Wednesday, February 4, 2009

We Are The Change

The Conservative Right is waging an aggressive campaign against the Obama administration. Their goal, to permanently damage Obama and the Democrats in Congress. And so far, it's working. You don't have to look any further than the front page of any major newspaper - Republicans uniting against the stimulus bill, McCain using his campaign list to send out a mass email asking supporters to sign a petition against "Democrat Pork", the piling on against Daschle, the insistance that "bipartisanship" means Democratic capitulation - I could go on.

This evening I was on a conference call with Organizing For America, what the Obama campaign structure has morphed into since the campaign. I, along with thousands of other former Obama campaign volunteers, expected to get our marching orders tonight , told who we should telephone, e-mail, visit, blog about - whatever it took to get the best possible stimulus legislation out of Congress.

But that didn't happen. Instead, we heard about house parties for the weekend and future conference calls. Building blocks for the future - yes. But action for the here and now? No.

I don't know about you, but I'm not willing to wait until the weekend for those Economic House Parties. 

We need to act now.

So here's the ASK:

Pick up the telephone and call 202-224-3121 (or use the toll-free service at 866-544-7573). If you don't know who your Senators are, click here to find out.

Ask the Capitol operator to transfer you to one of your state's U.S. senators. When you're connected, say you're calling to urge your senator to "support the Obama economic recovery plan and oppose all conservative amendments." Call back and repeat for your other senator. 

If you are unable to get through by phone, click here to find your Senator. 

Once you've found your Senators, use the 'web form' link to send them an email. Some suggested talking points: 

  • Get rid of a $2 billion provision for "clean coal" plants. Instead, invest this money in green infrastructure and alternative energy development.

  • Invest in infrastructure, not tax cuts. Don't reward businesses that got us into this mess with tax cuts that won't create new jobs in the future.

  • Reinstate the Medicaid Family Planning State Option. Funding state healthcare programs for women will protect jobs of healthcare workers and make sure women living in or on the edge of poverty get the care they need.

  • Include meaningful bankruptcy reform. Bankruptcy judges should regain the ability to restructure mortgages (that is, lower the amount owed and the interest rate, reflecting the lower value of the house) so that borrowers can stay in their homes.

Use all your social networks - facebook, family, friends, coworkers to spread the word. We especially need Republican Senators to feel the heat from their own constituents. Some good Senators to target would be Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Richard Burr of North Carolina, John Ensign of Nevada, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Al Martinez of Florida, and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine.

If you have any friends and family you can reach out to in those states, do it.

Americans United For Change are running devastating radio ads linking Republican opposition to the stimulus bill to Rush Limbaugh. They just announced they've expanded their campaign to cover GOP Sens. Jim Bunning (KY), Richard Burr (NC) and Mel Martinez (FL) They need our help to keep it going. 

Every time you hear "government spending bill" uttered by some talking head on cable news, a Republican Operative is doing his job, and doing it well. We need to change that language. Words matter. This is about Economic Recovery. Stimulus. Job Creation........... Use these phrases every time you comment on a blog, write a letter to the editor or call in to a talk show.

How about sending a thousand postcards to Arlen Specter? Get your child's third-grade class to paint a giant banner asking why John Ensign won't support children's healthcare and hand deliver it to the steps of Congress (after, of course, you've called all the media outlets)? The possibilities are endless. But remember, size matters. Putting up a video protest on YouTube that gets a thousand hits doesn't count. Putting up video that gets a million does.

Is this everything that can be done? Not by a long shot. I'm sure I've left things out, and the tactics will change as the situation changes. 

It's a start. We have to start somewhere. We cannot wait for permission or official instructions from OFA, Obama, or anyone else to act. We must act. And act now.


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