Monday, November 23, 2009

Political Efficiency

I ran into a brief interesting piece on about the efficacy lobbying effort that went on leading up to the House vote on HR 2868. It notes that Socma (sic) Connect targeted some members of Congress with a letter writing campaign to gain their support. Only two targeted members were identified in the piece, Berry (D, AR) and Ross (D, AR), both of whom voted against passage. Apparently the other 19 Democrats who voted against the bill, did so without outside assistance. This means that SOCMA Connect only converted 2 of the needed 21 additional Democrats necessary to defeat HR 2868. Even by baseball stats (batting average of 95) standards this is a very poor political performance. Statistically, given the same performance in the Senate, they will not be able to change enough votes to stop the bill from coming to the floor for a vote, much less stop passage. Perhaps SOCMA needs to concentrate more of their efforts on the amendment process to make specific provisions more workable. This has been the tact taken by the American Chemistry Council. That revision process resulted in changes to the Citizen Suit procedures that still allowed for citizen action without making facilities face the prospect of frivolous law suits.


Bill Allmond said...

I am flattered that you would single out our grassroots efforts in your continued effort to comment on SOCMA's advocacy strategy.

The fact that any Democrats voted against HR 2868 was a welcomed development. You are the only one that I know of who seemed to think that it wasn't particularly surprisingly. If SOCMA had members in all 21 Democratic districts, perhaps our success rate would have been higher. But we are quite pleased with our ability to utilize our grassroots to help swing votes in districts where we do have members. We don't have members in all 21 districts that voted against HR 2868, so, of course, we can't make a case that we helped impact the vote for the other districts.

As you should know, but apparently don't, politics is a numbers game and you don't have to have 100% (or 50% or 25% or even 5%) of a vote in order to call it a success. The fact that Democrats voted against HR 2868 gives us momentum going into the Senate.

It goes without saying that we have achieved much more than you have selectively pointed out in your blog that, because it hasn't been publicly reported, you are unaware of. A great example is the citizen suit provision in HR 2868 you mentioned. I would be happy to share with you the extensive legal argument we made to all 3 House committees to have this provision changed, which you arbitrarily assigned responsibility to only one trade association. I have no knowledge of that association's contributions to amending that provision. You seem to. I will give you the benefit of the doubt, which only demonstates, then, that achieving this outcome was a collective effort.

Perhaps you need to concentrate more of your effort in getting all of the facts before making assumptions about SOCMA and what we're doing or not doing. Care to make some more generalizations about small companies and their approach to safety again (see Reader Comment from 10-20-09)???

PJCoyle said...

See my response at Reader Comment – 11-23-09 – SOCMA Reply:

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