November 10th, 2010
12:52 PM ET

Letters to the President: #660 'Where is the voice of reason?'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama will return from his travels abroad early because of a volcano that could interfere with his flight. Of course, he’ll find another eruption brewing back home…

Dear Mr. President,

Are you coming home soon? I certainly hope so. Sometimes when a president leaves the White House, especially right after a tough congressional election, it’s like parents going away after finals have ended at school: Chances are fair that all hell is going to break out in their absence.

In the past couple of elections, voters have made it pretty clear they are not happy with the status quo in DC. They don’t like the idea of either party running away with the agenda, and they really don’t like the take-no-prisoners approach to politics that keeps the war raging in Washington while the rest of the country burns…at least in an economic sense.

And yet too many Democrats and Republicans seem to be doing nothing right now except firing up their flamethrowers. It’s a little mind-blowing. Sure, Republicans are feeling invigorated by their big wins and believe that voters want them to reverse some of your agenda. And, of course, your Democrats are feeling hammered and want to desperately defend the legislative turf they’ve claimed.

But as they mount the battlements for that clash, where is the talk about cooperation? Who is the champion for those millions of voters who are crying out for a civil debate, compromise, and workable solutions? I realize that there are partisans on both sides who truly think every fight should be to the death and who are apparently willing to reduce the whole nation to ashes before accepting any defeat, even in the form of a workable truce with the opposition. But I also realize that there are good people in government who desperately want the carnage to end, the bandages to be applied, and for the warring factions to start finding the terms for peace.

Which brings me back to you. At times like this, no one else has the power and influence of a president to calm the waters. It means speaking as frankly to your friends as you do to your enemies. It means putting the good of the country far above either party’s interests. It means that you would have to broadcast loud and long a single, unmistakable message: We politicians must work together, despite our differences, because too much is at stake in these desperate times. We must create a favorable climate for jobs to come back, for housing prices to recover, and for citizens to once again have faith in their government. Anyone who puts party above those goals, puts America at risk.

I don’t know if that is a message you’ll come home with, and of course no one can vouch for how it will be received. But like I said, I think many millions of Americans are straining to hear a voice of reason from Washington, and can only hear the never-ended rattle of swords.

Call if you get a moment. And don’t worry about the time zones. Chances are I’ll be up anyway.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. J.V.Hodgson

    Hi Tom,
    Seems that we americans love the 4 C's
    1)Conflict. ( Including war with Muslim states and on any political non republican 100 % ideology. )
    2)Compromise none. ( especially to a black President. Make him one term as a priority)
    3) Cooperation none.( In fact this word does not exist in the Capitol hill version of the Websters English dictionary!)
    4) Criticism. Of anything the other side says or does.
    Seems to me that is behaving like god who was always right but nevertheless was crucified for his righteousness.
    QED 2012 is going to be a political blood bath, only the format of which remains for the voters to decide.
    For me we Americans have to put Religion and its bigotry (both sides) and get to grips with money politics , out of politics;respectively and really effectively control the literally billions of less $ on political campaigns /advertising, which we can then spend on things that generate real tax income and economic benefit to Main street, and the economy overall.

    November 11, 2010 at 4:37 am |
  2. Heidi Berg

    So much has gone.Voice of a mouse with hope of elephants in the room and the faith of not getting steped on is like a childs fairy tale waiting to be read.!There is one thing that is and hopefuly always will be , The beleiving in that one that will.Thats what makes America.

    November 11, 2010 at 3:53 am |
  3. Randy Soski

    Hey Andy...Become a hero to the American people...begin asking every day why is it that a man who extols the demise of the US (George Soros) visiting with the President of the US. As a journalist doesn't it even bother you that someone such as this is buddy buddy with our President? Just ask the question...

    November 10, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  4. Kim

    Educational train wreck with 25,000 young Americans disrupted with school buildings closing,mergers and millions in debt needed to operationally run a school system. CMS in Charlotte,NC.End the mandates...The educational policy is not working here and a few arrested last night at the school board meeting in protest. Security reinforced today at the school buildings. Obama needs to re-think his educational map geting to the top and it's looking lost.Open the phone lines for donations and we need to start saving American Public School Buildings across the country. Tax payer direct deposit to the school buildings divided equally. All the schools closed are in minority neighborhoods and it's not right.

    November 10, 2010 at 2:37 pm |