I have just been reading smintheus's fine FP diary Dodd on FISA . . . .. Please read it if you have not done so thus far.
Besides a paean to the courageous leadership of Chris Dodd and the influence of the common man and woman, the diary encourages us to contact our Senators, especially the Bush enablers, and request that they vote "no" on cloture on the FISA bill.
What was remarkable, but not surprising, was the number of commenters who relayed arrogant, negative or disinterested responses from the staffer who answered the call. Do these people even get an hour's worth of training on how to deal with constitutents? Any receptionist in a business who would treat a client, customer or general caller with disdain would be fired in a New York minute.
Here are some examples of responses:
Mark Pryor's Office
I am from Arkansas so I'm a constituent of his. I posted this comment in the other thread down the page, and I'm reposting it here to see if anyone else had a similar conversation.
The phone-answerer started chuckling and laughing at me like I didn't know what I was talking about. He said, in a condescending tone of voice, "Oh that vote last week was just a procedural vote on the Judiciary bill, it wasn't the final bill and there is still a lot to vote on ..."
I cut him off and explained that I knew what it was, and why the Judiciary bill was important. I also told him "I don't imagine you're getting a lot of calls today from people wanting their Constitutional rights to be violated, and to give Bush and the telcos immunity, so I hope the senator will stand for the people and the Constitution this time."
He chuckled some more. God I hate calling Pryor's office. He's a disgrace.
Barbara Mikulski's Office
Called Mikulski who is one of my senators. Registered my desire for her to vote against cloture. The person answering the phone seemed completely uninterested. I asked her what Mikulski was going to do and she said she didn't know. When she was about to hang up -- I said I was surprised she didn't want my name and address. She sighed (so put-upon) and said, "okay, what county do you live in" and when I told her my name, I knew she hadn't written it down since she didn't ask for the spelling (and my name is damn hard to spell!).
Not a good sign.
Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein's Offices
Just called both the CA senators (after calling the posted list), whose staffers both said their bosses hadn't expressed intentions, though Boxer sounded like, "I just don't have the information on hand at the moment" while Fienstein sounded more, "I don't think she's made up her mind."
I don't know if she's expressed her intentions elsewhere, and if not, whether or not you want to add her to the list.
My response to this one:
For staffers not to know the intentions of their Senators on the most critical vote of this term which is happening today is utter bullshit. Either they are badly hedging or they should find a job where curiosity and competence are not required.
If staffers are projecting disdain, indifference or arrogance -- it tarnishes the Senator or Representative whom they represent. I have called Congressfolks' offices to offer thanks for stands they have taken on various issues. Most often, the response is barely tepid and clearly not interested in what I think.
Chris Dodd's D.C. office has great staff for phone calls. I am curious now. What has been your experience?