When I called Senator Gordon Smith to ask him to vote against war in Iraq, they didn't take my name or address. All they wanted to know was where I was calling from.
My interpretation: they are tracking antiwar sentiment by district, to determine how it plays in the areas where Smith needs to pick up swing voters. He probably can't count on much support in Portland beyond the Republican base, but he needs to be more careful in areas where he's counting on a strong showing.
The implication: Calls from areas where Smith has stronger support will be disproportionately effective right now. People outside of Portland, and especially in the eastern parts of the state, are more likely to have their voices heard.
Possible outcomes: Smith probably won't vote against the Iraq resolution now, although some people seem to think there's an outside chance. However, we might weaken his resolve, increasing the chance that he will defect from the War Party if things turn sour in the field. Also, we're laying the groundwork for him to vote against future expansions of Bush's war-making authority, or against the next war Bush proposes (and if this one is successful, there will be more).
What to do: Call now. The vote is expected tonight or tomorrow morning.
DC: 202 224 3753
Fax: 202 228 3997
Local: 503 326 3386
Calling his DC office may be more effective than the local one, although the lines will be busier. Your call shouldn't cost more than fifty cents if you're brief. A typed or handwritten letter faxed to DC might get more attention, as well.
Don't forget to get your friends, family, coworkers, etc. to call. A simple action like this is an easy first step for someone who's never gotten involved before.