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December 21st, 2011
09:02 PM ET

Letters to the President #1066: 'Another impasse'

Reporter's Note: Republicans and Democrats in Congress have once again entered a standoff over pending legislation. I like to think I am fairly persistent in my letter writing, but I’ve got nothing on that crew…

Dear Mr. President,

How is this possible? How can it be that every couple of months the two parties manage to paint themselves into a corner on Capitol Hill from which neither one seems able to emerge?

I know that you and the Dems are paying a lot of the blame for this one at the feet of the Republicans, and there seems to be some evidence supporting the notion that they are driving this particular crisis more than your party. That said, as the old saying goes, it takes two to tango and without a doubt both parties have been steadily prodding at each other for some time.

Now, I fully understand that people on both sides of the aisle say they are merely doing what their constituents want, and I don’t doubt that it’s true. But here is the weird part: Somehow, amid all this representative democracy run amok, it feels oddly as if no one is really doing what anyone really wants. Very little is getting solidly passed, and about the same can be said about what is being defeated. Everything is a war of attrition. It’s like watching bout after bout of boxing with every fight coming down to a draw, or such a controversial split decision, it seems like we never have a genuine winner.

Some people dislike Congress for leaning to the left, some for leaning to the right; but I suspect most voters dislike Congress primarily because it is so horrifyingly incapable of doing anything with conviction.

How one breaks an impasse like this, I can’t really say. All I know is that unless someone figures out how to get things moving one way or the other, we could be in for a long, frozen season.

Did you notice, btw, that this is the first day of winter?

Regards,
Tom

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