March 4th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

Dear President Obama #409: It's the trust ... that's the problem

Reporter's Note: President Obama is pushing for final action on health care reform. I am pushing on with my next letter to the White House. My wife is pushing me to get up off the sofa and let the dog out.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/03/02/health.care/smlvid.obamapress.gi.jpg width=300 height=169]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

So finally you threw the gauntlet down! After all those months of debating, hand-wringing, proposals, counter proposals, hand-offs, punts, and passes, you are at long last calling for Congress to take action on the whole health care reform effort. Vote it up, or vote it down, but get it off the table!

Uh…at least it sounded that way. You’ll understand if I’m a wee tiny bit skeptical after the stands you took on this last summer, and again in the fall, and another time or two as well if I’m not mistaken. I won’t harp on it. I know sometimes things work out the way we plan, and sometimes not. But I’m also not entirely willing to bet my chicken coop that this is the drop dead decision time either. I guess we’ll both see, huh?

That said this whole business of things not necessarily going the way we expect, I think, is a fundamental reason why many of our fellow Americans have grown so shaky about this idea. Think about it: You’ve made the case over and over again about how this will not run up the deficit. You’ve talked endlessly about how health care costs are soaring and will keep doing so unless we change course. And yet polls show people growing more, not less, skeptical.

You know what I think it is? I think it is not so much that people mistrust health reform; this is just their plain old mistrust of government at work. We’ve seen that expressed in too many polls. They don’t think the government knows how to manage money. They think politicians, even those who don’t outright lie, seldom tell the whole truth. They think Washington sees this nation as a resource to be plundered for votes, donations, and power; and the voters? An inconvenience.

If you want public faith in health care reform or anything else you have planned to rise, fix that problem first. Give us all a reason to believe that government, like Horton, means what it says, and says whan it means. It’s a start.

Oh and by the way, call me, call me, call me.



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Tracy Theyskens

    I believe that people are naturally afraid of big change and the Republicans are fanning the fire of this fear! The Republicans do not want this Bill to pass, so they are using their scare tactics with the American people and also with the Democrats in Congress (they are reminding them that it is an election year). Understand that if this Health Care Bill passes and improves the lives of all Americans, President Obama will secure a second term which the Republicans vehemently do NOT want.

    March 4, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  2. Tim Gibson

    Is it a political issue or a moral issue? Getting that question alone up or off the table is a tuff sale. The threat of eminent doman to expand the stretch of the gauntlet track nicknamed Monty (Let's Make A Deal) Hall. In theory, overlapping on a narrow and shaky bridge on little more than one track is a "Bad Romance."

    In the land of Giants, what is the code, the motto, the continued attempts to influence people, the ones on that tiny speck to make a decision contrary to common folk knowledge?

    Maybe less dancing around, less hikes, retreats, babies, and incidental benefits. It is equally tuff down here in Whoville picking a place to stand around the table of debate. So far I have not found the health care reform table among the lot, it appears to be more along the lines of government reform.

    But then again, maybe I misunderstood and got my dates wrong and ended up at the wrong convention.

    March 4, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  3. Keith


    The goats refuse to repent. Instead they wish to assert right is wrong
    and wrong is right.

    They refuse to admit that huge corporate interests have used
    big corporate media to distort Healthcare reform.

    They refuse to admit that the Ads that Media has run for a year
    have turned much of America against Democratic Healthcare plans by deliberately and on purpose distorting the truth.

    The goats will reap what they sew.


    March 4, 2010 at 8:59 am |