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July 25th, 2012
07:32 PM ET

Letters to the President #1283: 'Playing chicken'

Reporter's Note: Each day I write a letter to President Obama. I have no idea where he puts them.

Dear Mr. President,

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Criticize your opponent too much, and people stop liking you. At least it sort of looks that way. Have you seen these latest polls about how the unfavorability ratings are up for both you and Mr. Romney?

Not too good.

Or maybe it’s great. Heck, I can’t even pretend to understand how you politicos think anymore. Maybe the calculation goes like this: We’ll say a lot of nasty things about him; he’ll say a lot of nasty things about us; we’ll both see our “likeability” suffer; but if his gets hit harder, we win!

Sometimes I imagine that the working idea of D.C. politics is best pictured as a game of chicken in a pair of 1950’s hot rods. Two candidates start speeding at each other, revving engines that are super-fueled with half truths, cheap shots, and just a dash of honesty, and…well, that’s where the analogy falls apart. Because instead of either one swerving before impact, both just ram into each other. The hope seems to be that one side will survive, and the other will not. And while the road will be covered with carnage and any onlookers (read: voters) may find themselves sorely disappointed by the infantile, dangerous behavior, in the long run, we’ll come around.

I could be wrong about that, but it certainly looks that way. So you and the governor just keep stepping on the gas for those negative ads. It’s pretty clear that whether we want it as a nation, that’s what you’re both going to give to us anyway.

As they say in London, “Let the games begin!”

Regards,
Tom

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