Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: The midterm election has brought, once again, an exhausting storm of ads of questionable veracity. I’m just asking in my daily letter to the White House, does it really have to be this way?
Dear Mr. President,
Did you ever go to buy a car, you think you have agreed on a price, and suddenly you find a whole lot of added items and expense being pushed your way? You know, like that scene in Fargo where Jerry Lundergard is trying to make that guy pony up extra money for TruCoat on his new car.
My solution is simple. I talk to the dealership before I go in, and say something like this: “Hey, I’m a reasonable and honest guy, and I am going to assume you are the same. Give me your ‘walking-out-the-door, keys-in-pocket’ price; for the taxes, tags, keys, wheels, mats and the little shifty knob…all of it. If it’s good, I’ll buy with no further discussion. If it’s not, I’ll hang up and never call again, nor will I return your calls. Either way, neither one of us should feel as if our time has been wasted, nor as if we’ve been finagled into a bad deal. Now for all the chips: What’s your price?”
Having listened to the debate from Delaware last night, once I stopped banging my head on the wall, I found myself desperately wishing there were some way to demand that kind of direct answer from you political types. One of the things that drives voters run-out-in-the-yard-and-chew-bark-from-the-trees crazy is the constant tap dancing from candidates of all stripes when they face a question they don’t want to answer.
Just tell me! Do you want higher taxes? Do you think government should be bigger or smaller? What sort of foreign policy do you want? Do you believe partisanship or bipartisanship is more effective? Are you generally a liberal, a conservative, a moderate, or something else? Tell me, tell me, tell me.
You should tell me what you believe, and I should decide if that matches my beliefs to a reasonable degree. If it does, I should vote for you. If it doesn’t, I shouldn’t. And we should both be happy with the result. Transparency doesn’t start once a politician is elected. It ought to start the day he or she decides to run. Tell me your honest philosophy and trust that I am smart enough to decide if I like it or not - no dancing around, no shading the truth, no hiding behind semantics.
If politicians want to stop being viewed like shady car dealers, they need to stop acting like them. My actual mileage should not vary. Tell me the truth from day one, and there is a better chance we’ll both be happy on day two.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with