December 11th, 2010
10:30 AM ET

Letters to the President: #691 'Hanging tough against the left wing'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama was joined by former president Clinton as he argued for his tax legislation. I, on the other hand, write my letters to the White House on my own.

Dear Mr. President,

Quite a week, wasn’t it? All that hand wringing and chest beating by the liberal wing of your party was a sight to see.

I understand why they feel put upon. Just scant months ago, they clearly thought that they had the political wind in their sails and after many, many years of waiting they were embarking on a great journey with you as their skipper. When they chanted “Yes, we can” you could hear the echoes that followed, “change the way the government operates, rid ourselves of those maddening Republicans, slap the conservatives back into their corner, and create the great liberal society for which we have longed.”

Now they are becalmed; the rigging of their ship in tatters, and there you go off on the lifeboat with the help of Captain Bill Clinton. That would make anyone crazy.

But from a purely tactical point of view, I think you have been right to largely ignore their rants. If their position is so strong in the American populace, where was it when you were waging your legislative battles? Sure, they lined their folks up behind you, but that never brought enough votes or influence your way to clinch the deal. It always took the moderates and the independents to get things done.

Of course, the liberal wing can argue that if they weren’t in your camp, you would have fallen short of the support you needed as well. Fair enough. But the midterm election seemed to make it abundantly clear that leaning to the left was hurting your party, and would hurt even more if you kept it up. And yet despite that, I’ve heard many in the liberal camp scream that the real issue is that you did not lean far enough to their side.

Maybe. In the same sense that you could say the guy who skids on ice should drive faster to get past the danger.

Anyway, I’m sure the hard core Dems are going to sting for a while and you’re going to hear about their unhappiness. But remember, many Democrats who were furious over your defeat of Hillary Clinton also vowed to work against your ultimate election. And guess who made it to the Oval Office anyway?

Is your weekend going well? I plan to take a nice four-mile run today, put up the Christmas tree (I know, we’re a little late by some standards,) finally put up the lights outside, and go to the office Christmas party. If you have time you can come along as my guest, but give me a buzz by mid afternoon if you want to go.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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