Be careful when you send a letter to your politician of choice. Your words may end up in the public record for all to see.
AUSTIN — “May the fleas of 1,000 camels infest your linen closet,” wrote the 46-year-old unemployed Texan in a March e-mail to Gov. Rick Perry.
It was just one of about 4,300 comments that flooded into the governor’s in-box after he announced last month that Texas would oppose any change to unemployment laws necessary to accept $555 million in federal stimulus money.
The flea curse was among the milder notations from a Plano resident receiving $211 a week in unemployment benefits. It was typical of the often-emotional outpouring concerning Perry’s decision, announced one month ago amid a flurry of state and national publicity.
The letters, e-mails and a tally of phone calls were released by the Governor’s Office in response to a public information request. Perry’s decision was favored 2-to-1 by those who weighed in.
“We will not be bound by the suffocating government regulations which will alter our way of life and attempt to destroy our spirit!” said a Magnolia woman in an impassioned e-mail.
The Texas Senate has reacted as well, giving tentative approval Thursday to a bill that defies Perry’s position by expanding unemployment benefits to draw down the federal dollars. A final vote is expected next week.
This particular case study is interesting because it shows that Rick's decision to reject some of the Obama stimulus money may be total inside baseball to some people, but among those who care about it there is far more passion from fans of Rick's team. Rick's supporters on this are like the Cameron Crazies. They aren't large in number, but they are indeed dedicated and passionate. The other side might be more like UT's baskeball fans... there are a lot of them, but they don't always show up, and when they do they tend to sit on their hands.
What other sports analogies can I force into this blog?
UPDATED at 5:49 in the evening...
I am not literally calling Rick's supporters "crazy." I just mean that they are more passionate. I just wanted to clear that up. Also, you can read the lengthy record of correspondence for yourself at the Texas Politics blog (link).