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Marathon, Not A Sprint

tortoisehare.jpgNow this, I like (via the LATimes):

Both efforts seek to ensure that anxious Republican lawmakers — many of whom have said they want to wait until September to assess President Bush's Iraq strategy — get no break from the war over the summer.

"The debate on Iraq will continue," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said last week. Pelosi, who in March helped push Democrats to embrace a withdrawal of American combat forces, has pledged that the House will vote on numerous measures aimed at ending the war.

Tom Matzzie, campaign manager for Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, the leading coalition against the war, promised an equally unpleasant summer for Republicans whenever they return home.

"Our job is to go into the congressional districts of members and create a political environment that is toxic," he said. "The public is there already. It is really about focusing their anger."…

"But it is incredibly important that the debate continue in June and July. It keeps the pressure on the White House, and it keeps the pressure on Republicans to break with the president," he said. "At a minimum, we need to be building … for a showdown in September."

While antiwar lawmakers push ahead, so too will the antiwar groups that have played an influential role in the national debate over Iraq.

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, a coalition of organizations including MoveOn.org, VoteVets.org and the Service Employees International Union, plans to hire 80 people this summer to organize rallies and other protest activities aimed primarily at Republican lawmakers, Matzzie said.

The coalition also plans an aggressive television advertising campaign, particularly against Republicans who are up for reelection next year and seen as vulnerable, such as Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John E. Sununu of New Hampshire and Norm Coleman of Minnesota.

"Our goal," Matzzie said, "is political extinction for war supporters."

We talked a bit over the weekend about the need for a step back and some consideration of the political roadblocks as put up by the Bush Administration over more than six years of unfettered control over the executive and legislative process versus the six months that Democrats have had to make any headway on clean-up.   And how frustrating it can be to not have things happen as quickly as you might like them to, let alone as quickly as the nation might need them to come to fruition.  Sometimes it can be a perception issue, but more often what is needed is more of a nudge from people outside the Beltway to get things rolling in the right direction.

That is where you come in…

Time to remind your elected representatives how you feel — whatever their position on escalation in Iraq, for or against, your voice is important. Why?  because you are a voter.  They work for us, not the other way around.  When we had Tom Matzzie on for a chat earlier this year, we promised to update on campaigns with this — and so here is the next step forward:  let your voice be heard.  Today. 

Here is an effective way to channel all of that pent up frustration and anger into something proactive, and more likely to get results than just being peeved.  Call the offices of your elected representatives and voice your opinion.  Send them a fax.  Call their local office and schedule a sit-down discussion with your elected official next time they are in town or, in the alternative, with a staffer who can then take your concerns to the elected official.  Show up at a townhall meeting in your area and talk about it face to face.  Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers. 

Whatever it takes.  But do something to move this forward.  This is a marathon, not a sprint — but you can only win if you get in the race at all.  Let's get to work!

(Photo via Adriaan Bloem.  H/T to reader Karen M. for the LATimes link.)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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