Thursday, June 29, 2006

Local Politics: Carpet Bombing

So there are two piles of paper on the rug by my desk. One of them consists of books I've been meaning to review, and is a sad tale for another day. The other pile consists of mailings from Congressman Reichert.

Now, the Congressman is standing for reelection, so you'd expect to hear from him - the sort of "Hey, I'm on the job, keep me!" sort of thing that quietly hides the fact that this year's Congress has the lightest calender in years. But now we're at six mailers (there may have been seven - the Lovely Bride sometimes chucks them out) and counting. Looking them over, it feels like a mild aroma of concern has crept into the Reichert offices. Reichert has gone from a safe incumbent to a chancy thing in the face of a strong candidate in Darcy Burner, and it is starting to show.

Now, I'm late on getting around to these, primarily because they just kept on coming. So I got scooped by Horse's Ass, which not only seized on them, but also on the fact that they were sent out using congressional franking priviledges - in other words, at an expense to Government. Which means, at an expense to you. Yep, you're paying for your own junk mail. Wotta Country!

HA seems to think this might be a scandal. Silly HA! We have a government where the Vice President shoots an old man in the face with a shotgun and everyone studiously looks the other way. You think they're going to care about franking? Maybe if it was the 90s, and a Democrat was involved. Don't you know there's a war on? What war? Let me check, I'm sure we have one somewhere.

So I'm left with reviewing look-and-feel on these little gems. And they are all over the board, hitting all the traditional talking points. Controlling Spending. Stopping Domestic Violence. Strengthening Homeland Security. Lower Gas Prices. Energy Independence. Strengthening Education. And a big fold-out one stressing all of the above. Sounds pretty good! If only we had Mr. Reichert's party in charge out in DC, instead of the clowns that we do have. Oh, wait a minute.

Yeah, is more than a little disingenuous. Lowering Gas Prices when actually our Congress is straining itself not to notice three-dollar a gallon gas. Controlling Spending when the balanced budgets of the 90s are a pleasant memory. And even in the handouts themselves, they cross over themselves, toughting fiscal discipline while they have a little map showing how Reichert has secured funding for the 8th District. Not that I'm against pork - I'm just disappointed that there are no arrows pointing my neighborhood on the map. And worse yet, not a single mention of the dirigible tower I've been agitating for.

Another thing with multiple mailing is that it has overtaxed their photo references. We're seeing doubling up, and you quickly know the preferences for the staff photographer - the Congressman in a dark suit talking to two concerned constituents. Sometimes the constituents are in uniform. He swaps out the dark suit for a bomber jacket when he's looking strong on homeland security, which make him look like Leslie Neilsen playing Jack Baur's uncle on a very special episode of 24.

Oh, and there is one exception - Reichert, joined by constituents (a guy with a camera) receiving a demonstration on hybrid car technology. Which brings to mind that awful photo op from a few months back where various Congressmen posed around hybrids, then once they thought the cameras were off, climbed back into their SUVs. I'm sure this shot was taken at a completely different photo op, but still, the memory lingers.

So where are we? Well, according to HA, we are passing into the official election period, when such self-congratulatory mailers can no longer be pumped for by people, so the GOP will have to dip into its war chest, strengthened by a recent fundraising visit by the President. Oddly enough, there weren't any pictures in any of mailings of Reichert with the Chief Executive. Which is strange, given that they agree on so many things, at least as far as the Congressman's voting record is concerned.

More later,