December 7th, 2010
10:25 AM ET

Letters to the President #687: 'The need for compromise'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/12/06/obama.taxes.debates/c1main.obama.pool.jpg width=300 height=169]Tom Foreman | BIO

AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama and his fellow Dems are wrangling with the Republicans over what is going to happen to the Bush tax cuts. I’m wrangling over another letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

As I write this, I have a fire in the fireplace (which is a better place for it than say, on the sofa,) we just finished a fabulous pasta and shrimp dinner cooked by our younger daughter, and I’m listening to Bob Dylan singing “Here Comes Santa Claus.” You don’t have to tell me that this is a great country. I know.

Are you in the Christmas spirit yet? It is coming to our house rather languidly this year. Not sure why. We have not raced to put our decorations up, and we’ve not bought a tree yet. (Yes, we are still “real” tree people. I suppose one day we’ll find an artificial one only makes sense, but for now we want one that smells like pine on its own and doesn’t need to be brought down from the attic and dusted.) I suppose our rather half-hearted holiday heading could have something to do with the economy. We know enough friends and family members who are struggling that it just seems a little untoward to be too eager to cut loose with the ho, ho ho’s.

On the other hand, when times are tough there is a good argument to be made for enjoying what you have; celebrating the holidays with as much vigor as you can muster and taking solace in the closeness of friends and family.

I’ve been following the steady debate over what to do with the Bush tax cuts and it looks as if you are headed for a deal that will extend them for everyone. Some of your fellow Democrats wanted a different approach and will no doubt grouse about any compromise, and I suppose you’re not thrilled about making a deal either.

But sometimes deals have to be made. That’s just the way life works. I know a lot of you folks in the political game have grown very “compromise averse” in recent years; equating a deal for the common good with a loss for their side. (Mind you, I’m not passing judgment on this particular issue. Maybe this compromise is good, maybe it’s bad, you all have to decide that.)

But compromise often represents the best success that was possible under the circumstances. And I don’t think I’m going way out on a limb to say that a lot of Americans would like to recover some sense that Washington is capable of at least a little success; maybe imperfect, maybe not precisely what any one group wants, but something that might help us all get back to feeling like we all can work together at least now and then.

Call if you get a moment. I’ll be working in New York a bit this week, but my cell is always close.



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Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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