Politics

Call Your Senator about the Filibuster, the Big Lie, and Impeachment


Update Tuesday 26 January 2021: Well that didn’t last long. Just as I posted this post, word came via Rachel Maddow on The Rachel Maddow Show that McConnell caved on his demands to have the filibuster protected in the organizing resolution. That doesn’t mean that the Repubes won’t abuse the filibuster because it is still there for legislative matters but not for judicial matters. I guess McConnell acknowledged that it was better to have the Daschle-Lott rules and the skinny filibuster than have Schumer go all nuclear on his ass and do everything with a bare majority, a simple bare majority of life, to paraphrase the Jungle Book. So, you still call your senators and tell them that you support removing the filibuster if need be!

There are three big issues before the Senate that NEED the intervention of the electorate. The Senate is trying to develop it’s organizing resolution (the set of rules that establish how the Senate is run), the continued endorsement of the BIG LIE that the election was stolen or at least suffered significant irregularities that drove the insurrection of 6 January, and the impeachment trial. I’ll outline each as briefly as possible.

The Issues

The Filibuster

Welp, big surprise, Mitch McConnell is doing Mitch McConnell. He is filibustering the organizing resolution unless the Democrats guarantee that they will not limit the use of the filibuster so the Repubes can filibuster every move of the Dem-controlled Senate. As far as I know he’s not even “promised” to be a good boy and not abuse the use of the filibuster like they did when they were the minority during Obama’s presidency.

Without this concession by the Dems, the Dems could with a bare majority remove the filibuster as an option at any time. The thing is, Schumer doesn’t have 50 votes to remove the filibuster unless the Repubes egregious abuse it and convince the Dem holdouts that they just don’t have a choice. You know, abuse it like they did when Obama was in office.

Schumer has generously offered to abide by the Daschle-Lott rules arrived at in 2001 the last time the Senate was split 50-50 with Republican VP Dick Cheney providing the deciding vote and control of the Senate to the Repubes. It actually gives the minority party, in this case the Repubes, a significant amount of influence including splitting committee membership evenly, allowing tie committee votes on legislation to allow it to advance, and dividing funds and offices evenly between the parties. Schumer and the Dems don’t have to do this.

Understandably there is real fear among progressives and Dems that Schumer will cave and let McConnell get away with his BS. McConnell will grab with both hands until you cut his hands off. He’ll push for the most outrageous concessions unless you prove to him that you won’t let him. The only thing that McConnell understands is the exercise of power. You stand up to him or he steamrolls you.

Additionally, there are at least two Democrat senators, Manchin of West Virginia and Sinema of Arizona, are on record stating that they oppose doing away with the filibuster out of some nostalgia for being abused by McConnell, I guess. Everyone’s got their fetish, right? Who would’ve guessed Manchin, Sinema, and McConnell in the bipartisan three-way of domination, humiliation, and frustration?

The BIG LIE

By now we are all familiar with the BIG LIE that the Ol’ Pussy Grabber and friends have been telling for freaking ever: if he loses it is because the election was rigged and stolen through some vast conspiracy involving state, county, and federal election officials, state and federal judges appointed by Trump, other Repubes, and Dems, ballot machines, especially those run by Dominion, but not the sketchy machines run by ES&S, and thousands of ballot counters and sorters across the country. You know Occam’s Razor.

Once it festered until the cyst on America’s ass finally burst and spewed its contents across the Capitol building during Trump’s Insurrection Riot on 6 January, and some Congressional Repube members momentarily feared for their lives but got over it when clued into the fact that the mob only wanted to summarily assassinate Dem Congressional members, which made it okay, I guess, many members of the GOP are still spewing the BIG LIE.

The only thing that I can conclude that they want the insurrection to succeed and the total destruction of our democracy. Nothing else makes sense. They seem to think that the continued existence of the world is contingent upon them remaining in office no matter the cost. What else could explain such behavior?

