Letters to the President: #917 'One mile at a time'
July 25th, 2011
04:56 PM ET

Letters to the President: #917 'One mile at a time'

Reporter's Note: President Obama seems awfully busy lately. Of course, I’ve been busy too, but it doesn’t keep me from staying in touch.

Dear Mr. President,

The Tour de France was absolutely spectacular this year. Full of drama, lead changes, terrifying crashes, and heroic comebacks. I suppose you did not get to see much of it - what with the country falling apart and everything. That’s a shame, on both accounts. The breathtaking energy and competitiveness of these guys - going out day after day, covering thousands of miles knowing that any given one of them may wind up with nothing for all his effort and the race may ultimately be decided by seconds - well, it’s inspiring.

The Tour has become one of my favorite summer pastimes. The other is making a point, every time I see Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, of shouting, “You’re a wizard, Harry!” He always scowls and storms away. I’m not sure he is aware of the whole Harry Potter phenomenon, but then again, maybe he’s just heard that crack a lot. (Note: He does bear a passing resemblance to a much, much older Draco Malfoy, no?)

Speaking of good sports: You, House Speaker John Boehner, and the aforementioned Senate Majority Leader Reid looked like the unhappiest team I’ve seen in some time in that latest photo op from your debt talks. Seriously, I’ve seen trios facing parole board who looked happier. And let me tell you, the absence of ties did not make it look anymore relaxed. I think it actually made it worse, like a photo of a clearly angry kid wearing a birthday party hat.

And you know what I think the problem is? Unlike the guys on the Tour, you’re allowing yourselves to get too caught up in the ultimate goal…and you’re not embracing the process. See, the Tour is so long, that even the best riders must focus on just making it through each day. They can imagine a triumphant ride through the streets of Paris, but they’ll never enjoy that moment unless they embrace with their hearts and souls the brutal, exhausting, crushing rides through the Pyrenees and the Alps.

This, I think, is what you and your unhappy fellow campers need to do. Too much time spent fretting over the “result” will produce only deeper divisions and despair. So when you begin the next round of negotiations ask everyone in the room to simply focus on this one day, on the next item on the agenda and try merely to produce progress. That’s the way you grind down the miles and ultimately reach the end of even a very long, painful journey.

Here’s something else that might help: Call me! Seems like you’re working too hard and I’ll bet you could use a nice, relaxing chat. If nothing else I can fill you in on the Tour. Congrats to Cadel Evans, and the Schleck brothers too. What great riders. And the American teams were no slouches either! Vive Le Tour!


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1
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