March 13th, 2010
07:30 AM ET

Dear President Obama #418: Biscuit + basket = better politics

Reporter's Note: President Obama gets all caught up in basketball, but give me a shiny sheet of ice, some sharp blades, and the crack of a slap shot any day! In the meantime, I’ll give him my latest letter.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/12/avalanche.hockey.jpg width=292 height=320]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

As you know, I am a bit of a hockey fan. When I lived in Colorado I loved watching the Avalanche streak down the ice and I went to a good many of their games, including one of the Stanley Cup playoff tilts. The Avs are still my favorite team, although after almost ten years in DC I’ve grown quite fond of the Capitols too, and they’ve proven very exciting, especially this year.

I also like some of the customs and traditions of hockey, which frankly I think your political pals ought to consider taking up.

For starters: the Zamboni. In between each period of play, I enjoy watching the big, lumbering machine put a fresh layer of ice over all the nicks, and scrapes left behind by the previous tussles. It is practical, of course; no one wants to trip while skating 35 miles an hour and intercepting a frozen puck that is traveling well over a hundred all while being chased by someone who would like to pulverize your ribcage. But the Zamboni’s work is also symbolic. It says, this is a fresh start. Clear your mind. Refocus. Do your best. I think a little Zamboni visit to Congress after each day’s play could go a long way toward sharper, crisper action in the morning.

The second thing you pols might want to add to your repertoire: Hockey style fights. Because they are fair. Well, not all the time, granted. But it is the code of hockey that when two guys have finally had it with each other, they square off, throw down their gloves, and have a go. I’d rather be punched in the mouth any day than knifed in the back. Part of what poisons politics is not merely the animosity, but all the double-dealing and sneaky, dirty fighting.

The third thing: The Penalty Box. I think a lot of those Congressional types could benefit from a minute or two in the sin bin when they get out of hand.

And the last thing you might want to add to the agenda: The handshake. No sports contests are more grueling, violent, exhausting or emotional than hockey playoff series. And yet at the end, no matter how fierce the battle, both teams skate together, shake hands, and show respect and gratitude for their opponents.

All of these measures, if adopted, I am certain will make DC a more functional place. Unfortunately, I know I’m just dreaming. After all politics is not hockey. Hockey is civilized.

I’ll be kind of busy today getting ready for a trip, so if you want to call can we make it Sunday? Thanks. You are always so understanding.



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. J.V.Hodgson

    Dear Tom,
    You are right civility, fair play, clear focused reasons for disagreement, and respect for an opponent and the will to mend fences or forgive even if you lose, are the qualities of great sports..... regrettably, therefore think you made one mistake with this letter. It should have been sent as well to the Majority and Minority leaders of both parties in both congressional bodies.
    The filibuster and many House and senate rules are designed to and engender as well as help back stabbing instead of open debate.
    To me immigration and Abortion have no place at all in a health care bill. Put both subjects up for separate debate and legislation.
    My view is perhaps too silly simple for the Lawyer dominated and bound house and Senate.

    March 14, 2010 at 12:06 am |
  2. darci

    Love it!

    March 13, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  3. khym- Bronx, New york

    Nice way to top off the weekend Tom, Great suggestion if they would only implement it. You are not the only dreamer, we all dream for that day.

    March 13, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  4. dianne rogan

    Nice thought but I think the zamboni should run over the conserves old ice is dangerous to skate on

    March 13, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
  5. Jed Brown, Utah

    I've been getting really frustrated recently with politics. The power of words! There power that people can take through the art of words! Political rhetoric and political strategy. It's an art and yet it can be a horrible method of shepherding the minds of people into the intentions of special interest groups and other people want to keep their power. The hope for a truth feels like a philosophical argument that would be about as pointless as asking vague undefined questions like why... yet in order to create a more perfect union... we have to try!

    March 13, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  6. Tim Gibson

    I think congress would spend all their time in the penalty box and not on the ice.

    March 13, 2010 at 10:06 am |