Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: Despite roaring world events, the tension continues in a variety of states where budget issues have pitted unions against elected officials in a not too friendly manner - unlike my letters to the White House, which are always friendly.
Dear Mr. President,
When I play tennis, I tend to push the pace. A lot. My serves come in rapid succession, and after each point I sprint to the line to serve again, especially if it is really hot out. See, I’m not that good at the game, but I have a lot of natural stamina; so even if I lose a lot of points early in the match, I can make them up later when my opponent grows tired from the relentless speed.
It is a legitimate and effective way to win, and many times I’ve sent a playing partner home shaking his head over how he lost a once massive lead. But in a classic, sportsmanlike sense, I can see how some might see this as, if not “dirty,” at least a “questionable” tactic.
And that’s pretty much how I think a lot of citizens see the antics of those lawmakers who have fled their own states and gone into hiding like rabbits rather than face a losing vote. They are breaking no rules. And yet, it brings a whole new intensity to that “Party of No” label you have so happily tagged onto the Republicans when they would not cooperate with your plans.
When elected officials, Democrat or Republican, start relying so heavily on what are essentially parliamentary tricks to stave off defeat, I think it troubles an awful lot of Americans - left, right, and center. It seems immature, and a kind of thwarting of elected government itself. Again, I’m not just laying this at the doorstep of the Dems in Wisconsin. We’ve seen plenty of this kind of behavior on both sides of the aisle.
Like sex and bribery scandals though, I think such practices deepen the public mistrust of all you political types, whether your side benefits or not from the maneuver. So as the battles rattle on over budgets, and unions, and governors and the like, it is right for you and your team to fight as hard as you can to win. But for pols of all stripes, I think it is also worth scrutinizing your tactics, to see what you might be losing along the way.
Just a few thoughts for a Saturday. I’ll be out running a lot this weekend, so if you try to call and can’t reach me, just leave a message.
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