive less attention. I've also heard that e-mails receive less notice than letters, but I wonder about that now.

7. If you're writing about a specific bill, committee vote or amendment and you're smart enough to use Teh Internets, make sure you put the bill number in the text of your message. Look it up at http://thomas.loc.gov/.


How about this scalp.


That's more like it. I'd like to see more retribution -- make a bloody example of a bunch of REMFs, send a message to the rest of their lousy tribe -- but I'll settle for a major general. It's better than what we got for the scandals in Iraq during the Rumsfeld Reign of Error.


It's a start.

Jean McGreggor

Sacrificial lamb, anyone? The place didn't get like this in a month or two.As the wife/daughter/sister/friend of service members from 2 wars,a police action as well as peace time service I can bear witness to the less than wonderful care the VA provides. But why would a doctor stay in the military when they can make twice the money in private practice?
By all means, pitch a fit! Contact your electeds and let them know how you feel. I've been told that if as few as 5 or 10 people call or write about an issue it is considered statistically significant.
Our people deserve so much better.They are willing to lay down their lives. Don't they deserve decent medical treatment?


A few in the mainstream media are hitting this story, which has incredible legs, hard. Imus has asked every guest, whether it's a senator, a congressman or another TV journalist, about it for the last 2 weeks.

But thanks for the impetus to write to representatives.

Dana Priest (she's the Dana at the WP that is pronounced like Dan) spent 4 months investigating this. You could say she did Congress' work for them. Now all they have to do is hold hearings.

I read this story last week and have seen it recycled occasionally into the stupid television cycle... at least until Anna Nicole Smith's funeral came along ... ever since, but your post made me realize that just watching is not enough. Thanks.


Walter Reed fallout: Army secretary resigns

Rolling Heads, Foxes, Chicken Coops... and Moms


Wow, Dan- I think that maybe I agree with most of that. Especially the treatment of wounded soldiers, we should treat these guys like royalty.

I don't necessarily think that the Department of Veterans Affairs is a well-oiled machine, and I KNOW that they spend a ton of money that I don't think they should be spending. I know a guy who tore up his shoulder in basic training for the Marines, in his first week there. He got an honorable discharge from the Marines, he's a "wounded veteran" and gets all of the free painkillers and muscle relaxers he can get, then sells them.
For chrissakes, they give free aspirin and calamine lotion, not to mention Rogaine. I don't think that should be a taxpayer expense, do you?

But regarding Walter Reed, it's shameful. There is no way to defend it, nor any point in trying to do so.

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