David Reynolds | Dear Mr. President

Welcome back to work. I’ve heard from Martha. She says that life is much quieter on her vineyard since you left. I have also heard that you have a big speech tonight. More about that later. But first, I wish to thank you for your big accomplishments so far during your first term.

Which, of course, brings me to your second term. I’m worried. Slow down or you will never make it. Races often go to the tortoise rather than the hare. Ask any member of Congress. They know how to move at a snail’s pace. Besides, you’re not in Chicago anymore. The rest of the nation has fewer voting cemeteries than your home town.

But I know you are not worried. A good salesman never is. And you are the best, even better than Bill Clinton or Ron Reagan. You are no Willie Loman. You have much more to offer than a smile and a handshake. In fact, with enough subsidies you could sell me a Government Motors car.

Back to your accomplishments. Let’s start by correcting a serious shortcoming I had whenever I voted. I tended to believe whatever candidates said they would do if elected. No more. Comparing your 2008 words with your 2009 deeds has cured me of being so gullible. Chalk it up to my youth.

I especially wish to thank you for bringing back to life a dead elephant. It took George W. Bush his entire second term, four full years, to destroy the Republican Party. You brought life to the elephant in less than eight months. Fantastic! Of course, “W” made the mistake of trying to make an elephant into a donkey. Voters always want the real thing; no Walmart colas for them.

And how were you able to rescue the Ford Motor Company? Ford was on the ropes. But your bailouts to GM and Chrysler sure helped. So did making all those green cars. Henry Ford, rest his soul, tried to make them all black. But he was not a man of change. You are. You know when to hold them and when to fold them. Congratulations.

Speaking of cars, what you did to Lexington’s Woody Chevrolet was so characteristic. It was something his competitors have been trying to do for 76 years. You closed him down! This dealer was great to its customers. They came even though there was no sign out front. I heard from my DC sources that you did not care for Woody’s capitalistic idea that one is entitled to earn a decent profit on a sold vehicle. So it was placed on your hit list. That will teach the few remaining GM dealers. They will think twice before treating customers like family.

And I like your cap and tax idea. I believe you call it Cap & Trade. Who else would have thought of using the environment as a way to raise taxes? The tree huggers love it. But wait ‘til they get home — and open their utility bills. Another thing on cap and tax, I had my doubts if you were serious about global warming. Now I know better.

Back in college my econ prof was a big Keynesian guy. He said that government spending is necessary to get us out of any down business cycle. I had my doubts. But no more. You taught me otherwise. Most of the $787 billion stimulus money has not been spent. Still the economy is recovering. I’m going to write my professor.

Another money item. When I worked in that big old building next door to where you now work, I did budgets. We dealt with millions and billions of dollars. None of us heard of trillions. Thanks for the new word.

As you know, down here in Virginia and up in New Jersey there are two important elections in just 55 days. Bragging rights are at stake. So my part-time governor has given more than five million bucks to my friend. He is thankful for the dough. However, I’m uncomfortable with the Chicago style political string that was attached. The dollars are being spent dealing with a thesis my friend’s opponent once wrote for Pat Robertson’s university, Regent. I’m sure you have read another thesis, the one your wife wrote while at another university, Princeton. Both were written for their audience. So let’s call this whole thing off. Fair enough?

Before I forget allow me to mention your greatest accomplishment — one after you leave office. It concerns my favorite law, “The Law of Unintended Results.” I believe it will one day be know as “The Obama Law.”

Finally, back to your health care speech tonight. I don’t have an advance copy, but it is not too hard to figure its direction. Your plan started with cost containment, moved on to health insurance reform, did a little doctor bashing and now it is time for a moral imperative sales pitch. Why not send up a single, short bill to Congress, one that is readable, and one that incrementally addresses a problem that is too large, too complex and too scary for most Americans? Too simple? That’s what I thought.

 

– Column by David Reynolds



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