Organizing call Tuesday! Please let us know when you can make it!
With health care still the focus and now Aghanistan and climate change, and Congress scheduled to recess on December 18, there are starting to be rumors of a “continuing resolution”: extending the sunsetting Patriot Act clauses without modification for a few months. To be honest, though, we have no idea on what the legislative status is. If anybody knows what the heck’s going on, please leave it in the comments.
The way it looks to me: the legislative path seems torturous — the bill the HJC reported out still has to go through Intelligence, where Reyes has a competing bill — so a a continuing resolution seems plausible. On the other hand we should also be alert for an attempt to use the deadline to sneak things through without meaningful debate. This was a favorite tactic of the Bush Administration and previous Congress, and as our open letter pointed out so far that’s been a disappointingly accurate guide to how the Obama Administration has approached things.
So strategically, we have to be ready for short-term action while building and planning for the longer term. We’ll have an organizing call/chat on Tuesday; check the Patriot Act Action Hub for details. For now, let’s start the discussion.
Our best chance for impact in the short-term is probably to leverage a meeting one of our members has on Tuesday with Senator Specter’s people. It’s a great opportunity … how best to capitalize on this?
There are several goals here. To start with, we want to thank Specter and ask him to pass our appreciation on to other pro-civil-liberties allies on the Hill. We want their perspectives on how we can help. Hopefully they have some insights on the legislative status. And we also want to indirectly pressure Representative Sestak, while reminding everybody that there are at least a handful of races in 2010 where the progressive/libertarian civil liberties vote could be the deciding factor. Oh, and It’d be cool to get some media attention too.
It’s a lot to accomplish in a short meeting … suggestions welcome!
Looking forward to next year, the battle will continue no matter what the short-term results are, so now’s a great time to be thinking about the strategy for the next year. When I look back over this year’s strategy discussions [1, 2, 3, 4] I’m pleased by the progress we’ve made in working with a multipartisan coalition and at reaching out to and involving a more diverse audience. On the other hand our communication is still challenging, and we didn’t make any progress on videos.
It really would be great to get a video to go viral (YouTube views were a leading indicator for poll movements in the 2008 primaries), and we did some work on this earlier in the year: the “other ideas” section here, the Innocent words, misinterpreted script. We could reuse images from our three SaysMe.tv videos/cable TV ads. The question that always comes up is how we’ll pay for it … I don’t know, but we’ve always found ways in the past. We might be able to get some people to help us for free. We might be able to raise the money for it via Kickstarter. With a sufficiently good script and promotion plan we might be able to approach an organization and pitch it as a funded project. It’s worth investigating. Hopefully somebody will take the lead on this.
That’s just one idea of course … there are lots of other aspects worth considering. The first step is to kick off some discussion — about strategy, and about tactics as well. Let’s use this thread for now. But first …
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Okay, now back to the strategy and brainstorming. What other things should we be doing? Who should we be talking to? How can we improve our communications? What are our goals? What have we learned?