August 1st, 2009
07:00 AM ET

Dear President Obama #194: Crash for clunkers? Say it ain't so

Reporter's Note: Despite my ponderings in an earlier missive (see Letter #190) I have yet to jump in on the Cash for Clunkers deal, and now it appears that I may be too late, or close to it. And since I am now not car shopping I can continue with my letter a day to President Obama.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/07/29/cash.clunkers.irpt/art.clunker.new.irpt.jpg caption="Julie Callahan traded in her 1990 Chevy C1500 pickup truck for a new PT Cruiser."]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I don’t know whether to congratulate you or ask what you were thinking. Without a doubt your Cash for Clunkers program is wildly popular. Funny how that works, start handing out thousand dollars bills and suddenly everyone is your friend, eh?

On the other hand confusion about the program had auto dealerships looking like a Twister contest on the Titanic as they scrambled to fit in as many deals as possible ahead of what some feared would be the very early and untimely death of the program. As I write this, it still seems pretty uncertain what lies ahead. And I suspect that is both good and bad.

The good new is you launched a program that beneficiaries clearly liked. (Opponents, not so much; after all you’Re paying for all those great car deals with their money.) You can take a pat on the back from environmentalists for cutting carbon emissions from older vehicles that are now off of the road, and for making the nation’s personal car fleet at least a bit more fuel efficient. Polar bears of the world, rejoice!