Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: President Obama is going to the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. I wish I were. Instead, I’m writing another letter to the White House and dreaming of distant, grilled amberjack. Mmmm.
Dear Mr. President,
Go into the water! I’m begging you, dash into the waves! During your trip to the Gulf, take the kids by their hands, call out to Michelle, and run into the tide with happy smiles. Maybe take a Frisbee along and play a little catch. Heck, if the dog is with you, call him into the surf, too. Only don’t let him into the car afterward. If the sand doesn’t get into the upholstery, the wet dog smell will.
I’ve written before about the symbolic power of Presidents, and as you know I think there are times when it is at least as punchy as the real power. This is a prime opportunity to wave that flag for the good of millions of folks who live in that area (many of whom, I may point out, were none to happy with your response to the oil spill in the first place.) If people see you playing in the water and having a good time, they’ll think, “Hey, he’s the president. He’s surrounded by Secret Service Agents, advisors, doctors, he may even have a private podiatrist; he has legions of folks assigned to keeping him safe and healthy. So if he’s in the water, then…”
When you are finished swimming, how about coming ashore and building a sand castle? Then the finale: Go to a local restaurant, order up a big platter of Gulf seafood, and consume every morsel, exclaiming the whole time, “Wow! This is the best I’ve ever had. I’ll be coming back for more!”
Maybe that sounds a little over the top, but the folks have been through a lot down there. They’ve lost more tourists than Canada sees in a year. They’ve lived in fear of complete oil-mageddon any day for months. They’ve lost jobs, income, pelicans, and it will probably take many of them years to fully recover.
So put on a show. Make it a big deal. This is no time for being shy. This is time to do it up big and make it clear that the Gulf is great, safe, and like the song says, “Right here, right now, there is no other place I want to be.” Look at it this way, you don’t need the approval of Congress to make a big, real difference on this one; so revel in it.
Call if you get a moment. I’ve got a busy weekend (unlike you!) but always happy to hear from you.
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