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September 20th, 2012
10:47 PM ET

Letters to the President #1340: 'Government influence'

Reporter's Note: President Obama is busy campaigning. Probably too busy to read this letter or give me a call, but you never know

Dear Mr. President,

I heard an interesting report on radio today about how you seem to be leveraging every government office you legally can to help with your re-election campaign; i.e. apparently timing news releases, introducing new policies, announcing changes in procedures to cater to specific voters whom you’d like on your side. And to be honest, who don’t you want on your side at this point in the race?

Certainly these practices can come as no surprise to informed voters. Presidents have forever taken advantage of their position to curry favor at the polls. Theodore Roosevelt talked about the “bully pulpit” in terms of president’s getting heard, but you could well argue this is an extension of that same kind of power. Still, it sounds like with each race this practice just gets more and more elaborate.

I’m not blaming you. I’d say the same to anyone holding your job right now because I suspect in this rough and tumble political world they’d all be doing the same things. In addition, there is just no doubt that plenty of member of Congress have pulled similar tricks. Fixing that rattletrap bridge just before the vote; getting the money for the community center; scoring a special award for some influential supporter. We both know that all happens. Still, it seems like a shame.

Wouldn’t it be nice, for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike to know that government offices were always dedicated solely and wholly to the public good with no regard for the political fortunes of any individual? You talk about fairness a lot; seems like that ought to be a cornerstone of governmental fairness; that benefits are doled out with absolutely no regard for the politics of those who get them.

It will never be that way, of course. Frankly, I can’t even imagine how we could disentangle our government from the politics that create it, but I certainly wish we could.

Anyway, as always, the best of luck to you and Mr. Romney in your contest. Give a call if you can.

Regards,
Tom

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