Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Feedback to Congress -- My Adventure

Inspired by last night's C-SPAN live broadcast of the Senate Finance Committee I wrote to a Congressman this morning for the first time in twenty-five or thirty years. As a Liberal in an overwhelmingly Conservative part of suburban Atlanta I gave up such efforts years ago. Bob Barr, Lester Maddox, the late Congressman Larry McDonald, Newt Gingrich and a rash of less notable local politicians have emerged from Cobb and surrounding counties. My opinions here are not welcome.

More recently Dr. Phil Gingrey, who takes pride that " in 2008 The National Journal ranked me the most conservative Member of the House of Representatives" has been taking care of the people's business in Washington.

I noticed this morning that Dr. Gingrey was mentioned in Politico for what struck me as excellent pushback aimed at Rush Limbaugh and the talk show crowd following Rush's now famous "I hope Obama fails" statement.

Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., did not take kindly to this assessment in an interview with Politico Tuesday.

“I think that our leadership, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, are taking the right approach,” Gingrey said. “I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party. You know you’re just on these talk shows and you’re living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing. But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn’t be or wouldn’t be good leaders, they’re not in that position of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell."

Wow! I couldn't have said it better. So my next move was to send him an email recognizing what he had said and telling him to keep up the good work.

The "contact" link at his website didn't call up my gmail account so I have no copy of what I sent. The substance of it was clear, however. I specifically recall mentioning that Limbaugh and his crowd are to talk radio what Jerry Springer and that crowd are to TV, appealing to the lowest common denominator of the audience. Here in Atlanta we have our own second-string version of Rush's crowd so I'm sure that Gingrey has no trouble recognizing the flavor of that koolaid.

I wish now that I had kept a copy because a few hours later I received a form letter reply clearly written to respond to the blizzard of complaints he is no doubt receiving from angry constituents.

With respect to my comments regarding commentators who each and every day speak out in defense of these values, I regret and apologize for that fact these comments have offended and upset not only my constituents but also listeners throughout the country. I am sorry to see how my comments have been reported and read much harsher than intended. I recognize it is my responsibility to clarify my own comments.

Now more than ever,there is a need to articulate a clear conservative message for moving our nation forward. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and other conservative giants are the voices of the conservative movement's conscience. Everyday, millions and millions of Americans-myself included - turn on their radios and televisions to listen to what they have to say, and we are inspired by their words and by their determination. At the end of the day, every member of the conservative movement, from political commentators and thinkers to elected officials, share an important and common purpose in advancing the cause of liberty, reigning in a bloated federal government, and defending our traditional family values.

Silly me. I thought my email might have been read, if not by a busy congressman, at least by someone on staff who might recognize immediately that he had won a few points with someone from across the aisle.

Well excuse me. I won't make that mistake again. I sent a reply to his response. (Notice how cleverly I'm using red and blue to keep things straight.)

What? "regret and apologize" ?

Please, Dr. Gingrey. I appreciate that you must have a blizzard of complaints from your constituents this morning, but my email was not among them.

I wrote to thank, not reprimand you for what you said.

I suppose you may disregard my other communication.

Wouldn't you know it?
That email came back as undeliverable.

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:
Technical details of permanent failure:
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 5.7.1 Unable to deliver to <> (state 14).

I give up.

I feel like someone that got a teeshirt that says


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