Impeachment

Now that the House has grabbed the Ol’ Pussy Grabber by the pussy for the second time and passed the Article of Impeachment with ten Repube votes, it has moved to the Senate. Senate Repubes are twisting themselves into all kinds of cognitive dissonance granny knots to minimize the gravity of the offense and distract from it by all the usual suspects, both-sideism, the unity bait and switch, blaming the victims (the Dems, of course), and shifting the blame to the Dems, of course.

We’ve been regaled with their excuse making for the past few days, maybe best expressed by Liddle’ Marco (R-Hiding Under the Couch Cushions), “We already have a flaming fire in this country and it’s like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire.” We might not have such a serious dumpster fire of a democracy if y’all hadn’t flogged the BIG LIE of election stealing. Maybe repeating the BIG LIE has been the gasoline poured onto the dumpster full of oily rags and old newspapers that the voodoo dolls of low-information Repube voters are made of and then lit on fire by their challenges of the Electoral College vote on 6 January.

They are screwing themselves up to do everything they can to remain in office in a brave effort to stave off armageddon as foretold in the Repube Book of Revelation. I’m sure if the Dems could wait until 2023 to put Trump on trial, it would be better because they could work out how much influence the Ol’ Pussy Grabber still has over their voters so they could figure out what they had to do to stay in office. In other words, the usual profiles in Repube political courage.

Call Your Senator

As angry as you might be at Schumer, the Dems, the Repubes, McConnell, Manchin, Sinema, and Hagerty and are afraid that the Dems will let the Repubes run the Senate by using the filibuster, continue telling the BIG LIE, and the impeachment trial you shouldn’t call them unless they are YOUR SENATORS!

If you give in to your anger and call senators that are not yours, you will muck things up!

  1. Members of Congress don’t listen to people who are not constituents. They just don’t. Your call opinion won’t be counted. It’s a waste of your time. Try this instead, write an email, tweet, or postcard to senators who are not yours. If you do, let us know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
  2. As a matter of routine strategy, many senators allow their phone inboxes fill up so no more messages can be recorded. So, if you call a senator who won’t listen to your opinion, you will just be tying up the phone lines and filling up their inboxes so that legitimate constituents that would be listened to can’t get through. It is counter-productive.
  3. You will spend your energy and time on senators that won’t listen to you and not on senators that will. If you shoot your righteous wad abusing McConnell’s answering machine, you won’t have much left for a senator that will listen to you and respond to your views.
  4. Don’t give in to your anger and call anyone other than your senators. It is time to be disciplined and serious. Send postcards, emails, and social media to everyone else. Encourage friends, family, and acquaintances living in their states to contact them.

You should call YOUR SENATORS and let them know what you want them to do on the filibuster, the BIG LIE, and impeachment.

The Script

Adapt this script when contacting your senators whether you are calling, emailing, post carding, or social mediaing your senators. Whatever you do, be POLITE! You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Hi, my name is [NAME] from [location in the state]. I’m calling today to let [Senator’s name] know three things about issues before the Senate:

  1. We should get rid of the filibuster, especially if Republicans abuse it and filibuster everything Democrats attempt to do.
  2. Call out the BIG LIE. In the name of unifying and healing the country, Republicans should denounce the suggestion that the election was anything less than fair, transparent, and legal. They should acknowledge that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the rightfully elected President and Vice President.
  3. It is clear from Trump’s remarks at the 6 January rally that his campaign sponsored and paid for at the Capitol incited the insurrection riot that took place that day. To preserve our democracy, to unite and heal the country, and to prevent future candidates from defying elections, we must hold Trump accountable and convict him and prevent him from running again.

Thank you for your time and attention.

IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied.

Tips for Calling

When you call your representative’s office, please remember the following:

  • Only contact YOUR MoC! They only listen to their constituents and dismiss requests from non-constituents.
  • Ask for the aide working on the organizing resolution or impeachment issues.
  • Be polite! No matter whose office you’re calling. No matter what their positions are. No matter how inflamed you are about the issue — and you should be very passionate — be polite.
  • Remember that the people you are talking to are people! So, be nice.
  • Call during business hours of the area code their office is in. Typically, that is 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  • Have a script or notes to follow so you don’t forget anything.
  • Maybe call with friends. You know like a party.

