Reporter's Note: President Obama continues his swing through Virginia and North Carolina. I continue writing letters to the White House.
Dear Mr. President,
I’ve been studying a map of the country and comparing it to your travel schedule since mid-August, (Oh yes, I’m nothing but fun at a party!) and I’ve noticed something that is…well, not unexpected, but a bit disconcerting anyway.
Almost every one of your domestic journeys in that period has been to states that you won in the last presidential race. The blue states. In red states? The odds of seeing you in person seem about equal to the chances of spotting Big Foot. You made one trip to Texas, but that’s nothing compared to all the visits you paid to blue states…and in particular to blue states that you flipped from Republican to Democratic in 2008. No wonder the Republicans are accusing you of campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime!
Now, granted, every president does some version of this. They use the office to pull of a little political sleight of hand; “Aw shucks, I’m just out here promoting my policies, trying to help out all Americans, and whoops! Hey, look, I just got re-elected!”
So why is it any more of an issue with you than it is with any of them? I guess it is not, if your goal is to be just like any other president. But from the beginning, you’ve always sold the idea that you are supposed to be different; a uniter, a post-partisan, a Chief Executive for everyone, including those who did not support you.
On those promises alone, you probably need to be spending more time in the red states; not because it will win any more votes for you there (although it might) but rather because it is what you promised, and because…even in terms of strategy…it is the right thing to do. More trips to the red states would be a way of saying, especially to all those Independent, middle voters whom you need, “I meant what I said about uniting this country, and I still believe.”
Sure, maybe the Congressional Republicans have refused to play along with you, but a whole lot of voters in red states may be a whole lot more willing to listen to and maybe support you, but you’re going to have to show that you have as much faith in them…as they had in you last time around.
Anyway, safe travels. Call if you can.
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