September 27th, 2010
10:40 AM ET

Letters to the President: #616 'The midterm survival plan'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: Optimism and good cheer can go a long way even in the face of adversity. And sometimes pen pals can write a lot of letters, even in the face of no response. Ha!

Dear Mr. President,

Rise and shine; it’s Monday again! I can’t tell you how invigorated I feel, and I hope you feel the same. If I were president, I think I’d wake up every morning and just dance around the room a while singing “Hail to the Chief.” Well, maybe not. But still, maybe.

As you know, I took an extra day off this weekend and it worked wonders for me. Spent some extra time with the family, enjoyed the start of fall (which you know that I love) and even slipped in a couple of excellent runs. You should have joined me. I can’t wait until the leaves are ankle deep and crunching beneath every stride. Now, that’s living like a king.

Anyway, as part of my reinvigorated state, I have decided to substantially up the positive vibes in these letters. The truth is, with this big midterm looming ahead, I think we’re all going to need all the positive thinking we can muster just to survive.

So here is my 3-step advice for making it through the election:

(1) Follow the news, but not too much.  I realize this is how I make a living, but seriously, there are just too many sources of information out there these days.  Pick a few that you trust and read them well.  Keep an open mind to alternatives, but get the scoop on the day and move on.  If you try to read absolutely everything, you’ll never have time to process what you have learned and then you’ll be no good to anyone.

(2) Don’t get trapped by what has gone before. It’s too easy in political races for candidates and parties to start working against themselves because they get all caught up in their self-perceptions instead of their duty to the public. Sure it is embarrassing to admit a mistake, but if more of our leaders in both parties would do that a little more readily, I suspect, oddly enough, that our respect and esteem for them would rise…not fall.

(3) Don’t actually pay that much attention to the election. The reason many political types get into trouble in the first place (I mean aside from an unhealthy interest in hookers and bribes, of course) is that they spend too much time triangulating votes and reviewing talking points. Focus on the job you have, more than on the jobs your party will or won’t have in a few weeks; that way, no matter what comes, your overall level of support may rise…and I suspect that may do more to promote your interests and programs than the actual number of seats you hold in Congress. Because, after all, a successful president can demand things of even a recalcitrant legislative body, and an unsuccessful one can’t even muster the votes of his friends.

Just some ideas that might help. And, btw, I neglected to wish you a happy autumn, so please accept my most seasonal best wishes now!


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. C

    Mr. Foreman,
    Even the beautiful fall season doesn't escape North Texas weather...and I am so thankful for that. I too finally took time off this weekend and enjoyed the sabbath...

    I think we all, Pres included, need to take a breather.


    September 27, 2010 at 10:34 pm |