July 18th, 2009
07:06 AM ET

Dear President Obama #180: Pass the bandaids ... and sound the charge!

Reporter's Note: President Barack Obama is busy defending his health care reform plans from Democrats who don’t want them the way they are, and Republicans who do not want them at all. I am busy writing another letter to the White House. Hey, at least he should get something nice in the mail.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I was watching your announcement yesterday defending your health care reform plans when suddenly I heard you say, “We’re going to get this done!” Umm…I know you have not been in DC a terribly long time, but people around here don’t talk that way in mixed company. (Meaning, of course, mixed Dems and Repubs.) I know it sounds strong and confident and all, but such definitive statements in DC are riskier than ordering the swine flu special at Pete’s-Pack-a-Lunch.

Now for me: I like that sort of thing. Give me the proud, bold, daring public servant any day, no matter what his agenda. “No new taxes.” “Mission accomplished.” “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Those are statements that voters can sink their teeth into; unambiguous, clear measures of where a person stands.

I think it takes courage or recklessness or startling naiveté or…well… something else to blurt such things out, (and yes, I know the MisAccom was a sign, not a statement, but President Bush stood underneath it in any case,) but at least it’s not the same old boring bet-hedging we’ve all come to know and loathe. Most political types avoid saying such things because the risk is too much for them to bear. If you say concretely what you want and when you want it; everyone will know definitively if you fail to achieve the goal.