28 March 2011

My letter to Bob Herbert

Dear Mr. Herbert:

I read your last NYT column with a growing sense that you had written a classic of American commentary. You hit each of the key points of our current dilemma squarely and with clear-eyed accuracy, including the strange disconnect whereby the people most affected by the changes in our economic and political outlook over the last 30 or 40 years are mostly unaware of what has happened, still less of what they could be doing to change it.

What disturbs me most is that we had the collective wisdom to elect President Obama, based on his statements that he understood these issues; but now, he seems to have become almost tone deaf. Forget about the mistakes made in rallying the "base" during the first two years; even just starting from the debacle in November, it seems to me to be a tale of one opportunity after another missed. A few months can be an age in American politics, and it's clear to most people of a progressive bent that there has been a huge amount of buyer's remorse and very possibly a real sea change in American political trends since November, yet the president seems to think tacking to the ever-rightward drifting "center" is the lesson learned, and that working out with the Republicans the details of just how much the Democrats will give in to their Great Fiscal Myth will have to be the main thrust of his agenda for the next two years.

Good luck with your efforts to work to change these developments. I hope to follow your career going forward and that you will have great success... because what you're talking about is renewing and preserving the very essential idea of our country, without which we will be just another failed empire headed for long term decline. I hope you somehow have the answer to how the message of your fine column can be really communicated to our president, before it's too late.

Thank you.


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