January 7th, 2011
11:45 AM ET

Letters to the President: #718 'Hey, Chief!'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama has selected a new Chief of Staff. I’d do the same, but of course I’d have to get a staff first. Instead I’ll just post today’s letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

Congratulations on your new Chief of Staff! Went with a Daley, did you? I suppose that’s a safe bet in Chicago politics, but we’ll see how it flies here in D.C. To borrow a basketball analogy: It seems pretty clear that you didn’t pick him for his strong play on the left side of the court, but rather for his ability to pound it out in the paint. The very thing your liberal-leaning friends have feared now seems assured - your White House is moving to Middlesville.

I imagine that is something you’d rather not say openly, because there is no need to make them any unhappier. A lot of them had high hopes that you and your party (when it controlled both houses of Congress…doesn’t that seem like a long time ago now?) would bring sweeping liberal reforms. And that’s not exactly what you gave them despite how much the righties think so.

So they are no doubt a tad dismayed with this choice. William Daley, based on his track record, is the kind of guy who is all about brokering those moderate, middle deals. He can patch up some of your scrapes and bruises with the business community. He can do the backroom cajoling and arm-twisting it will take to fashion bipartisan coalitions. He can engineer the legislative wins you’ll need if you want to have anything to show for your efforts in the next couple of years. And again, he will almost certainly lead your policies decidedly away from the left.

This sort of thing infuriates the faithful in both parties. Many staunch Republicans despise the idea of moderates carrying their banner into the battle for the Oval Office. So do a lot of true-blue Democrats.

But with this pick you seem to have accepted one of the cardinal rules of elections. Presidential candidates can’t win the nomination without the base; but sitting presidents…most of the time…can’t win re-election without the middle.

Normally I ask you to give me a call if you can, but you might want Daley to give me a buzz. Certainly he’ll want to hear my ideas, and it’s always a good idea to get the new guy right to work so he doesn’t start slacking on you. Ha!


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Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. J.V.Hodgson

    Disappointed Tom with the whole tenor of this letter as it simply implies the only person that has to "Compromise move to the centre" is the President and Democrats.
    I think it is fair to say that if we are to avoid the polarisation of the past two years we need some movement towards the centre ( whatever that is) from Republicans as well difficult yes as the tea party has a strong very right wing, right of centre agenda.
    I think both parties can have ideologies, but no one is correct all the time.
    The time now is for them ALL POLITICIANS, DEMS, GOP, INDEPENDENTS, TEA PARTIERS, to govern on behalf of the nation as a whole, and put thier very right or very left views on hold unless for the benefit of all the people.

    January 8, 2011 at 12:49 am |
  2. David Wheeler

    "...So do a lot of true-blue Democrats. ..." I think the last election along with the surveys that showed all Americans, including the true-blue Democrates were much more conservative than you thought.

    Maybe statements like this will convince more of the true-blue that Democrates have left them behind and it's time to change parties.

    As an aside, even the most recent census seems to indicate that many true-blue Americans have had it with the left Liberals and are moving out of the states that are the most Liberal.

    January 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm |