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5 Jan 2011

Dear Mr. President

Since mid 2008, we have had an unease that grew into concern that you do not connect well with your constituents. In contrast, the Tea Party folks do, and this is scary. They connect with how folks feel in their distaste for government. Never mind that they are without a rudder or program, they appeal to many at all levels among people we know.

  • You easily get down to the brass tacks. And you are flexible enough to work with those less able with the brass tacks. Have we seen that side of you?
  • You are most insightful, yet that skill too lies hidden. It could be your strongest suit. You have a great opportunity in your State of the Union message to find words that connect, that resonate with the dissatisfied, that raise hope instead of despair. You just may give all of humanity a badly-needed boost by capturing a deeper insight in a few memorable words.
  • Your predecessor used rhetoric to cover his real intentions, and rhetoric to cover his mistakes. The opposite doesnít work. Being guileless to a fault wonít get it either. You need to connect with sincere empathy. As much as we admire you, we have seen precious little empathy in your speeches or demeanor.
  • Town meetings were one of your strengths in 2008. There is nothing to prevent you from continuing that practice. Listen; provide feedback; and where reasonable and possible, follow through with action. Show you care. Be present at every oneóby video as necessary. Quarterly should be often enough.
  • Inspire with a new path forward and provide just enough detail to show it is plausible and reasonable. Go one better than the Tea Party: Follow through on a give-and-take plan flexible enough to avoid the swamps of unreason.

Political action from the roots is needed; you have the talent and persistence to inspire. And you do an excellent job of reaching heads on your level. But how many hearts do you reach? Isnít it time you returned to your roots and reached out to those of us in the trenches who can help you?

Very Truly Yours

Harry Rosenberg Editor, Roadtopeace.org

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