Reporter's Note: Many in the DC political crowd are spending this weekend grinding away on some kind of debt deal, with no guarantee that it will come through. So I am grinding away on yet another letter to the White House.
Dear Mr. President,
Can’t speak for you, but I’m feeling a bit whipped this weekend. Between the debt ceiling wrangling, being in New York most of the week, and all the regular things that keep us busy in this business, I could use a vacation. Unlike some of my media pals, I really don’t become energized covering fights such as the one we’re watching in DC. I often find them needlessly destructive, and I worry about the country.
And right now what worries me most, beyond the nuts and bolts of this mess, is the confidence factor. I think we’ve taken a huge, damaging shot to our national psyche, no matter how we work things out. (Well, I guess if somehow we found a magical solution that ended the debt, restored the world’s confidence, generated 10 or 20 million jobs, and brought back McRibs, we might recover pretty fast, but otherwise…)
Many of our worst fears about the weakness and inabilities of our leaders have been confirmed. Our faith that things will come out okay in the end has been badly rattled. And all of this has happened at a time when many Americans were already awfully concerned.
Confidence is a strange thing. When everything is going right, you take it for granted. But when things are going wrong, it can be nearly impossible to convince yourself that better days are on the way. Emmy Lou Harris has a great line in a song called Red Dirt Girl: “One thing they don’t tell you about the blues, when you’ve got ‘em, you keep on falling ‘cause there ain’t no bottom.”
I’m afraid a lot of Americans feel that way right now. They need encouragement. They need to see a few things going right. They need a reason to be confident that we’ll crawl out of this hole somehow. Here’s hoping you and the Capitol Hill crowd can somehow give us what we need before too many more days fall away.
Call if you can. I’ll be on the train back to DC most of the morning, but then I’m around if you want to grab a burger or something.
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