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July 31st, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #923 'Limiting the damage'

Reporter's Note: The struggle to deal with the debt crisis continues, like a standoff at a bank robbery. Let’s hope it ends better.

Dear Mr. President,

I’m sure that many in your circle are asking themselves this weekend, “What do you do with people who just won’t play the game; who, if they can’t win, will go into the middle of the court, sit down and refuse to let anyone else play?” After all, isn’t that effectively what some of the tea partiers did over in the House of Representatives? It seems as if they managed to hog-tie pretty much the entire DC crew.

It’s not my place to blame them. They were elected, as you were, by people who wanted Washington to change, and, by golly, they are trying to make it happen. The fact that the changes they have in mind run sharply counter to what others want, or to what some people feel are the best interests of the nation, does not seem to be their concern.

Still, as a matter of pure tactics, I’ve been trying to figure out what strategy might be used to keep them from hijacking the process.

Sometimes in games of chess (which you know I love!) your opponent maneuvers a powerful piece into a strong position, some bishop or rook starts dominating the middle of the board. The threat can indeed be so great that it becomes difficult to move pieces anywhere without risking calamity. And if your opponent is intent on simply holding that advantage until you agree to a devastating sacrifice, it can lead to a draw at best…or a humiliating defeat at worst.

But here is the thing: You don’t always have to capture the offending piece. Sometimes you can simply neutralize it. You can cage it in with pawns, or slowly strangle its avenues of influence. Then, even though it is still on the board, you can maneuver around it and proceed with your attack.

So again, without taking sides, I’m just wondering if there is a similar move to be considered by a combined front of Democrats and Republicans here, a maneuver that essentially isolates anyone who is perceived as being too obstructionist. Remember: While there is great public anger over government in general, there is also widespread support for dealing with this urgent problem of the debt ceiling now. And the latter sentiment is more intense at this moment. I realize that it is hard to bring anyone together on anything right now, but if you could just get agreement on the idea that everyone must at least be trying…that seems as if it might be a step in the proper direction.

Regards,
Tom

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
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Perk

    We will have our Textiles back in the USA ! Look at the tag,does it say Made In The USA ? If not,why buy it and it's time to take care of this country and we'll pay our debt you're buying China ! Walmart ships in from where ? How many products say Made In The USA ?

    August 2, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  2. Perk

    Stop waiting on the Govt. to solve this economic jam ! People are unemployed,in the streets over it and out of work. "Dancing In The Streets".....call the mayors in the USA and get the permits ! Objective: Fund raiser for the unemployed and donations for food to feed families that need some support through this dog shoot economic tough luck ,no jobs economy. Obama get off the telephone and hit the streets across America ! "Jobs Baby Jobs !" It's a Motown Shag Down Fund Raiser ! Fire it up and hurry up Obama !

    August 2, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  3. Gerber

    It is time for someone to look at the cost (salaries and perks) of congress...how come everything gets cut, except for congress...should they not pay for healthcare and pensions like everyone?...some candidates are traveling and still reciving salaries and expenses from government...is Michelle Bachman out of payroll since she is campaigning for herself?...keeping them honest is also to cut their traveling expenses, office budget etc.

    August 2, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  4. Perk

    "The Merry Go Round Broke Down"....fix it ! Now what ? We all play the Looney Tunes Theme song and dance the Charleston like they did in the great Depression or what ? Where are our textile manufactures in USA ? This economic deal doesn't sound like a real solution. When do we the people see the budget and the numbers in this deal ? They're in hopes people will go back to their lives and forget all this ? What's in this economic deal ?
    Got your Coquette and Flapper dress ? Does the manufacture tag say made in the USA ? "It takes A lot to laugh,It takes a train to cry." Bob Dylan ! US citizens ring economic fire alarm and Washington had a fire drill ? "Dancing In The Streets".....Do the Josephine Baker De ja Vu ! No default and no Great Depression but that depends on who you're talking to unemployed.

    August 1, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  5. Perk

    Sales ticket for consumers needs to say Made In The USA ! Obama needs to be placed on a 90 day notice and if improvements on the implementation of economic policy are not satisfactory then dismissed. Where are the jobs ? This economic deal is far from acceptable and the unemployment % is horrible ! Good Luck Obama and we wish you success in a major turn around for positive changes made.

    August 1, 2011 at 8:39 pm |