I tried to warn you about the media in my last letter and I hope the experience of seeing Sean Hannity feeding George Shortandstupidus his script during the debate got the message across. You're being played and a wimp and that bullshit notion -- introduced by your opponents and fomented with the profit-lusty collusion of the media -- is starting to take root.
In the same way John Kerry (who actually got his ass shot at while his opponent was AWOL and drunk) was played as a wimp last time, and Gore was played as a liar, the time before that. It's offensive and disgusting, but please stop acting offended. This is how elections are rigged in this country and you need to address that fact head-on in a speech. You need to show voters that there's some heat beneath the cool exterior -- not the heat of political panic, but legitimate moral outrage.
The media has finally started to recognize that Hillary has nothing to offer but the politics of personal destruction. Now is the moment that requires you to re-emphasize your desire to remove yourself from this disastrous pattern.
Please (I beg of you) deliver a major address in which you:
1. Start by pledging to refuse to do any more negative campaigning. Any criticism of your opponents will involve their stance on significant issues, period. Apologize to Hillary for the comments about Annie Oakley -- show honest contrition -- praise her dedication, and implore her to turn away from the attacks she sees as her only path to victory. This goes for you and your staff. Any staffer who engages in character assassination will be fired.
2. Praise John McCain as a man of honor and ask him to agree that the campaign he wages -- including his staff -- will be based on a discussion of the issues that affect voters.
3. Emphasize that you're taking this measure because the fate of the country depends on abandoning the old politics of antagonism and distortion that the media feeds on. More than 80 percent of Americans feel the country is headed in the wrong direction. More than 4000 soldiers have died in Iraq. The economy is faltering. People are losing their homes and jobs. The Vice President has been busy discussing methods of torture in the White House. The country is in moral ruin. We must heal ourselves.
4. Tell the voters that you know the pundits will tag this pledge as a political tactic. Remind voters that it is the pundits' job to do so. They have become deeply invested in this cynical brand of politics, which solves nothing but their rating woes. It is a corruption of our democracy, and an abandonment of the hope for change that led you into politics.
5. Pledge to speak in detail, in the coming days, about a plan to end the war in Iraq, to address the crises of climate change and health care, to stimulate a green economy, and to rebuild the public trust in Washington.
Better to lose on your own terms than to win as someone you're not.