May 25th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Dear Mr. President #491: “The Political Heat Wave on the Gulf”

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/25/100493403.jpg width=300 height=169]Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama is getting more complaints by the hour over his handling of the Gulf oil spill. He’s also still getting a letter from my desk by the day.

Dear Mr. President,

I am so tired I could put my head down on my desk and nap like I did back in kindergarten. Actually, back then I did not nap so much as peek underneath my elbow at the girl a few desks over. She lived a block or so away from me, and her name was Dondi. She was blonde, smart, and outrageously cute with a big, beaming smile that made her eyes crinkle at the edges. By now I assume that has mutated into a pair of crow’s feet that would horrify Poe, but then again I’m no longer the barefoot boy with cheeks of tan either, and back then she was my idea of a dream date. Or at least my favorite target for flirting across the room when Mrs. Butler was looking the other way and we were supposed to be asleep.

I once impressed the fair Dondi by laying claim to a craving for dandelion stems by downing a fistful with gusto. She responded by picking a lunchbox full which I was then obliged to munch on all the way home on the bus, lest I betray my lack of enthusiasm for the free repast. It worked. We became pint size versions of boyfriend and girlfriend, until I regrettably could not make it to her birthday party because my family was going camping. Despite the fact that I carefully selected and sent a fully articulated, carved monkey as a gift, she could not forgive my absence and our romance went into a fatal decline. Oh well…like they say: all’s fair in love and wooden primates.

Anyway, back on target. I noticed the latest poll on how unhappy people are with how you are handling the oil leak. Didn’t I warn you about this? I don’t think anyone in his or her right mind expects you to magically come up with a technical solution to this. Certainly you can only be as effective as the combined “experts” on the scene since they are the ones who seemingly understand all the physics involved. (…emphasis on seemingly…)

But what about the parts that aren’t so hard to understand…for example, keeping the oil away from shore? I must say that the case made by local officials, including the Louisiana Governor, seems quite strong. And yet I don’t see a complimentary federal focus. Seems like every day we should be watching armies of people building up protective levees against the advance, pictures of Coast Guard vessels putting down miles of fresh barricades, in short…we should be seeing the sort of all out response that normally follows a natural disaster. And instead what we seem to be getting is a bit too much of what looks like, at least from a distance, bureaucracy.

Don’t you remember what a big fat apple the lackluster Katrina response was for you to shoot at during your campaign? I realize that this is a different sort of affair and because it is incremental it is easy to push it to the back burner on any given day. But day by day it is turning into a full on calamity.

Remember the lizard stretched out on a log in the sun. Maybe he doesn’t feel it getting steadily hotter by the hour, but if he does not move after a while, he’s cooked.

Give me a call if you are inclined. You know I’d love to hear from you. And if you could get the FBI to let me know whatever happened to Dondi, well that would be nice too. Ha!


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