One to Watch: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Just in case you’ve sworn off watching the news until the economy gets back on track, there’s also been a health care debate (or should I call it a war?) raging across all of America, with more accusations and counteraccusations and — how should I put it? — lies and facts than any American knows what to do with.

In the middle of this fray, of course, is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has been pushing for health care reform with a zeal usually reserved for simply getting its candidates in office. Yes, it’s that serious.

The organization’s direct mail often features a well-known Democrat, often a senator, in the corner card on its common #10 outers. In July, it featured Senator John Kerry. You remember him, right? Senator of Massachusetts, presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in 2004, when he was defeated by 34 electoral votes by George W. Bush … in large part because of a very nasty, fallacious but successful campaign about Kerry’s Vietnam record that was run by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Well, with that campaign firmly lodged in the memory bank of most donors to the Democratic cause, the DCCC uses Kerry’s name in the corner and the teaser, “Don’t Let Them ‘Swift Boat’ Health Care Reform!” On a lighter note, the back of the envelope offers a freemium (a free decal, “Health Care Reform NOW!”) inside (Archive code #608-171855-0907A).

Inside are four simple but effective components: a two-page letter, a reply card, the decal freemium and a BRE. The letter comes from Kerry, of course, and like with all DCCC efforts, the group knows how much more attention the prospective donor will pay the mailer if the effort comes from a well-known, popular politician. The letter is all about health care reform, naturally, invoking the name of the late Senator Ted Kennedy and mentioning the millions of families without coverage, as well as the well-funded Republican and health insurance opposition.

It also discusses the “Republican fear-mongering and outright lies” — such as Americans not being able to choose their own doctors and claims of “socialized medicine” — in strong language meant to get a response. However, Senator Kerry never brings up the Swift Boaters, as that mention on the outer seems intended to simply get the envelope opened.

Otherwise, the reply card is a half-page folded over and goes by “Personal Reply to Senator Kerry.” The “From” part has the name of the prospect filled in already, and such personalization may be the final nudge needed to prompt a donation to the DCCC.

The BRE goes with the oft-repeated request to use a First-Class stamp to “save us much needed funds!” But it also does something unusual: It pushes its URL on the actual BRE, telling prospects to “put your gift to work immediately, go to ….”