13 June 2008

Chabot Telephone Town Hall

Does everyone else in this Westside district get these weekly (or even several times a week) calls from Steve Chabot? Are these things really effective? Every time I've listened in, I mostly hear older people complaining about either prescription drug costs or gasoline costs.

One caller says: "Hi, my name is Debbie D___. I'm frightened by this Nacy Pelotski or whatever her name is. She has her head stuck in the sand. She ain't paying attention to the issues." Chabot was graceful and tried to get her to be specific, but all she could say was gas was too expensive. Chabot said send him letters so he can pile them on Pelosi's desk, and demand a vote on drilling in ANWAR.

He talked a lot about the need to drill in ANWAR and how this would wean us from Middle East Oil. Then he goes on to say that ANWAR has 16 billion barrels of oil. Well, as I was sitting an listening, I googled and found out that the US in 2000 consumed 6.6 billion barrels of oil! So ANWAR has reserves for 2.3 years worth of US consumption? Is that what all this fight is about? How does 2 years worth of oil wean us from Middle East oil? Am I missing something?

He also said that Cuba is conspiring to drill our oil on the Outer Continental Shelf. I hadn't heard this before, but somehow I think there is more to this story than he implied. Update: here is a link to a NY Times Story on the issue.

He repeated several times how bad the illegal immigration problem is, which is understandable, because this is a big issue with his constituency, as demonstrated by the callers. He said that "illegal immigrants get benefits meant for citizens, without paying for them." I don't think this is true, because they pay property taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes, income taxes and they won't even get Social Security, but they pay into it.

Then he complained about phone messages that say "for English press 1 for Spanish press 2". Now that was lame.

I stayed on the phone for maybe 45 minutes, which is longer than ever before, and I also for the first time, requested to ask a question, but the time ran out. Maybe next week.

I would really like to know how many people listen, and for how long. The calls seem to be a successful campaign tool.

UPDATE 6/17/08: McCain Makes Statements on Drilling:

McCain: "We have proven oil reserves of at least 21 billion barrels (on the continental shelf) ...But a broad federal moratorium stands in the way of energy exploration and production. And I believe it is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions and to put our own reserves to use,"
McCain said environmental controls were strong enough to permit safe offshore exploration, although the Republican governors of Florida and California -- both McCain supporters -- dispute this.

But at the same time, McCain opposes drilling in "pristine" areas such as Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, putting him at odds with many in his party.


Anonymous said...

Great post! I would add that these calls are supposedly NOT campaign related. They are paid for from Chabot's congressional office -- meaning tax dollars. So much for being a fiscal conservative.

Jimmy_James said...

^ Come on. How much could this type of thing really cost? That's just a cheap shot.

That said, I don't particularly like Chabot, and these calls sound terribly lame. Citykin, I'm shocked that you had the strength to make it through 45 minutes of that!

Anonymous said...

These calls are cheaper than town hall meetings, and reach almost 10X more people. I'm not affiliated with Chabot but am aware from conversations with his staff that in the end these are cheaper on the tax payer - and it is important for any congressman to reach out to their constituents.

CityKin said...

Do they have any way to track how many people participate?

WestEnder said...

I get these calls but I've never participated. I've written to Chabot and met with his staff about various issues over the years and in my experience, he is little more than a GOP robot. He seems more interested in towing the party line than in listening to constituents.

It's obvious that these calls are a thinly-veiled campaign tactic. It's an ethical gray area because Congress isn't allowed to use federal money for campaigning. So it doesn't matter whether they cost less or not, the key issue is that he's on the fence legally.

tiger said...

I don't like Chabot at all, but I think these calls are a great idea. You don't have to listen if you don't want to, so what's the problem? Perhaps these calls are intended as part of his campaign, but I think we've seen way worse from both parties. If you don't take a cynical view, these calls are a way of modernizing the democratic process. So, you still suck Chabot, but I like these calls.

Susan said...

I think these phone calls are great! My husband and I listen to them!