Memo to: President Obama
Seriously, gentlemen, enough. We get it. You're all men of the highest principles, motivated solely by what is best for the American people. Of course you are. Such things as ego, political power, ambition, the intoxicating sound of your own voice, legacies, and other similarly selfish motivations never enter your minds or guide your behavior. How lucky America is to have you as our leaders!
There, it's been said. You can all rest assured that your greatness is known and acknowledged. Now can you PLEASE stop talking about each other and start talking to each other and do your jobs? Here's a way to start:
Mr. President: Show some real leadership, reach out to Congress and figure out a way to get a budget passed. Everyone knows you do not like to "schmooze" -- especially with Members of Congress -- but too bad. That's a big and important part of the job you asked us to give you. Suck it up and do it.
Mr. Speaker: It's time to get your members to abandon insane behavior -- that is, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result -- and get them to understand there was an election, the Republican candidate for president lost, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is currently the law of the land and the entire government cannot be held hostage to sore losers. Even if it means risking your Speakership (Heaven forbid, of course), you need to move a clean CR to the floor. Today. You can and you should. There is always the possibility that you will benefit politically by doing so. Imagine that!
Senator Reid: it would not kill you to be less strident. "Nyet" is not a word American political leaders should use. Your predecessors found a way to be faithful to both their parties and to the larger best interests of the country as a whole. You can, too.
Senator Cruz: Dr. Seuss? Really? Flawed though the ACA may be, it is not the end of the world. Work hard to find the votes to "fix it," if you wish, but do not make innocent people's lives worse by keeping the government shut down. Don't worry, you can still run for president even if the ACA remains the law of the land. Really.
Gentlemen: there are real people being hurt by your silly game of chicken. Middle class people. The very people you are supposed to help. Do the right thing.
Mark D. Weinberg, a corporate communications consultant and executive speechwriter, served as Special Assistant to the President and Assistant Press Secretary in the Reagan White House.