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October 24th, 2011
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Letters to the President #1008: 'Changing winds'

Reporter's Note: Each day, I write a letter to President Obama. I don’t know if he reads them.

Dear Mr. President,

Have you seen this new TV show, "Boss," with Kelsey Grammer? Excellent television! The acting, the writing, the mise en scene; really top flight. It is set in Chicago, so I think it might be especially interesting to you. Who knew Frasier could be so tough?

One of my favorite parts in the first episode involves a short discussion with a young man who is considering a run for the governor’s office. He says something along the lines of, “Gosh, Frasier…um, I mean ‘Boss’…the primary election is in three weeks. How can I mount a successful campaign?”

“Oh come on,” the ‘Boss’ says, “that’s an eternity these days.”

He’s right, of course.

Once, people talked about long, drawn out political sagas in which candidates built up their credentials, established a degree of trust with the public, and then sought ever higher offices based on their record of performance. Now, however, that does not seem to be the case.

Candidates come and go like those seasonal doughnuts at Krispy Kreme. Today it is pumpkin spice; tomorrow it’s peppermint patty. The public appetite, in doughnuts and leaders, seemed to be changing by the hour.

The good part for you: it means if you can simply endure all the bad news in the economy now, you might have much more favorable winds blowing your way by election time. Then, people… in that short-attention-span way… may simply overlook everything they are struggling with now, and instantly pull the lever for you.

The bad news? Well, it can go the other way, too. You may find ways to convince people that you are still the right bet for fixing the economy, you may get the polls pointing in your favor, and then at the 11th hour, some simple event can come along and upset the entire scheme when there is little or no time left in which to react.

So what to do? I’m not sure. But getting a box of doughnuts and checking out the next episode of "Boss" might be a good start. After all, anything decided in the 2012 election now will almost certainly be undecided in a couple of months anyway.

Regards,

Tom

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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1 • Tom Foreman
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