April 26th, 2010
08:28 AM ET

Dear President Obama #462: Fighting past the bell

Reporter's Note: Sometimes presidents become very, very active making controversial policy decisions right before their term is up. They’re not alone. Other politicos pull the same trick. And so today’s letter to the White House is about that practice…

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

What is it with some of your political pals? The only time they ever seem to start slinging punches that amount to anything is when they’ve already thrown in the towel.

Your fellow Dem Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, for example, has turned into a heavyweight brawler over the past couple of months and I’m wondering, “Where has this guy been all this time?” Pretty much since the day he announced he was not going to run for re-election, he’s acted like … well, like what most of us want to see more of in our politicians: a man who actually believes in some things and is willing to risk his own career to make them happen. Only, of course, he’s not risking his career.

I’ve seen this before. A politician either gets into so much trouble in the polls (like Dodd) or gets too old and tired, or gets term-limited out of office, and suddenly that guy or gal starts acting like a real leader…decisive, strong, and committed.

I’m not saying I approve or disapprove of what Dodd has been pounding away on, whether that whole health care biz or this latest Wall Street reform. What I’m saying is that it would be refreshing if a few more of our elected leaders would show that kind of bravado when they are actually in the heart of the game. I think you should start telling them that: “Hey team, stand up for what you believe in…Democrats and Republicans alike. Quit playing it so close to the vest. Tell the voters what you intend to do when you are running, set about doing it once you are elected, and if you fail or they don’t like the results, pick up some cardboard boxes on the way to the office because you’ll be packing your things soon.”

To be frank, I’m a big admirer of folks who wade into debates with their opinions out in the open and both fists ready. I respect them for listening to the opposition, for being willing to compromise, but when all else has been tried, I think it is both grand and good that they say, “Look, I believe in this, and I’m willing to lose my job defending it.”

If more of our leaders were willing to stand tall, hiding neither their true goals nor their successes or failures in reaching them, I think we’d be better off. We’d trust them more, whether or not we agreed with their policies. And I like to think some of us would vote for them more often just out of respect for that simple principle. But like I said, too many of them never give us that chance…and they only get bold when they’re already leaving the ring. Oh well.

Hope your Monday is off to a decent start. I’m pretty busy come off of my week on the road, but if you want to call, that’ll be OK. Try the afternoon.



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (4 Responses)

    The truth is that, with rare exceptions, politicians follow only their own agenda, and would sell their mothers for another term at the office.

    They are true Representatives. They represent their own interests.

    April 26, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  2. Alex Valiao (New York, NY0

    Choosing a leader is never an easy job. People are normally biased because our own perspectives are different to whatever issue that is important to us. Our decisions are based on the principles we believe in, the circumstances we have in our life, and the different things we have experienced in our lifetime when it comes to politics. There is never a 100% litmus test when knowing if a politician is pure to his commitment. Most of the time, they will they turn and act for their own gain as soon as they are seated. A man who is willing to give up everything is needed but how will you know if other people clouds their own judgement of him/her just to win a seat.

    April 26, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  3. Chamar Logan

    That sir is an accurate description of the common, american voice. I myself long for a politician that will stand up for the rights and well being of the american people from beginning to the end.

    April 26, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  4. mishaitilovers

    we all need Life-time education for how giving/ Sharing works to buid trust an better life..Peaceful life in this current materialistic Life.

    April 26, 2010 at 9:04 am |