Democrats & Liberals Archives

How to Influence Political Candidates

I was thrilled when I opened my copy of the L.A. Times and saw this headline:


I felt great because the headline was in effect a positive reply to my email to Barack Obama. I did not think I had much influence, but evidently I did.

The article presents the issue this way:

At issue is legislation, introduced in January, that would give the coal industry tax breaks and other incentives to harness the abundant natural resource as an alternative fuel. A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Obama and Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), promoted the idea as a way to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil.

I sent an email to Obama in which I objected strongly to this legislation. I told him that he can't honestly be for fighting global warming and at the same time propose tax breaks to encourage coal companies to increase pollution. This is rank hypocrisy. I also implied that if he did this he may lose my vote.

After a long wait I received a reply which stated that Obama was for green energy. I was upset, however, because the wording was ambiguous.

Today, I read:

Senator Obama supports research into all technologies to help solve our climate change and energy dependence problems, including shifting our energy use to renewable fuels and investing in technology that could make coal a clean-burning source of energy. However, unless and until this technology is perfected, Senator Obama will not support the development of any coal-to-liquid fuels unless they emit at least 20% less life-cycle carbon than conventional fuels.

I don't agree with this entirely. I don't think the taxpayer should invest in these technologies; the taxpayer should invest in renewable fuels. However, this is a big change.

And I had a hand in bringing it about. Of course, the article credits environmental groups. I am sure they deserve the credit. But I feel certain that my voice as well as many other voices helped sway Obama.

There are ripple effects here. What Obama says may influence what other candidates say and do.

I present this little incident not to boast about myself, but to demonstrate that in our democracy, each individual has a voice. You have a voice. If you don't like what any political leader is doing or if you have a better way of approaching a problem you're concerned about, contact the leader. Speak up. It will not always be heard. After all, there are many voices out there. But occasionally you will.

Candidates for office are more susceptible to accepting your suggestions because they are seeking your vote. But the same is true of those already in office. Contact them with your suggestions. You may be amazed, as I was, by the result.

As a citizen, you have more influence than you think.

Posted by Paul Siegel at June 13, 2007 4:36 PM
Comment #223122

Hmm… If it works so well, perhaps you should try sending some emails to President Bush.

Posted by: TheTraveler at June 13, 2007 5:49 PM
Comment #223128

“I was thrilled when I opened my copy of the L.A. Times and saw this headline:”

i didn’t think anyone actually read the la times anymore. i cancelled my subscription years ago. at least you got a response to your e-mail to obama that had something to do with the subject of your letter. every time i’ve written fienstien it get a form letter that has nothing to do with the subject of my letter, and boxer never replies at all. go figure.

Posted by: dbs at June 13, 2007 6:56 PM
Comment #223139

dbs, that’s horrible. Here in Texas, I have all Republican representatives. Their staff know well that I am no supporter of theirs at election time. Yet, I nearly ALWAYS get detailed and relevant reply from my Republican representatives when I write or email them. Always, when I write, nearly always when I email. No apparent canned form letters either.

Feinstein’s been around too long and is one of the ‘earmark taxpayer’s dollars away’ and ‘Compromise America to the wealthy special interests’ old school. Time for her to go and be replaced by a Freshman Democrat who will appreciate some of the reasons she got the boot, and improve on her performance.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 13, 2007 9:58 PM
Comment #223148

Al Gores Junk Science Exposed. Yes, Scientests around the globe are starting to speak out AGAINST the radical,left wing, environmental “disaster religion” and it’s junk science conclusions.
Snows of Kilimanjaro

Al Gore has made the disappearing snows of Mount Kilimanjaro a cornerstone of his crusade against global warming.

In his film “An Inconvenient Truth” for example, he says: “Within the decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro.”

But now researchers from the U.S. and Austria say global warming isn’t the cause, and the fluctuations are nothing new.

American Science magazine reports most of the current snow retreat occurred before 1953 — nearly two decades before any conclusive evidence of atmospheric warming was available.

One of the scientists writes: “It is certainly possible that the icecap has come and gone many times over hundreds of thousands of years.”

Posted by: StephenL at June 13, 2007 10:50 PM
Comment #223156

StephenL, what we’re seeing is the emergence of a kind of fundamentalism—the newest global religion, the Church of Global Warming.

Like other fundamentalist religions, it seeks to instill fear of an apocolyptic doomsday as the result of our sins. It demands an absolute unquestioning belief in its dogma and trains its worshippers to angrily attack anyone who questions its articles of faith.

