January 29th, 2009
10:25 AM ET

Dear President Obama #10: A bone to pick with you...

Editor's Note: President Obama says he wants normal citizens to give him ideas about how to run the government. As a result, I am writing a letter every day with my suggestions. Some of us take our civic responsibility seriously.

[cnn-photo-caption image=
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/28/art.obama02.gi.jpg caption="Obama lifts a cold one during the campaign season."]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I think you’ll agree that my letters thus far have been largely positive. I have tried to be encouraging, supportive, and optimistic about your ideas. But today I have a bone to pick with you.

Where are all those normal Americans you claimed such close kinship with during the election? It occurred to me as I saw you in yet another photo op surrounded by hot shot power players, that since inauguration day I have not seen you hoist a beer, sit down in a diner, or go bowling even once. (O.K, the bowling part, I understand, although the argument could be made for practice. Remember, there will be re-election to consider.) Still, it seems like back during the campaign you couldn’t make it four hours without basking in the wisdom of normal folks. Now, as the actual business is being conducted, they are nowhere to be seen.

I’m not Johnny-Come-Populist saying you should waste time posing with Andy and Aunt Bea just so it looks like you’re in touch with common Americans. What I’m saying is that one of the principle appeals of your candidacy was that people felt you understood them; their worries, their hardships, their hopes. And they believed you when you said Washington gets too wrapped up in itself and forgets what it is like to pay a power bill, sweat out a layoff, or be ignored by the people in charge.

My suggestion: invite a few regular Americans into some of these high-powered meetings. They don’t have to talk, but like election watchers, they can observe. Score some economists from state universities, and some mayors from medium size towns, and a half-dozen small business owners. Get a teacher, an engineer, the guy who runs the Dairy Queen. Get all different political views, ages, races, religious beliefs. Let them be in the picture when all these big decisions are being made about how to fix our economy and green up industry and so on. Then encourage them to come out and talk freely about what they hear.

If nothing else it will force your experts to explain in plain language how all these far-reaching plans will work, and that could do an awful lot to raise hopes and confidence in the face of this landslide of layoffs we’re seeing. Otherwise, what are we left with? A picture of you and the big shots saying “Trust me.” That’s how we got into this mess, and that’s the very kind of government you ran against.

Not trying to wreck on you. I’m just saying. Call when you get a minute.



Find more of the Foreman letters here.

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Paula Castleberry

    Mr. President the stymulus bill is "partisian politics as usual" and fillled by "PORK" no matter what you call it.
    It is ridiculous and will do nothing to help the average person who is out of work.
    $50 million to the NEA, are the artists out of work???? Are we expecting a FLU epidemic that we need $420mil for that, and on it goes. Ridiculous and it causes everyone I talk with to distrust government and especially Congress even less.

    January 30, 2009 at 1:28 am |
  2. Erika

    yes I am writting to president abama I am well pleased with what you are doing and what you have done.keep up the good work because I no that God has put you there for a reason I dont have no doubt that this plan want work because i believe it by faith that it is gonna work and if it doesn"t then it wont be no worrer then what bush did when he got all that money and people still lost jos and their homes and if anything happens aleast we can say as least youv"e tried and thats enough for me.and another thang you need to do something about these dead beat dads that dont want to take care of their children and make the system make them take care of them to if they run from town or city then they should be found and take care of their rights and stop running its not fair to us mothers that have to be a mother and a father and its not right the welfare system is so sorry when it comes down to that and that will give some of these mothers money in their pockets to help them out as well please look into this matter and take care of it I no this dont have nothing to do with the stimulas package but its similar to it thank you for hearing my concerns

    January 29, 2009 at 11:31 pm |
  3. Frank Van Calster

    So I going out from the Partners, They going to the Bank for let make these Bankcards cause I am without money. and to invest for Bankcards first, to deal on the Electronic Factories to have the Electronic Factories the Place to every Counted CES Clean Energy Source to give by every Count from 20.000 CES give the 20.000 on the Bankcard into the Value must Pay to Energy Priority.
    Is step 1.
    Is to make also a Bankcard for the United Kingdom appart,
    for doing all income from the United Kingdom about the CES and to change each 20.000CES is count into 20.000Pond to change into 20.000USDollar and to keep the rest for our partners.

    January 29, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  4. Annie Kate


    A really good suggestion but like everyone else is saying – he's only been there a week. Give him some time. I noted that some were complaining about the cocktail party – Bush only had 8 dinners during his tenure of office; I never heard of any cocktail parties in his tenure as well; he was almost a hermit in the White House so out of touch with the average person that he didn't know gasoline had hit 4dollars a gallon. That's out of touch – Obama isn't that and I don't think he will become that but we need to have reasonable expectations. He's trying to fix a lot of stuff fast before it all caves in around our feet.

    January 29, 2009 at 8:42 pm |
  5. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    P.S. Just a suggestion. Freeze the bank accounts of all Wall Street High Rollers. Prohibit any transfer of funds to overseas banks or overseas corporations in addition any Corporations that offshore jobs or infrastructure shouod be FLAT TAXED at 99%. No exemptions. NONE !

    January 29, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
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