July 11th, 2011
06:02 PM ET

Letters to the President: #903 'If you can stand the heat . . .'

Reporter's Note: President Obama, top Dems and top Repubs are working on a budget deal to keep the federal government from slamming into the debt ceiling…which, I am told, might hurt.

Dear Mr. President,

I read the headline that you are ready to take “significant heat” from your own party to reach a deal on the debt ceiling, and I must say that is an encouraging sign for several practical reasons.

Related: Obama rejects short-term debt deal, urges compromise

First: It gives you leverage over those in your own party who oppose you. When you risk your own political capital, poll standings, and fund raising over an issue, it is hard for them to make the case that they should not risk anything. This message of “I share your values, but frankly this is too important for anyone to be puppy guarding their pet projects” will sell well to the public and countering will smell of self-interest.

Second: It gives you leverage over those in the other major party…who also oppose you! Basically, suggesting you are ready to take on all the big cuts in a big way is a kind of “put up or shut up” maneuver.

Third: A general who fights from the front of the battle is always more inspiring than one who commands from the rear. The mere fact that you appear ready to face down the guns of discontent at your own political peril will bring some folks to your side, just as surely as some others will run away.

Fourth: Much of the nation is caught in a heat wave right now. It will make folks feel better if they see you sweating, too. Ha!

Some political analysts will not doubt suggest you are taking a very risky tack here. You could alienate independents, infuriate your own party, and make no new friends among the GOP in the process. True enough.

But if you find yourself wavering, think of it this way: A president who is not willing to risk his presidency to solve a big problem for the nation probably does not deserve the office anyway. Have faith. Push on. Good luck on getting a deal that works for - if not all of us - as least most; after all, that is what democracy is about.

Call if you get a moment during the big negotiations, or if you need me to bring over some pizzas or something. Biden does not like mushrooms on his, right?



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Suzanne Werner

    Let's face it.....this budget fiasco is really a clash between the rich and poor. The second American Revolution is afoot!

    July 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm |