[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/09/13/boehner.gop.taxes/t1larg.jpg caption="In his latest letter to the president, Tom Foreman weighs in on the split between House Minority Leader John Boehner and some of Boehner's GOP colleagues on the issue of tax cuts." width=300 height=169]
Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: Republicans are seeing a little dissent in their ranks, which as I mention in my daily letter could be a ray of hope for the president’s party.
Dear Mr. President,
As you may have noticed, I rarely address the same topic two days in a row. Which is odd, because I had a marvelous dinner of leftover meatloaf, peas, and pasta before I started writing this, and I would be thrilled to have it each evening for the rest of the week. (Btw, do you ever get leftovers? Seems like it’s one of the great pleasures of American life, and yet I can’t imagine you roaming down to the White House kitchen saying, “Where’s the rest of that lo mein?”)
That said I am turning to yesterday’s topic again, because there has been a development which caught my eye and demands immediate attention. So it turns out that just as House Minority Leader John Boehner whipped his signal flags indicating he might be willing to support your plans for the future of the Bush tax cuts, members of his own party started sprinting away from him; declaring that they will certainly not join in any such attempt at bipartisanship, especially not with the big November vote looming.
Related: GOP colleagues seek distance from Boehner on tax issue
Now, I know I wrote yesterday about the wisdom of being magnanimous with enemies whenever they are even slightly less…uh, enemy-like. But today I must add a corollary: When your enemies show a split in the ranks, especially this kind, drive a wedge into it as hard and fast as you can.
I’m talking pure strategy here. I’d say the same to a Republican president. Like a good quarterback, when you see that gap opening up in the defense you need to act quickly to take advantage of it. Let’s look at the advantages of rapidly embracing and encouraging Boehner’s support.
First, if he changes his mind, you’ll make him look like a Waffle King; never a good thing for either party heading into a vote.
Second, you’ll encourage everyone on your side by showing that the opposition is not as monolithic or as disciplined as many Democrats fear.
Third, you’ll look like you are really interested in cooperation, and again…if Republicans back away…they’ll look like they are against it.
Fourth, you’ll inject a little extra confusion and discontent into their ranks.
Like I said, I’m not playing favorites. If a Republican leader asked me what I’d advise for his party right now, it would be much of the same. I mean, it’s not like you and your team have agreed on a clear message for this fall yet, either.
Anyway, my point is, if you hear something tonight while you are rummaging around for leftovers, it is opportunity knocking. And it won’t wait at the door very long.
Call if you have a chance. We started a whole new fact-checking thing which has me considerably busier than usual (which is saying something) but I’m always able to make time to talk.
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