Tom Foreman | BIO
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.
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