I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Today's reading about lobbying (especially about direct lobbying) reminded me of the recent Politico article about how parents of Newton victims have been meeting with Senators and Representatives. They combine their own outside-of-the beltway advocacy as citizens with advocacy from experienced lobbyists. This seems like one of the most beneficial and fair ways to use lobbying.

Here's some excerpts of the article:

When a lobbyist for families of Newtown shooting victims called the office of Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to set up a meeting, the first response was a standard D.C. offer. They could get a meeting with her staff, and Collins would stop by, they were told.
The families’ answer: not good enough. According to their lobbyists, the families have a rule against staff-only meetings: They won’t do them. They insist on sitting down with the senators themselves. The families wound up getting more than 15 minutes with Collins...They don’t try to sound like wonks or pundits or operatives. They just tell their heart-breaking stories, weaving in a demand for action that is respectful but forceful. As a result, senators respond to them as bereaved parents, not advocates.

A group of experienced operators is guiding these families — to a degree that has irritated some pro-gun Republicans. An uber-strategist for the families is Ricki Seidman, a familiar face at the top levels of Democratic politics ever since she ran the Clinton-Gore campaign’s famous 1992 war room...Bennett’s Third Way connected the families with a lobbying firm, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, that set up more than 25 Hill meetings this week alone....The lobbying for about 15 families is being coordinated by Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit started in Newtown by community members...The families’ growing Washington finesse showed when Pelley asked Nelba Márquez-Greene — whose 6-year-old daughter, Ana, was lost in the shooting — whether she wanted to ban assault weapons. “At first, that was where my heart was,” she said. “I have since learned that it’s a more complex issue. … We’re looking for real change and common-sense solutions, not things that just sound good.”

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