June 25th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Lettes to the President: #887 'Paging Horton'

Reporter's Note: President Obama spoke at a fundraiser the other night, and twirled around a thorny issue like a ballerina. Hopefully he can not slip away from today’s letter so easily.

Dear Mr. President,

Well, I’ve seen the headlines, and I’ve read your comments from that gay and lesbian fundraising event the other night, and I must say I can’t blame folks who attended for being frustrated. To be honest, you’ve sounded less like a president and more like a lawyer on this issue for a while, and this was no exception.

Your views are “evolving?” You believe gay and lesbian couples deserve the same legal rights as anyone else in the country, but you wouldn’t even say the words “gay marriage” at that meeting? Seriously.

I’m not going to engage the pros and cons of gay rights here. This remains a divisive issue for many Americans that you and your fellow politicians have to sort out. Fair enough. But there is something that is distastefully coy about any politician so blatantly scooting around to avoid taking a stand - especially when, excuse me, I just can’t believe that you don’t actually have a formed opinion about whether gay marriage is right or wrong.

You’re not alone in trying to evade the issue, of course, but you political types whine about why the public has such a negative opinion of you, and I’m here to say: This is it. When the moment comes for a politician to be brave, to show some courage, invariably the piano starts plinking and the tap dancing begins. Enough already.

Could it cost you re-election if you say the wrong thing? Sure. But why should anyone vote for any candidate who is unwilling to be honest about such a straightforward issue? Say you are for it. Say you are against it. But don’t start slicing and dicing words like it is Scrabble night at the Bar Association.

I am convinced that the public is fundamentally exhausted by leaders who seem incapable of saying what they believe, taking a stand, or simply answering a question directly. I’ll say to you what I’ll say to anyone who seeks the highest office in our land: You want credit for being courageous? Then, like Horton the elephant, say what you mean and mean what you say. That is what courage is for. Not just speeches.

Other than that, how was the dinner? Hope your weekend is off to a good start.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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