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December 9th, 2011
11:41 PM ET

Letters to the President #1054: 'The bum's rush'

Reporter's Note: I write to the president with the maniacal regularity of a prisoner. And he seems to ignore my notes with the same intensity. So that is something we share!

Dear Mr. President,

Just in case you missed it, the latest Gallup poll has raised another raucous chorus of that old political drinking song,“Throw the bums out!” Three-quarters of all voters polled say that most members of Congress ought to lose their jobs, presumably in the next election although I’ll bet if pitchforks and torches were offered some of the pollees would have gone for that option this weekend if not sooner.

Apparently this is the worst anti-incumbent sentiment ever recorded by the good folks at Gallup, and that’s saying something. It must send a chill through the hallways here in D.C. After all, it’s not like your political pals have enjoyed a long love fest with the voters in recent years anyway.

I imagine it makes your crew over there a little jumpy, too, because in my experience when voters start beating the drum against incumbents…uh, they’re not too particular about who gets loaded onto the wagon out of town. And to be honest, it seems like this little number has been topping the charts for a while now.

Let’s see…George Bush didn’t run for re-election because..well, he couldn’t, but people seemed more than ready for something different anyway, so they did the next best thing and booted his party to make way for you. Then in the mid-term elections, they turned right around and did the same thing to your party, just to make it clear they were not playing favorites. And ever since then the polls have shown that no matter who is in office, generally the public likes the idea of putting someone else there.

Yes, when I consider it, that ought to make you nervous…and every other politician in this town, too. The reason voters are punishing incumbents is that they are convinced too many of you, as soon as you get power, forget what you wanted it for and start working more for yourselves than for the rest of us. So what to do about it?

I am convinced that the incumbents who will hold their chairs will be the ones who stay on the right side of that equation, by doing what the rest of us our doing to keep our positions: By buckling down and doing your job.

Give me a call if you want to chat this weekend. I’m around.

Regards,
Tom

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