OK, I just have to say that it seems weird to type the words "Congress" and "logic" in the same sentence :)
At any rate, in an article titled "Experts See Lawmaker Mismanagement of E-mail", National Journal reporter Winter Casey noted that "Congress needs to find ways to more effectively deal with citizens via Internet communications, a group of political technology experts said Wednesday." As noted in the story, according to Steven Clift, board chairman of E-Democracy.org, the fundamental issue is if Congress can "listen to its citizens in the digital era. . . Will they be overwhelmed and befuddled by e-mail or be respectful of it?" Alan Rosenblatt, executive director of the Internet Advocacy Center, was also quoted, arguing that typing your personal information to send an e-mail should be enough; there is no problem big enough that requires a quiz.
And, surprise, surprise... "Stephanie Vance from Advocacy Associates said citizens should not be discouraged from sending form letters but added that "advocacy groups need to educate their citizens" about the effectiveness of their various communications."
The interesting back story here is that this whole discussion happened over a very informal luncheon at the Rayburn Cafeteria. Steven Clift, a leader in the e-democracy world, was in DC and suggested that we all get together to chat. Well, the National Journal reporter was there for an interview with him and he graciously invited the rest of us to join in the discussion!
I hope I didn't have spinach in my teeth.
For more about Steven Clift, visit www.e-democracy.org. For more on Alan Rosenblatt, visit www.internetadvocacycenter.org