In Addition to Calling

I’ve heard back from readers that some MoC’s voice mail boxes are always full! It’s as if they don’t want to hear from their constituents. Kinda like those MoC’s who don’t hold town halls or other open forum meetings. Here are some other ways to contact your MoC:

  • Send a postcard to their office. Nothing says I care like kicking it old school and using snail mail.
  • Email their office. Lay out your concerns in a brief email and send it in. We all know how easy it is to email. Make sure you include the issue you are addressing in the subject line.
  • Use the contact page on their websites. This is the surest way of getting a message to them. Each MoC has an official government website and each has a contact page that comes with it automatically.
  • Contact them using social media. It’s hard to break through all the noise on social media, but it can’t hurt to try given all the time we all spend using it. Be sure to tag your MoC’s when social mediaing about about a specific issue. Be clear and respectful, though, when addressing an issue that you want your MoC to act upon. Make sure you let them know you are a constituent.

Contact and other Informational Links

  • Common Cause will give you the names, party affiliation, direct phone number, website link, and social media platforms of all of your federal, state, and local elected officials.
  • USA.gov is the official guide to information and services of the US government. This page explains clearly how to contact everyone from the Ol’ Pussy Grabber to your representative to specific government agencies. Through it you can find the following information about your MoC’s:
    • Their phone numbers: DC and state offices
    • Their mailing addresses both in DC and their state offices
    • Official website with their contact page including email, request a meeting, town hall schedules, and social media
    • And, the committees they sit on
  • GovTrack is a comprehensive site of federal and state legislation.
  • 5 Calls: Sign-up for 5 Calls because they help you contact your member of Congress and keep you abreast of on going issues that are important to you! Now, that is a good deal.
  • The Capital Hill Switch Board: (202) 224-3121.
  • MassacreMitch and #MoscowMitch: His DC office, (202) 224-2541.
  • Nancy Pelosi: Her DC office, (202) 225-4965; her California office, (415) 556-4862
  • The White House: the contact page, switchboard, (202) 456-1414 or the comments line at (202) 456-1111 during business hours

Join Indivisible

Follow the link to Indivisible to find a group near you, their campaigns, events in your neighborhood, and download their handy-dandy booklet!

If you liked this post, then sign up for our email notifications!

Image Attribution

“Congressional Filibuster Record by Party 1992 – 2011” by Cory M. Grenier is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

23 replies »

  1. The GOP version of “unity” seems to be composed mainly of their opponents forgetting, forgiving, and submitting to their demands. Sure, people who behave badly and feel entitled to do so tend to get angry when called to account and facing consequences, but the path of hope to preserve a functioning democratic electoral system now depends on those who created and spread the Big Lie and tried to overturn an election being held to account and made an object lesson for any who would try it again in the future. That starts with convicting Trump, then prosecuting him criminally, and then working down the chain of command to the foot soldiers and enablers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!
      It is really going to take a concerted effort to break the stranglehold that the GOP has on our democracy. It starts with eliminating the political lie — I think. We really do need to make political lies the equivalent of hate speech. We need to make it so that the most egregious offenders can be hauled into court and explain themselves under oath to a judge. I doubt that legislation will be passing anytime soon, but I do hear people talking about this idea more and more.

      The Dems need to make an effort to convince the low-information undecided voter to become higher information decided voters at least in 2022. They need to be able to lay out the threat to our democracy in concise clear understandable terms and, hopefully, motivate folks to vote on those issues like they did in 2018 and 2020.

