did someone muck with the backend here

Re: Ring ring

1

Why can't they just use voice actors? Are they afraid that actors will accidentally commit the representative to some favor or really stupid policy?

(Speaking of asking for money, a certain university that will remain nameless called our house phone last night. We didn't answer and then immediately they called the cell phone. I don't understand the thinking. If we didn't answer because we aren't home, why would we want to be asked for money while we're out. If we didn't answer because we didn't want to give them money, it's even easier to now answer a cell phone than a regular phone. )


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:33 AM
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2

now s/b not.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:33 AM
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3

Aren't there thousands of under- or unemployed actors around? Somebody good enough to impersonate a specific Congressional representative without giving the game away would probably be expensive, but at $100/hour that's an enormous gain for both the actor (over maybe $15/hour waiting tables or whatever) and the politician (who is netting $17,000+ a day on each actor).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:37 AM
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4

John Oliver did a segment on this the other week. It's barmy.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:40 AM
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5

3 has massive screwball comedy potential. A struggling actor (young John Cusack, maybe?) with a gift for impressions lands a gig impersonating a congressman - but finds that he still can't pay his bills unless he also impersonates five others, all of radically different political beliefs. That way madness lies.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:41 AM
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If I understand microeconomics correctly, that guy already exists because the market for him is so strong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:42 AM
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No, he finds himself having to impersonate them in increasingly influential situations. Soon he finds himself making congressional debates and votes over the phone, through some plot-device. The real senator is in the hospital and no one can know?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:43 AM
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8

Now that movie has been made bunches of times.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:44 AM
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9

It's like King and the guy with the pee bucket in "History of the World."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:44 AM
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10

Or, more directly, Dave.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:46 AM
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11

Something's weird in this math. The average cost of a successful house election or re-election campaign is $1.7MM, according to numbers that are plastered all over the internet. Meanwhile, $18,000 per day is $4.5MM per year (assuming members take off on weekends and only work 50 weeks), or $9MM per election cycle. It seems like they could be getting by just fine raising only $4K per day. (Not like that's a trivial task, but it's a pretty significant difference.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:47 AM
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12

Somebody has to pay to keep the lights on in the party organization plus fund the non-incumbent candidates who will (mostly) lose.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:49 AM
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13

5: The Capitol Hill Mob.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:50 AM
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14

Okay, but then he's not actually raising all that money "for his reelection campaign."


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:51 AM
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15

Maybe they haze the new guys.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:52 AM
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Also, the fact that legislators deal with this fate AND YET we do not have a robust system of public financing for campaigns proves beyond any shadow of doubt that our legislators are absolute psychopaths. This is of course not an original thought/comment, but it's worth repeating. How could anyone expect our representatives in congress to solve our problems when they won't even do anything to solve the very real problems that impact them personally?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 6:58 AM
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17

That one actually makes sense to me. They may say they hate it, but our current reps are selected as able to cope with the current system -- someone who couldn't handle the fundraising wouldn't have made it to Congress. So asking them to change the system is asking them to change a system they're optimized for, and allow competition from other people who can't handle the current demands of elected office, but might be formidable opponents under different circumstances.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 7:01 AM
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Plus, making phone calls is probably easier than groping wrestlers or exterminating bugs, which I think are the most common pre-politics careers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 7:06 AM
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17: well then they're not allowed to bitch about it. They can fix the problem, or they can pretend that the current system is somehow good and useful. They can't bitch about the current system and do nothing to change it.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 7:10 AM
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Does the segment say who they're calling? I worked briefly in fundraising for a congressman, but he didn't spend anything close to 30 hours a week making calls. Maybe 3 every two weeks. He would mainly call lobbyists and invite them to his next fundraiser, and he would also call some wealthy people and ask them to give money. He really, really hated those calls, especially if they were cold, and would often refuse to make them. He much preferred calling the lobbyists. Surprisingly, most of the lobbyists would turn him down. I did attend two lobbyist fundraisers and it was interesting, one was kind of a cocktail party and the other was more transactional, the lobbyists literally got in a line to talk to him and the chief of staff. A donation is really a form of insurance, you want to get consistent face time. A drive-by fundraiser when a big issue pops up is not going to get your calls returned.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 7:13 AM
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21

20 makes me think that maybe new representatives are told they need to spend four hours a day on the phone raising a minimum of $18,000 because that's the best way to get them to spend something more like four hours a week doing it. If they were expected to do it four hours a week, they'd probably do it four hours a month.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 7:20 AM
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22

Probably depends on seniority and what sub/committee you're on.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 7:23 AM
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23

This is probably one of those things where everybody lies about how busy they really are because they want to seem busier than the next guy, who is also inflating their reported business level. But its easiest to pull this scam off on the Freshmen, who in some cases can actually be conned into working those kind of hours, because they haven't figured out the ropes yet.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 7:26 AM
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Is it possible Rep. Jolly isn't very bright or talented? Or, given the party we are talking about, maybe he's too moderate? Maybe they put him to do more fundraising to keep him away from the legislating?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 7:27 AM
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Partially pwned by 23, but mine was much more insulting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 7:30 AM
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I wonder how many hours Sen. Sanders spends fundraising when he's not running for President. He doesn't take donations from the usual suspects (see 20), or at least he says he doesn't. And cold calling students to ask for $5 sounds like a bad use of time. And yet the Vermonters keep on electing him.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 7:41 AM
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Vermont has a very small population for a Senate seat, so he would have it easier there compared to most senators (but about the same as a House member). And, unlike senators that were actual members of the Democratic Party, he probably wasn't expected to try to raise money for races with non-incumbent candidates.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 7:46 AM
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11: this seems like one of those situations where the mean is the worst average to use. A big chunk of the House is made up of Representatives from rotten boroughs like the one I live in -- barring super juicy scandal, Keith Ellison has a seat for life, other than a few lawn signs and a victory party, what does he need to raise money for?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 7:51 AM
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A big chunk of the House is made up of Representatives from rotten boroughs like the one I live in -- barring super juicy scandal, Keith Ellison has a seat for life, other than a few lawn signs and a victory party, what does he need to raise money for?

He needs to raise money from his adoring fans so he can be a power broker by handing it out to Democrats who actually need it for their elections.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 8:28 AM
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30

OTSO Congress, apparently we've got a ballot-design disaster looming - especially relevant because of the top-two primary.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 8:33 AM
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29: fair enough as far as it goes, my point was indeed that some congresspeople are far more in need of that time to gather donations than others, so making it about a mean average tends to elide the fundamental screwedupedness of the whole deal.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 9:10 AM
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He needs to raise money from his adoring fans so he can be a power broker by handing it out to Democrats who actually need it for their elections making tribute payments to Debbie Wasserman Schultz.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 10:05 AM
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16: in addition to the other answers people have offered, it's a collective action problem. All Congresspeople may agree that the status quo sucks, but they can't fix it for their party without fixing it for the other party too. And, party aside, individuals have different interests than parties.

Cassandane works for a Congressman. I remember that when we first started dating or living together her anecdotes from work included him trying to shirk on call time, but none come to mind recently. Maybe it's not needed now that he's in a safer district, but maybe he's got used to that part of his job by now.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 10:39 AM
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34

Write your congressperson.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 11:17 AM
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35

I think they also are supposed to give a lot of money to the party, in dues. Sanders was an independant so he didn't have to do that part?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 11:48 AM
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The thought of Ted Cruz having to eek out four hours in a sad grey cubicle in a sweaty call center with the cacaphony of other Senators panhandling for money makes me fucking giddy.


Posted by: Trivers | Link to this comment | 04-25-16 9:54 PM
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