Reporter's Note: Ever since the inauguration I have been writing a letter a day to President Obama. He asked for advice on how to run the country, and I am delivering. Of course, he didn’t say it had to be good advice, so that’s a relief.
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
I seem to be saying congratulations to you a lot lately, but when you are a president that’s a good thing. So congratulations on your first Supreme Court nominee being confirmed. I know it looked a little dicey there for a while, but now Sonia Sotomayor is being fitted for the robe, and you’ve got every reason to celebrate. And just in time for Day 200! Score one for the man from Chicago and the Wise Latina, eh?
That said I was up in New York watching our big electronic maps as people all across the country graded your overall performance, and you’re taking a bit of a pounding. Your handling of health care reform and the economy are not exactly drawing rave reviews. That’s not, oddly enough, something that you have to be too worried about. You don’t face re-election for quite some time. On the other hand, it clearly has some of your Democratic pals in Congress hopping around like chickens on a hot plate.
Many of them do have to face the voters a year from this fall, and they are understandably worried. You don’t need a Magic 8 Ball to know what they’ll be hit with.
The ads will go, “More spending. More taxes. Same old politics. Where’s the change? Send a message to Congress. Send a Republican.” Or something like that.
So as you launch into your third hundred days (and trust me, I’m going to stop counting the hundred day intervals after that) my advice is to keep that in mind. When you ask them to support your more unpopular plans, you are actually asking many of them to risk much more than you are risking. They could lose their seats, lose their prestige, and lose their chance to move forward with other legislation that they may truly care about. The strength of a leader lies, at least in part, in recognizing the inherent weaknesses of his team, and pushing them…but not to the breaking point.
On the train back to DC this morning, and probably trying to catch a little sleep on the way, but call if you like. Any big weekend plans?
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