March 10th, 2010
07:59 AM ET

Dear President Obama #415: Don't get overheated

Reporter's Note: Politicians spend much of their time building up the flames of support for their side, and trying to douse the opposition’s blazes. I spend much of my time writing my daily letter to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

My mother-in-law tells a funny story about a winter day in upstate New York. She and my father-in-law had a small house on a beautiful lake up there. Sort of a fish camp place with small rooms, a boat parked outside, and trees all around. The furniture was the simple kind you need for children and grandchildren to lounge around in swimsuits. There was no TV. The beds were bunked. And it was heated with a wood stove.

That mattered on the day involved in this story, because it was cold out. My father-in-law Ray had to go on some kind of errand for several hours, and my mother-in-law Pat decided to stay home and bake cookies. So she stoked up the wood stove and began working the dough.

As the time passed, the cookies paraded in and out of the oven. I don’t know how many she made, but it has always sounded in the story as if there were hundreds. I have no idea why she would have churned out that many; but that’s beside the point. As she kept cooking she also kept adding wood to the stove (It can get really cold up there, so you can’t blame her) and the room grew warmer and warmer.

Finally in the early afternoon, she heard a knock from a passing neighbor (or a delivery man or something like that) and she went to open the door, bracing herself for a rush of chilly air. Instead, her visitor was nearly driven backward by the blast furnace heat that roared out of the house. Seems the temperature outside had risen by a couple dozen degrees and it was a mild day. She was slowly cooking herself inside the house, for fear of something outside…that simply was not there.

I think DC does this sort of thing all the time: We (meaning you politicians and we media types) fire up the furnace of fear over all sorts of issues, laying claim to all the horrors that await the nation, unless something is done right now. And only years later, when we look back, do we realize that people on both sides were a lot more overheated than they should have been. Just something on my mind tonight.

Hope all is well. Call if you can.



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Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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