October 10th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #629 'Sounding the fire alarm'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama is lambasting the Republicans on the campaign trail as he tries to shore up his Democrats. But playing with fire can be risky.

Dear Mr. President,

There is a saying I toss out whenever I see someone doing something for short term gain that might make for long term losses: Don’t burn the furniture to heat the room. By that, I mean don’t resort to drastic, irreversible actions unless you really have to, and as I’ve watched your speeches lately, I’ve sort of wondered if you’re putting chairs up the chimney.

Faced with the prospects of potentially big losses in November, you are understandably trying to rally the base of your party. That’s smart politics. But for a president who seems so eager to embrace new ideas, you are relying rather heavily on an old message: Vote for us because we’re not the other side.

Sure, that thrills the partisans, but I’m not sure it does anything for the moderates who gave you the edge you needed to take the Oval Office. And if you further alienate them, I’m not sure how much a few saved seats in Congress are going to mean to your overall agenda.