Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Letter To President Obama

Dear sir,

I want to start by tendering my apologies because I've, very likely, addressed you incorrectly. You see, I'm not very versed in these  issues therefore, I didn't know whether to address you as your excellency or your highness, though I remember vaguely that your highness is reserved for royalty. I even flirted with using your honor before I realized that was used for judges. It was becoming too confusing so I settled for plain, old, dear sir. I hope that's good enough and I, once again, apologise if it's not.

Mr. President, the purpose of my missive is to intimate you of the general feelings of those of us, your loyal subjects, who voted for you, on the way you have performed your job over the past two years. I must warn you, however, that it is a, sometimes, confusing array of feelings ranging from great satisfaction to abject disappointment. I said it's confusing and it really is because I don't understand how it's possible that you can be graded from A+ to F- on the same paper but, apparently, you have been able to achieve that.

Your A+ to B+ graders cite what they call your greatest achievement which is the Health Care Reform law. Incidentally, your F- graders also cite that same law, as well as what they term as your lack of spine. When I ask for elaboration, the A+ to B+ group say that even though the health care law could be better, they are very satisfied with what has been achieved with the way it is. They mention the fact that many more citizens are covered, as well as the fact that insurance companies can no longer drop people when they get sick citing pre-existing condition, as two examples of how great a help that law is to poor Americans.

This class of your supporters, you must be pleased to know, all voted for the Democratic Party during the last elections but I'm sure you must have guessed that there are very few of them. In fact, this class makes up just about 5% of those who supported your election.

The next class is the middle ground takers. This group gives you from B- to C- grades on your performance. Again, the health care reform law was the criterion for the gradation and the major grouse this group has with it is the absence of the public option. Some, but not many, also mention the deal you made with big pharma. When pressed for elaboration, this class always praises the achievements of the health care law but regrets that big pharma got a deal that makes it impossible to import drugs from elsewhere thereby keeping drug prices sky high.
They also lament the absence of the public option which would have provided an alternative to private insurance gouging by serving as competition. They insist that this would have helped check things like this recent rate increases by the insurance companies in the wake of the health care law.

This class of your supporters - and I must confess that I belong in this group - which makes up about 40% of the whole mostly voted in the last election for the Democratic Party even though an indeterminate number of them stayed home. These home stayers were mainly among your C- graders and were very minute in numbers.

The last class I'll talk about in this letter, Mr. President, is the abjectly disappointed group. This group gives you the ultimate failing grade of F-. The members of this group look at your two years in office job performance as a gargantuan failure and these are their reasons. They see you as a spineless excuse for a leader who does not have the guts to stand up for what he believes in. As a matter of fact, some of them even doubt that you believe in anything, at all. When pressed to elaborate, they point, readily, at what they call your uncommon willingness to bend over backwards, in the name of bipartisan compromise, every time there is a policy disagreement with Republicans.

They say you keep doing this, over and over again, even though the Republicans have been consistently showing you, in very clear terms, that they are not willing to compromise with you on anything. This group believes that your lack of courage has been the bane of your administration. They believe that it is the cause of the dissatisfaction of the people with everything you have tried to do, from health care reform to Wall Street reform and everything in-between.
From what I'm able to discern, this group looks at the things you have done from the view point of what could have been achieved, if you had pushed with a little more courage. This view point, clearly, tints their perception of your achievements, or lack thereof, which might explain the grading they afford you.

Needless to say, sir, that this class of your supporters which, sadly, makes up the greater part (about 55%) of those who voted to put you in office, is the one that mostly sat out the November 2nd elections. I used the phrase "mostly sat out" because not all of the people who make up this group did that. A sizeable number of them participated but cast protest votes against you and the democrats. Clearly, sir, you can see, if you didn't know already, why you and your party got the "shellacking" you got in the last elections.

Finally, Mr. President, I am actually writing this letter because, from rumors I've been hearing, it looks like you are about to continue in the same direction that got us here, in the first place. What I'm getting at is the rumor about how you are considering another capitulation to the Republicans concerning the additional tax cuts for the rich. You must not forget that you personally ran against that tax cut during your campaign for president when you stated clearly that you will not extend it. Since becoming president, you have also consistently maintained that you will not budge on that, so, you can imagine what capitulating now can do to your already demoralized followers.

If I can give you some advice, I would say that giving in now -because that's what it will be even though you might want to call it compromising - will be a giant step towards achieving the Republican Party's main aim of making you a one term president. This is because giving in and extending that tax cut will be tantamount to saying to your supporters, "there's no point continuing to hold any beliefs in me:" That will be confirming the distrust your actions this past two years have created. I'm pretty sure that's not the message you want to send, and I continue to spread that message, but I need help from you sir. I and the millions of others who believe in you need your help in order to be able to convince those who doubt.

You can start with that help by taking a very firm stand against the additional tax cuts for the rich which you, yourself, has said will add an additional $700 billion dollars to the deficit over the next decade. I assure you that doing so will go a long way in reassuring those of your followers who have started to doubt you. I hope that you will give this concern of your base very serious thoughts every time you take decisions going forward.

Goodbye, sir, and good luck.
Yours faithfully,

I know it's virtually impossible that you will get to see or read this letter but I believe in miracles.

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