September 15th, 2010
12:15 PM ET

Letters to the President: #604 'The gaming of the shrew'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: Republicans are reassessing their position following the last primary voting before the fall’s general elections. But I’m wondering in today’s letter to the White House, if Democrats are yet considering all the potential pitfalls ahead…

Dear Mr. President,

The shrew is an astonishing animal. It is tiny; about the size of a mouse, although not related. Soft, grayish-brown fur. It has a pointy little snout; generally eats bugs, seeds, nuts, fruits, and other things like that. And I mean a lot of things like that. Up to three times its body weight in a day. (I had a friend in college who once did that with Domino’s pizza.)

Because it is small and can be found tunneling through your yard if you live in the right place, it is easy for people to confuse it with a mole or a small, harmless rodent of some type. But that is not a mistake you’ll make more than once.

Shrews are to cuddly little critters, what Chucky was to the Cabbage Patch Kids. They are vicious enough to challenge critters that absolutely tower over them. Mean enough to sink their needle teeth into the hand, foot, or paw of any perceived enemy with no apparent regard for whether that foe will then crush them to a tiny pulp.

And at the moment I can’t help but think of them as I watch the election results.

The degree to which unknown, untested, and previously dismissed candidates are successfully ripping holes in the vaunted two-party apparatus is jaw-dropping. The political dare-devilry with which they are charging into races that the DC elite would call off-limits is dazzling. Like the tiny shrew, they are rushing forward with such ferocity that they are putting giants on the run. (I am not comparing them to shrews as a means of demeaning their effort, btw, but rather because I have always found the shrew to be one of nature’s most impressive creatures.)

Your fellow Democrats are delighted, of course. I’ve been watching them crow as the results have come in, certain that this signals a meltdown in Republican hopes for taking the Senate and/or the House; because after all, these “interlopers” are splitting the Republican Party, but will have little or no effect on the Dems. And conventional wisdom says they are right.

But here is a caution I think you might want to put into your pocket: Conventional wisdom, not so long ago, said these “interlopers” would not get their act together enough to make any real impact this fall on anyone. And when you see shrews in your neighbor’s yard, chances are they are even now tunneling into yours…maybe they won’t arrive this year…but…

Just a few thoughts. Hope all is well. Call if you can.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. EM Smith

    You know that democrats bring defeat on themselves. I know that as a fact because of being part of the party for a number of years and now find myself saying "I am not a leftess", I am not."

    I will be an independent until I am sure the democrates have finally got their act together - and I am not talking about 2008. I don't think that the democrates could muster up enough votes win a free-pizza after watching this group in Washingtom.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  2. John Mitchell

    I do not find any substance in these letters except total waste of time. Please try and give some dignity to the office of the President.

    September 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  3. Boomer in Mo

    I bet the Whigs thought the Republicans were no threat in 1848...
    The Kohl brothers are bankrolling a lot of the tea party activities and they want the Depts. of education and labor abolished, along with the IRS. They may get it done with the tea party help. It's a shame the tea partiers don't realize that sometimes they are being used very badly by the Kohls and others because the movement does have some good ideas and points. But with the mega-wealthy tax the poor and not the wealthy movement, neo-nazi return the white man to power and other under the radar movements pulling some of the strings, the movement may eventually implode. The tea partiers' greatest weaknesses are they do not study history for themselves (only let Glen Beck feed them his strange version), violently avoid listening to any opinion they don't agree with and they run mostly on raw emotion.

    September 15, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  4. Locksley

    The Republicans with their "win at all cost" mentality made the mistake of cuddling the Tea Party, thinking it was safe in doing so. Now, they realize that the Tea Party is not interested in advancing the agenda of the Republican party, nor any agenda that would benefit America. The Tea party is interested in advancing the agenda of the few anti-establishment, anti-america, selfish, reclusive super wealthy persons who want an environment in which they can continue to exploit everybody else to keep themselves on top. To that end, even the Tea Party is being used and manipulated, and everybody loses (well, except for those few super wealthy)

    September 15, 2010 at 12:37 pm |