      It will be decided by who can get more of their base turned out and recruit new voters like the Dems did in 2018, both sides did in 2020, and the Dems did in the Georgia senate runoff. That’s the model to follow. Hopefully, with Trump hampered by social media constraints and legal issues, he will be less of a lightening rod and rallying cry for the GOP. I don’t think the GOP has anyone who can fill that role very readily, although there are several who would like to try. Trying to pull a Stacey Abrams on a national or even multi-state scale is going to be tough, but it is at least more doable than recruiting a charismatic nut-job to rouse the rabble.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

      • If a major part of the argument for a slate of candidates is competence and consistency, the charismatic nut-job doesn’t fit and wouldn’t be happy.

        A lot of Dem leaders at state and local levels are studying Stacy Abrams. What she did in GA is a teachable skill. But, as she points out, it took a long time laboring in the vineyards of the neighborhoods.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Bob!
          From what I can tell, Stacey Abrams took the community organizers playbook and put it on steroids. It works because it engages people through community leaders and organizations. You know who else was a community organizer? Obama. You could see it coming through in some of his work, too. It does take a lot of time and effort, but it also produces lasting change. People get committed to the cause that you’ve organized them around.

          One of the most intriguing questions coming out of 2020 is which of the first-time voters are likely to vote again and how often. With Abrams model, you’re likely to get many of the first-time voters in 2020 voting again in 2022. We saw an increase in voter registration between the election in November and the run-off in January in Georgia and the resulting increase in turnout.

          One of the things that helped in the Georgia runoff is FOMO. Non-voters saw the tremendous turnout in the November election and the miraculous outcome. They didn’t want to be left out, so they registered and voted in the runoff.

          I’d love to see this model applied to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. I can’t believe that Trump won 30+% of the Hispanic vote in Texas. I was very disappointed in Beto who was claiming to be organizing the Hispanic community there both in 2018 and in 2020.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Liked by 1 person

          • Community organizing is a long game process, one which the Democrat party has been slow to implement. The Republicans have been at it for much longer, focusing on their think tanks and money sources, but also organizing around the hot button social issues like abortion and, more recently, “religious liberty”. That is how they have maintained the coalition between the rich libertarians and the evangelicals. The Democrats long relied on the unions as their community organizations, until the neo-liberals allowed the GOP to destroy them. And, they did tend to take the minorities for granted. It may be that the most important thing Abrams’ work is showing the party is what can happen when Black, Brown, and Poor folk are not taken for granted.

            I suspect that the Republican success in the Rio Grande and other Latino communities is the old strategy of co- opting immigrants (and, in this case, historically established cultural communities) with the “Close the door behind you.” strategy.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Howdy Bob!
              The ironic thing is that many in the Black and Hispanic communities are socially conservative, especially the relationship between Hispanic Catholics and abortion and birth control. The GOP should do well with them, but they refuse to appeal to them.

              Democracy is fundamentally local.. We as citizens will have our greatest impact on government, laws, and policy on the local level, especially if our local communities are organized. The community organizing that Indivisible has achieved is responsible for saving the ACA and taking the House in 2018 by a large enough margin that they were able to hold on to the House in 2020.

              If one of the results of having had Trump in office is that we are better organized, engaged, and informed as an electorate, then we may just save our democracy.

              Huzzah!
              Jack

              Liked by 1 person

              • It looks to be a close run race between the organized-informed and the chaotic-misinformed (manipulated by the organized-authoritarian).

                I recall Jacques Ellul observing that the propagandist must be a professional, and never believe his own propaganda. After all, at any moment he may have to flip the script and completely contradict something he said yesterday. This is why it is important to understand that even though some conspiracy narratives (I think “theory” is not quite the right word. They are really “what if” stories that have become “is” stories.) arise “in the wild”, they are picked up, elaborated, and amplified by cynical, professional propagandists.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Howdy Bob!
                  As Ben Franklin so famously said, “A republic, if you can keep it.” It is the chaotic-misinformed voter that will be our downfall because they are so easily manipulated by the cynical propagandist and organized-authoritarian.