The comparisons are uncanny. Like other religions, The Church of Global Warming demands a kind of puritanical self-denial from its worshippers. And like other religions, it’s High Priests (i.e. Al Gore or Leonardo DiCaprio) are among the most hypocritical and flagrant abusers of the rules they demand for others.

Personally, I think this is a shame. Even if global warming is a myth, the things that would need to be done to address it are things we should do anyway if only to make our lives and our world cleaner, healthier and more enjoyable.

In that, I guess it really is like religion. A great many religous beliefs really would improve our lives if we lived according to them, but for many, the mere association of those beliefs with hysterical, puritanical hypocrites and fanatics make them hard to swallow.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 13, 2007 11:31 PM
Comment #223177

StephenL and LO,
I love how you find 1 yes 1 item that is not correct so the whole theory must be wrong. You pay no attention to the fact that the Polar Ice Caps at both artics are small and shrinking. The Glaciers at Glaciar National Park are almost non-existant.
People are wong and Science looks at mistakes and corrects them. Guess what Einstein was worng about parts of his theories, we are not just throwing relitivity out the window because of it. Next time make sure you have something to kills the whole theory not a neuonce of it.

Posted by: timesend at June 14, 2007 8:59 AM
Comment #223182

Is the side of the proclaimer necessarily always correct? Is the side of the doubter necessarily always correct? By drawing that anology, that is the case you make.

What’s wrong with judging each issue depending on the reason and logic offered by each side. This may lead you to the side of the religion in one of your examples and the side of the doubter in another.

Posted by: Schwamp at June 14, 2007 10:57 AM
Comment #223217


” that’s horrible. Here in Texas, I have all Republican representatives. Their staff know well that I am no supporter of theirs at election time. Yet, I nearly ALWAYS get detailed and relevant reply from my Republican representatives when I write or email them. Always, when I write, nearly always when I email. No apparent canned form letters either.”

i always get an honest and detailed response from my congressman, dana rohrbacher to be exact. i am a republican, but was disgusted with the scandel and corruption that went on in my own party. i feel the democrats have taken the voters of my state for granted the same way the reps did in congress. i don’t beleive much is going to change though. i’ve been pretty happy with my congressman for the most part, but don’t hold much hope that my vote will matter in the next senate elections.

Posted by: dbs at June 14, 2007 11:11 PM
Comment #223232

StephenL, what is that some kind of spam mail you decided to stick in any blog that refers to energy independence or green energy? It demeans these blogs in general when you repeat the same unsupported crap disguised as truth. If you have actual news to share then list your sources, and if its just your own opinions then don’t quote “scientists” because I am suspicious that your “Scientists” manipulate evidence to prove a theory rather than the other way around… kind of ironic that your “Scientists” seem just as guilty of the crap allegations you make against Gore and the Left. Heres a hint, look up some other right-minded person’s blog who actually knows what the heck they are talking about and use some of their real information to back up your own. Maybe it is stealing other’s work, but at least then you are trying to actually back up your claims of fact.
As a matter of fact I’m going to help you out. Here is an excellent site recording how us “Radical” Leftist Environmentalists have misused the Kilimanjaro snow cap scenario.

It even includes several other articles about the snow cap’s reasons for disappearing. What kills me is that all evidence may point out that rising temperatures are not the “Driving force” for the melting snow caps, but it doesn’t ever say that global warming has NO EFFECT whatsoever. Most information I find says that there are two factors that directly effect Kilimanjaro and they are precipitation variation, and local deforestation (yeh and by the way most people who are against global warming are generally against deforestation.) Also try looking up global warming on Wikipedia and check out what it says about its effects on precipitation patterns.

Its not all that surprising, but if youre completely not versed in the subject (which I rather suspect you are) it might prove interesting, so enjoy.
The real shame is that you are being so bigoted when you use no real documentation to back up your rant about those you claim to be bigots.

LO I think what we are seeing from you is the continuance of a kind of religious fundamentalism based around the concept that no one should actually take ownership of their future and the future of mankind. A religion that puts its fingers in its ears, covers its eyes and pretends it doesn’t notice that it is sweating more than it used to. A religion that is so knee deep in fear of the possibility that it might actually be effecting something in a negative way that it cannot make rational bipartisan observation without calling those with differing opinions radical fundamentalists.
Did you know that when people starve themselves nearly to death they cannot eat correctly for quite a while because the shock of real food to their system is too much? Thats what is going on here, how some people go out of their way not to consume knowledge on global warming and then cannot swallow real truth because they have been starving themselves ignorant out of fear of self incrimination.

Posted by: Squire at June 15, 2007 2:30 AM
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