An open letter to the president:
As a once-loyal supporter, I had very high hopes. It is early in your term to write an accurate political obituary, but the lofty winds of “change we can believe in” and the mantra of “responsibility” have given way to the down drafts of business as usual, or “real-politic.” Admittedly, you faced a plethora of major problems, any one of which could have derailed the best of political efforts.
Early on I read that your hard-wired desire for conciliation and consensus building served you well at Harvard. Unfortunately our gifts can also be our Achilles’ heel.
Any momentum on meaningful health care reform seems now lost and terribly confused. The fruitless wars in the Middle East and your continued use of ill-tempered mercenaries to augment United States troops are proving costly and fatal. Backing away from reasoned support for broad ethical investigations into who authorized and who carried out acts of torture denigrating our good name is a slap in the face to all Nuremburg stood for. Minimal justice for the Palestinians in a too-long-occupied land seems a growing impossibility. And serious deficit reduction will involve sacrifice from all of us — not just reversing Bush’s tax cuts on the wealthy.
Glowing rhetorical skill is no substitute for the “firm hand” of Lyndon B. Johnson. I genuinely admire your ascent to the presidency. Many of us now hope that our initial support will be matched by future winds that finally bring to politics as usual a real “change that we can believe in.”
I wish you God’s speed in that renewed effort.