January 6th, 2011
11:45 AM ET

Letters to the President: #717 'Change of the guard'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama is now officially dealing with a Congress in which the opposing party controls the House. And he thought my daily letters were a pain…ha!

Dear Mr. President,

All day long I watched Republicans exulting in their takeover of Congress, and Democrats whining about their loss, and I am sick of the whole mess.

You know why? Because members of each party, in far too large measure, continue to act as if the United States of America is their private sandbox and the voters who elected them are a bunch of shoeless hicks who ought to be grateful they have deemed it worth their valuable time to serve in office. They define the health of the nation not merely by, but as the health of their party.

With more than a third of the electorate now calling itself independent, and the other two-thirds roughly divided between the Democrats and the Republicans, any win by either major party represents a team victory for only 30 percent of us. And the rest are relegated to the “Well, I guess we can only wait and see how badly this side does.”

Both political parties have the same time-worn complaints about each other: They are hypocritical. They promise one thing and deliver another. They are selfish. They are cowards. They are deceitful.

And on any given day, both sides are correct.

The reason voters are so furiously chucking your fellow pols, Democrats and Republicans, out of office and into the river is that no matter how many times we give them a dunking, they just don’t seem to learn. Both parties seem to find virtue in saying compromise is bad, moderation is weakness, and “if we can just hold on while throwing firebombs all over the Capitol, maybe when the whole thing burns to the ground, we’ll have enough folks left to reign supreme!”

That attitude was more than clear in the sea of interviews I watched with lawmakers as the new Congress convened. No wonder polls show that voters generally have no substantial faith in either party to do what is right, no matter how much or how little power that party holds.

I like to think that each time a new Congress convenes both sides of the aisle should celebrate because it represents democracy at work. We, the people, chose this Congress from the field presented to us by the parties. Just as we chose the last one. And real leaders should always openly, and proudly praise those choices, whether their side has the majority or not.

I’m on a bit of a tear this week. Not sure why.

Hope things are going well for you. Bit of a shake up in your staff, huh? Call if you need me for some position. Always happy to help any resident of the Oval Office; after all, it’s not what I want, but what the nation needs that matters most.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Barbara Kollatz

    Mr. Cooper, I believe Obama is doing a good job considering what he walked into. I believe he needs to stick to his guns on the healthcare reform. I for one do not want insurance companies deciding if I can have a proceedure done. I want my doctor to do what is needed done not have to wait and see if the insurance company is going to allow it look what just happened in Arizona 2 people died waiting for a transplant. Also I believe the law should be changed that the congress and senators should only be allowed 1 or 2 terms and out then they would have to pay their own insurance and take medicare and social security when they retire like the rest of us middle class. I believe things would be fixed so much faster if they have to deal with what we have to. Also I believe they should have social security to retire on instead of the american people paying their salaries for ever. we could save so much more money that way. We need our healthcare to be set up like Germany, France and Swedens way of doing thing we need doctors to get paid more money for keeping us healthy. We really need to get healthcare out of the hands of insurance companies altogether. Please pass my concerns on to President Obama. My fear now is we have Beohner in as speaker of the house all I see happening in is grid lock. we won't get anywhere fast enough. My other point I would like to make is these people are elected to represent the people not the large corporations that will pay for their votes. They should not be allowed to take a penney from any big company for their campaigns or anything else. If they do they should be accountable.
    thank you for the chance to voice my opinion.

    January 6, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
  2. Annie Kate

    "They are hypocritical. They promise one thing and deliver another. They are selfish. They are cowards. They are deceitful."

    I thought that was just the attributes of a politician – doesn't matter what party they are. As for doing what is right or helpful I'm always surprised that they manage to do anything at all. Cynical? Yes, but unfortunately none of them really have given me a reason to feel otherwise.

    January 6, 2011 at 10:18 pm |