You wonder about whether I expect the books sent to politicians to actually be read by them and change their minds. Of course I do not. As you point out, they don't even read their own legislation so they certainly are not going to follow our suggestion regarding this book. The majority of politicians hold their office because they enjoy the power it affords them, and most are interested in expanding, not relinquishing that power. So the ultimate message of Atlas Shrugged is lost on them.
In terms of direct impact on the politicians, the only thing that they respond to is the shifting tide of their voter base. If enough of their constituents write in regarding an issue, then they sit up and take notice - not because they actually care about the issue (and that appears to be especially so when the issue is centered around liberty or individual rights) - but because it just might affect their reelection. As Mindy already pointed out, the physical presence of the book is concrete and caries an emotional impact to complement the abstract intellectual ideas contained in the accompanying messages and letters. Multiply the impact of one book by turning it into a pile, and you have something that I believe can penetrate those concrete-bound mentalities.
As I say on my web site, "Let each politician take measure of the weight of our displeasure made manifest in the weight of the books received!" In this way, I hope to put the "fear of Galt" into them by letting them see that there are many like-minded people who seriously disapprove of their tactics, and more importantly, they are becoming organized and united, as witnessed by the Tea Party protests and this book campaign. This is the language of the politician and we need to learn how to speak it.
Having said that, the real purpose of this book campaign is not directed at influencing the politicians, but in sending a message to the public that there are people who oppose the current administration and its policies, and why. In order to get that message out, you need a channel to the media, and to get that, you need a newsworthy event. The Tea Parties are one great opportunity for generating coverage. I would hope that everyone here would attend a protest in their region and make an effort to seek out the media and express a cogent message that could be aired or published. You might even prepare, in advance, a short statement in case you are interviewed, and have a typewritten page you could hand out to press members at the rally with a few quotable statements that could be used in an article. As Objectivists, you have the opportunity to expand the message at these rallies beyond one of simple tax protest to one of moral outrage at the erosion of our rights by the previous and current administrations.
I see the book campaign as another opportunity to get press coverage. It will hopefully be announced at the Tea Party rallies, so the press might follow up on it from that lead. As Jay suggested, we should send copies of AS to the press so that they are directly notified of this action. And as AS book sales climb, there should be more and more coverage of that event in the press.
But what I really hope to accomplish is to get the press to start asking all the politicians about the books they are receiving. I want them to ask what impact it is having upon them; whether they have read the book and learned anything in the process; whether it is influencing any changes in their approach towards current issues. Politicians hate to be scrutinized at this level. If we can entice the press to probe them a bit, I hope it will make them uncomfortable and get them to start considering what they will have to do to "spin" the issue. Regardless or their responses, this should result in more media coverage which will bring the issues to the attention of a wider audience. That's all I can expect from a single action like this, but it is a start.
The effectiveness of all this rests upon getting enough people to participate to make the campaign meaningful. If you want to help, then make your own purchases and send them in, but even more importantly, do what you can to drive a wider audience to the go-galt.org web site so that we increase the pool of potential participants.
Regarding your observation that I credit Mindy with helping me, the fact is that after I originally published the site, Mindy took it upon herself to offer some editing services to help improve the grammar and the readability of certain passages. I really appreciated her initiative and her excellent editing suggestions, and gave her credit accordingly. Mindy has taken an interest in this project and has been a great supporter, and I really appreciate all of her help. There is absolutely nothing "disingenuous" regarding her participation, and I think it is sad that anyone would suggest this.
One troubling aspect of Objectivist culture is that the level of cynicism runs much too high. We get so used to seeing some people lie, evade or just refuse to think, that we start seeing these traits everywhere. If everyone's motives are suspect, then we might as well just toss in the towel and give up. I think that there is a lot of good in people, and that is what I am relying upon to make this campaign a success. Let's see if I'm correct or not. In the meantime, I'm devoting a lot of energy to this effort, so I don't have time left over to debate on forums like this. I hope this piece better explains my intentions, and I will be gratefully for any help you can contribute to the cause.