                  One of the worst events that ever happened to us was for the professional propagandists to begin believing in trickle-down economics. I’m fairly convinced that no one ever truly believed that trickle down would work when it was first proposed or when Reagan enacted it. It was always seen as a mechanism to bankrupt the country and force the elimination of social safety net programs. After a generation came up listening to the propaganda, the Paul Ryans of the world actually believe it now. They think you can expand the tax base by giving huge tax breaks to the rich. That they continue believing it in spite of the overwhelming evidence against it is another example of the power of cognitive dissonance and social support for maintaining counter-factual narratives of the world.

                  Huzzah!
                  Jack

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • The failure of Trickle Down actually does strengthen the GOP Conservative/Libertarian narrative the “Big Government Doesn’t Work”, the backlash to the New Deal. By creating deficits, the argument for cutting spending aimed at improving the lives of the poor, marginalized, and hourly wage workers in general is advanced. Also, the deliberate confusion of the model of the family budget limited by income, and the budget of the Federal Government which creates money, fuels the “deficit hawks”.

                    Today, Biden will meet with 10 Republican Senators who propose a “compromise, bipartisan” version of the COVID Relief bill, one roughly 1/3 of the Biden bill. I haven’t seen the details, but for sure, theirs will leave out most or all of the items that would make a visible and tactile difference for ordinary people quickly in their lives, thus robbing the Dems of being able to say “See what we did for you that the Republicans opposed.” leading up to 2022.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      A lifetime ago, I reviewed Arlie Hochschild’s “Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right” in which she explores the “deep story” of Louisiana’s rural Christian white voters. Among the many distortions of reality and facts that they believe, she reviewed several popular myths on the right. Among them is that PoC’s are the majority receiving federal and state aid, that the federal government spends a lot of “welfare,” everyone who is poor receives aid, and black women have more children than white women do. All of these are completely false, but they undermine support for programs that directly benefit the rural Christian poor white voter. (I’ve given a link to the post below if you’re interested.)

                      I understand why Biden is meeting with him. It is both because of his personal support for bipartisanship and the political optics of at least gong through the motions. I hope that’s all it is. Even if he weakens the Dem bill, even these ten won’t support it. The Republicans are just dishonest negotiators. Their real goal, even if it isn’t the goal of these ten, is to delay and derail the passage of any bill. They are completely faithless.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      https://thepsyoflifeblog.com/2017/01/25/the-making-of-the-republican-stooge-voter-a-review-of-strangers-in-the/

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The 10 are part of the “Problem Solvers Caucus” which is 50-50 bipartisan. They do not represent the negotiating position (if there is one) of the GOP leadership. All they have to offer is the 10 votes needed to stop a filibuster. It will be interesting to hear how each side describes the meeting. I think the Dems have to GO BIG or probably get clobbered in 2022. They have to make government actually work for suffering people, even the MAGAS and the Qsters in their real lives.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • But, if it comes to a Republican filibuster, there won’t be a single Republican vote for stopping it unless it’s Mitt Romney. No Republican senator has shown the mettle of actually bucking the party.

                      Rachel Maddow reviewed the history of bad faith negotiations the Republicans engaged in during the first two years of the Obama administration concerning the ACA and immigration reform. Biden was pretty deeply involved in those negotiations and felt the pain of the wasted time. Hopefully, the Dems won’t be suckered in by the GOP again.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Biden will make a clear show of seeking bipartisan action (like the meeting yesterday), but he knows the odds of getting it from bitter experience. The momentum in the Democrat party for results and actions they can campaign on is intense, as is their general distrust of the Republicans. Meanwhile, the Republican party is distracted by the possibility of a “Trump v. No-Trump” split. And, all eyes are on 2022 and the murky calculations of advantage and disadvantage.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!
                      In that sense I’m really happy that Adam Kinzinger came along to really push on those fault lines and provide a place for the no-Trump wing to rally around. Hopefully, he’ll attract some support. Splitting the Republican voters should be a primary strategy that the Dems use in 2022. Hopefully, they’ll be contributing heavily to Kinzinger’s PAC, the Lincoln Project, and other anti-Trump conservative groups. Hopefully, they’ll be running ads supporting the craziest wingnuttiest candidates running in the Republican primaries a la Todd Akin in 2012.

