Over the years members of Congress have enjoy the “franking privilege.”
Franking is the practice of sending mail without postage; over a person’s signature. It takes various forms, but is most prevalent among national incumbent politicians.
I won’t go into the nuances of franking, Rather, I will highlight the fact that incumbent congress members get to send non-political mail within the United States…for free.
It has always been a waste to allow this privilege. Further, even though incumbents are permitted this practice for non-political purposes we would be hard pressed to find a “franked” newsletter that was truly non-political. It is no coincidence that many franked pieces of mail arrive just days before a re-election campaign. (For those that will defend this practice of federally funded campaigns, yes there are deadline dates that member of congress must comply with).
The main point is that everything has a cost,,,and franking has a cost to the taxpayer. I challenge anyone to cite a franked piece of congressional mail that does not have a campaign component to it. Even the ones disguised as “constituent surveys” are worded to promote the candidacy of an incumbent.
Frankly, another form of “franking” has arisen within the last decade. The new form of political aggrandizement is social media.
Many congressional members now routinely use social media to convey their political campaign presence. It takes a subtle form.
While we hire these representatives to solve pressing issues we get the results of them going through self-promotions on Facebook, and a host of other social media sites.
Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania frequently post his personal congratulations to a wide variety of groups and businesses from his district. I’m glad he appreciates them, but candidly that should be a private matter. What he is doing is pandering to his constituents that are looking for him to solve pressing national issues.
Recently, Congressman Chris Stewart of Utah’s Second Congressional District posted a tally sheet of his constituent responsiveness. I personally calculated the number of constituent “responses” he claimed compared to reasonable amount of time needed respond. In short the Facebook post was a straight forward stretch of reality. Had he actually responded as he claimed, he would not have gotten any sleep during the two years in office. He would not have time to read anything more than one sentence bills presented to him…and not many of those.
Senator Lindsey Graham is another one that routinely makes highly politicized Facebook posts. But if one examines them closely they reflect no serious work actually being done by the senator.
The newest class of elected freshmen congress member are showing signs of saturating the social media airwaves with self-promotion. They have been trained well by the already indoctrinate members.
I classify all of this nonsense by elected officials as “franking” because that is the name most Americans recognize as an incumbent privilege. I believe it should cease!
If a member of Congress chooses to use franking than it should be framed in terms of actual serious matters facing the nation. I fully endorse their right to use social media for self-promotion. BUT IT SHOULD NOT HAPPEN under the duty and expense of their public service.
The American people do not pay taxes to have public officials use the money for self-aggrandizing promotions. Taxpayers want their money spent for universal public benefit.
There is a fresh way for congress to operate that will raise their level of esteem among the citizens. Self-imposed restraint of political pandering is a good way.
That Is The Way I See It.