March 22nd, 2010
11:19 AM ET

Dear President Obama #427: "Battle stars...and scars..."

Reporter's Note: President Obama reads my letters every day. At least I think so. Or I like to think so. Either way, I write them…day after day to Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

President Obama is setting out to visit a variety of states to convince folks that passing this health care bill is a good thing. Considering the strength of the opposition on this measure, he’s got his work cut out. Just like I do with a letter a day to Pennsylvania Avenue.

Dear Mr. President,

After a long, complex and certainly confusing struggle, Congress has finally approved your health care reform plan and it awaits only your signature. Congratulations. I know you’ve hung a lot of hopes on this matter, and opinions on both sides of the issue have been plenty hot. If you sense a certain reserve, however, that is precisely due to the heat of the moment; and because as a smart friend told me once, “If the fight is bad enough, even when you win you still sort of lose.”

I’m not trying to rain on your parade, so let’s start with the upsides. You’ve won what you believe is a great positive for the American public; an expansion of health coverage, a containment of costs, and a hedge against a spiraling deficit. You’ve invested more than a quarter of your presidency in it, and instead of coming up with a big doughnut hole, you’ll get some positive headlines. Same goes for your political party. That is undeniably better than the alternative, which would have involved booking a lot of tee times and pretty much giving up on effective governing from here on out.

But now, let’s look at the downsides: This was a complete flameout on the bipartisanship that you promised. (Blame that on the Republicans if you wish, but they are blaming right back…and btw, they won some of your Democrats to their side.) Your team struck some distasteful deals to get this through, making it look as if the legislation alone was not strong enough to win support even from your own team. And your protestations aside, this was not the wide open, transparent process you suggested.

But here is the real issue. Instead of being something that united the country in the name of change, hope, and common good, (themes of your campaign, you may recall) this seems to have deepened the political divide dramatically. Which is saying something because it was pretty deep to begin with. And the consequences of that, I fear, are something that neither you, nor I, nor any of your political pals up on the Hill can even begin to predict.

So speaking of surprise results, I managed to destroy my cell phone again. (Did I tell you this?) Second time in two months. So if you want to call, use my BlackBerry. Or try my desk phone.



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Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans have nothing to offer so they continue to fight about something that they can't do anything about. If they were smart they would move past this and work on job solutions for the American people but instead they're working on campaigning.

    March 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  2. April

    Does the passing of the health care bill worry me as I am a Republican? No it does not. This bill does not go into effect for how many years? By then, the people who voted it in will be replaced by Republicans and the law will be changed. Obama will be remembered for one thing and one thing only. The death of the Democratic party. It amazes me that the Democrates had a chance to change the face of American and instead choose to "cut their nose off to spite their face". This is not a health care issue, it is an insurance issue. It is about American's paying for health care for goverment officials while their family goes without. Take health care of the mix for goverment workers and let them buy their own insurance as the rest of American's are forced to do. Maybe they would overhaul the insurance industry, where the root of this problem really belongs.

    March 22, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  3. Steve Talos

    Please inform some of the Republican Congressmen that Canada, Scandanavia, Britain,Australia, Europe etc. have "Socialized Medicine" and that these countries are not totalitarian or communist nations.
    Canada has one of the best health care programs in the world. It has not meant "Armageddon" to our economy or any other nation for that matter. Canada's minimum wage is substantially higher; people live longer and are healthier; our banks have not collapsed; and our economy is robust.
    Unfortunate some of the Republicans didn't have enough guts to do what was right for the American people. It appears that they were more obsessed with dollars and sense than common sense. Oh yes, lobbying is also illegal in Canada! eh! One should not be overly surprised at the Republican position considering whom they would consider as a candidate for President of the United States – hockey mom and all.


    March 22, 2010 at 11:38 am |