Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dear President Obama

Note: Italicized portions of this letter were written by my good friend Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Dear President Obama,

I am pretending to write to you because I am a fan of lazy rhetorical devices.

I know, in the wake of last night’s Democratic debacle, there is no shortage of people offering you advice.  Bomb Ebola. Make nice with the GOP. Stay the fuck away from Hillary. 

My advice is a little different: ignore all the advice and listen to your heart. Because in your heart-of-hearts, you’ve always known the right thing to do. And just in case you can't hear you heart right now, here's what it's telling you.
Double down. Go all-in. Go big right now.  Put your cards on the table. Pretend you’re going to fold, and then announce, “Fold? Me? Fuck you. I’ve got 4 aces. I’m all in.”  Look at Ted Cruz’s face when you say it. Laugh manically. Act big and act fast. Triple down. Take a smoke break. And then go the fuck all-in again. 

For 6 years, maybe even for your entire life, you’ve pretended to be someone you’re not.  The time for playing the long game is over. We’re in the home stretch. Take advantage of the end of this year’s election cycle—the next fifty or so days—to immediately try to change the subject, in a big way. Do all the things we know you want to do but haven’t done yet for reasons we don’t quite understand even though we’re damn sure they are good reasons. Dominate the news.

Cancel the Keystone XL. Recognize Palestine. Let the right-wing come unglued. Call off the drone strikes. Host a national teach-in with real climate scientists, on C-Span, and use it to drive a nail in the coffin of the fake, corporate-funded, “climate denial” science. Kick Dick Cheney in the balls. Nominate a diverse set of progressives to fill every judicial vacancy at every level.  Free Chelsea Manning. 

Change the media narrative. Nominate Karl Marx to the Federal Reserve Board. Pick a fight with Rick Perry and/or Jan Brewer, if need be, and be glad that you’re in a high-profile fight with them. Fly down to Guantanamo, unlock the cages, put all the detainees on Air Force One and drop them at Paul Ryan’s house. Force his hand. Make Paul Ryan stand on his front porch and say, “I’m sorry those Guantanamo detainees are not allowed in my house.”  Limit the pay of chief executives to some reasonable ratio to that of their average workers.

Those are my suggestions.
I’m sure people as smart as John Podesta and David Axelrod can think of a couple more.

Be the change you want to see.

Sí, se puede,

Fire Tom Friedman


  1. Just want to point out that, contra your co-author's original post, there is no such place as "the South Valley of Texas." It's called the Rio Grande Valley.

    1. Way to grasp at straws, glasshole. Pretty sure Katrina has more important things to do master the local Texas yahoo terminology. And she would never come to your blog and heckle you because you don't know the difference between Zabar's and Citerella.