                      And tar them all, no matter who wins the primary, as being MTG QAnon nuts.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • That sounds about right. The no-Trumpers at this point really don’t have a clear home, or any idea what to used in a campaign other than the same old hot buttons, which lead them back among the nuts.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!
                      When you boil the conservative movement down to its most basic parts, what you have is transferring the nation’s wealth to the richest folks while suppressing the masses to prevent revolution. All of the talk of small government and limited spending is just to facilitate the transfer of wealth. Everything else is to distract the masses from their misery and most of the social issues like abortion and Second Amendment are correlates for racism and misogyny.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The social issues are used to persuade people who have no reason of self-interest to identify as “Conservative” and support the core goals of the movement. Without that, it is hard to see how honest (are there any?) “Conservatives” (I tend to use the quotes, because the current version has little to do with classic conservative thinking.) could ever win an election.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!
                      What does being conservative even mean as a political ideology any more? Conservatism in general means to resist change and the conservative mindset is to view the world as a dangerous place. But, politically and economically that would translate into maintaining the status quo and supporting a more rigid social structure. So, in many ways, it is predicated on what you inherited, what you were born into. If you were born into a racist rigid hierarchical structure, then you’d want to maintain that status quo, which begs the question, why don’t conservatives want to maintain the status quo of Social Security and Medicaid-Medicare if the mindset means they should be trying to keep things from changing.

                      I suppose the conservative culture that is passed from generation to generation is a longing to return to the halcyon days of a boom-and-bust economy and rigid racial-social-ethnic hierarchy. I suspect, though, that what it really means is that the rich should continue to get richer and the poor just shut the hell up about it.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I tend to look back to a relationship between Conservatives and Liberals in the alternating governments under Disraeli and Gladstone. I like the metaphor of driving a car. You need both a gas pedal and a brake pedal. Without the Liberals, you don’t go anywhere. Without the Conservatives you crash. In a way, the most proper role for the conservative is to always be on the lookout for the unintended consequences of change. Then the job of the Liberals is to save the conservatives from stagnation. The failure of the the Conservative Movement since at least the mid 20th Century in the US (and increasingly elsewhere) is in retreating into a bunker of opposing all change and seeing its mission as to crush opposition. They moved from a value of a social hierarchy to authoritarianism.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      That is a very useful metaphor and one that I might borrow in the future. I’ll be sure to credit you, if I do, though. I do think that modern conservatives have given up on their role as a brake to slow change down and mean to not only stop change all together, but to roll us back to the 1880’s much like the Iranian Revolution rolled them back to the 1200’s. I remember an Iranian friend in university — shortly after the fall of the Shah — complaining bitterly that the revolutionaries wanted them to only play music from Medieval Iran and make everything like it was then. Her bitterness really stuck with me. Incidentally, we had an Iranian girl in the same class, and they hated each other. I was fascinated by the dynamics there and took a long tome to work out exactly why (Sunni versus Shia, of course). That microcosm of conflict and lament was my first real lesson into Middle East politics.

                      Just as a lesson for the GOP, I wonder if there has ever been a revolutionary authoritarian regime that has ended well for the country it has overthrown? Seriously, they seem to always end badly.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • They do tend to end badly, often because of internal power struggles in the regime, and more often (like the Soviet Union) the habit of shooting the messenger (often literally) with bad news. The GOP is currently in a phase of trying to decide which messengers to shoot.

                      My great lesson about the Middle East was from the mother of a college friend, who identified as an Assyrian and spoke of the then ruling faction in Bagdad (long before Assad) as “those Babylonians. 3600 years is a long time to hold a grudge, but that is the Middle East.

                      Liked by 1 person

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