November 15th, 2010
12:51 PM ET

Letters to the President: #665 'Calling all lame ducks'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: I don’t know what President Obama expects from the lame duck Congress. I do know he can expect a letter from me every day.

Dear Mr. President,

What a lovely autumn weekend we enjoyed! I spent many long hours in the yard, raking leaves with my younger daughter, power washing the patio (A power washer! Now there is a tool to make a guy feel like a guy! If I had the time, I’d power wash the whole town) and cleaning various things out of the garage including a wide assortment of old pet cages.

I told my wife that we should put them down at the curb with a sign saying, “Things do not always turn out as expected. Please help yourself to any of these you want and bring your own little future sadness into your house.” She said I should put them into the attic instead. (Btw, I love pets, but aside from parrots, they all die far too soon.)

Anyway, it was a wildly productive and lovely two days. Had dinner with some old friends who came by. Went on a nice run with the same daughter who joined in the yard work. Enjoyed a long ride running errands with my wife, and looked at Jupiter in the night sky. You should have come over to the house. It would have done you good.

But now we are back at work, and the lame duck session of Congress has begun. In case you don’t know, “lame duck” is a term that is believed to have originated among stockbrokers in London in the 18th century. It allegedly referred to guys who wound up in some kind of debt trouble and therefore were left staggering around with the ungainly lurch of a duck with a broken leg.

Now, of course, it just means an office holder who is on his way out either because of a lost election, or term limits, or retirement, or resignation. Hence, a lame duck Congress is one that is imagined to be pretty much devoid of power or effectiveness. I’m not really sure why that is though. Seems to me, being freed of the concern over re-election could also have the opposite effect: It could give members of Congress great courage. And without the burden of fundraising and campaigning on their plates, they could fully dedicate themselves to not only crafting effective and meaningful legislation, but also shepherding it through to final approval.

Just a thought. I’ve never been duck hunting, have you? I know some people are great fans of it, but it seems unnecessarily cold and wet for my tastes. Call if you get a moment.


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Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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