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December 16th, 2012
09:06 PM ET

Letters to the President #1427: 'Change of the guard'

Reporter's Note: I have written to President Obama every day since he took office.

Dear Mr. President,

I noted with some interest that you decided this weekend to put Sen. John Kerry up as your new Secretary of State. Seems like a solid choice. He’s a mature player. His credentials are pretty impressive. He has some controversies in his past, but they certainly don’t seem major. Well, I suppose whether they are major or minor depends on your political point of view, but none of them seems to have ever risen to the level of being a full blown scandal. There is the matter of him being a fabulously wealthy guy from Massachusetts, and judging from the campaign, you have no faith that such people can be trusted…but maybe that’s just a matter of context, hey? Ha!

That said, in some ways I’ve never understood this whole changing of the guard that happens whenever a president wins a new term. I would be inclined to think that when a leader is re-elected, in a sense people feel as if they are re-electing his team as well, so to suddenly start switching everyone out is peculiar.

After all, if a pro football coach gets a new contract, he doesn’t immediately start dumping all of his established players and trying to pick up new ones, does he?

On the other hand, I know that having anything to do with White House politics is exhausting. Asking any person to serve in one of these positions for four years is probably more than enough. After all those relentless hours, the pressure, and the strain families, I can understand how they might want a break. I can understand also how you might wonder if any given member of your team is really at his or her best after four years of such effort.

I guess what I think doesn’t matter anyway. This just seems to be the way it is done.

So I wish you the very best with the process. I know you were probably disappointed about that flameout with Susan Rice, but it appears you’ve moved on in positive direction and in short order. One can’t ask for much more than that.

Hope your weekend is going well enough, especially under the circumstances of late.

Regards.
Tom

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