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January 1st, 2013
07:41 PM ET

Letters to the President #1443: 'New year...same old scene'

Reporter's Note: House Republicans are balking at the fiscal cliff deal struck in the Senate. The president is waiting to see what happens, and presumably reading my daily letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

Here it is a brand new year and I’ve started off by making one of my same old mistakes. After the Senate approved its version of the fiscal cliff bill, I allowed myself to get hopeful that an end to this latest kerfuffle was in sight. To quote a Peanuts character, “What a fool I was!”

Do you have a shovel I can borrow? I think I should start 2013 by burying my expectations. I’m not going to expect a budget. I’m not going to look for accountability. I’m going to give up on the idea of transparency (heck, all of the rest of you have) and I’m absolutely not going to waste one moment thinking that our elected leaders are ever going to put the good of the nation above…or even on par with…their own good.

You’ve often preached that whole message about how we should believe in hope and change. Well, next time you may as well bring a string orchestra to provide an inspiring soundtrack, because I’m not sure that’s going to fly anymore without some help. Let’s face it, D.C. does not want to change. Your Democrats don’t want to consider for a moment that the Republicans may be right about some things; the Republicans, likewise, won’t give your side any credence; and all of us who just want to see a functional government are left tuning our fiddles while Rome burns.

Every one in this town seems to agree that hard choices are ahead, and that we’ll have to make sacrifices to get our economy and our federal budget healthy again. But the minute it comes down to actually doing those things, all of you elected officials start coming up with excuses as to why your constituents should be exempt from that process. As long as that continues; as long as Republican and Democratic leaders alike insist on retreating over and over and over again to the same philosophical barricades because they’re afraid of paying a political price, I suspect the whole nation will continue paying a real price.

After all, we’re doing it right now, and starting another new year off on the wrong foot.

Other than that, I had a lovely celebration with my family late last evening after covering the Capitol Hill nonsense all day. You should have been there!

Regards,
Tom

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