Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,

You might remember me. I was the radio guy who interviewed you all those years ago when you were running for Illinois' junior senate seat and you were lighting up the world with your star presence. I compared the media coverage of you to Jesus' walking on water and raising the dead. Remember me now? If not, maybe this will shake up your memory: I asked you some stock questions about issues of the day and then as a final question asked you which cookie you would prefer: sugar, peanut butter or chocolate chip. You chose the chocolate chip and I congratulated you on your manly choice. Remember me now?

If not, it's no big deal. You went on to win the senate seat, capture the nation's imagination and then vaulted almost instantaneously into the Presidency. I remained at my position as a talk show host at both AM1050WLIP & AM1220WKRS, now as an 8-noon weekday host. I'm happy at what I do for a living, and hope you are, too.

But enough of the small talk.

You've had a pretty tough row to hoe since taking the oath of office. The economy tanked, and it seems nothing we do will resurrect it. There are proposals and counter proposals in Washington, and it seems everything you put on the table to encourage job growth is immediately attacked by your enemies. And your enemies are legion, many of them in your own party who expected you to lead from a far-left position and when you didn't they expressed disappointment and outrage. Too bad for them. They are nattering nabobs, you are the President. Best keep them at arm's length. You tried to placate them once and look what it got you. Everybody hated you, most of all those you were trying so hard to please.

I'm here to talk to you about jobs, and the economy. I took a ride to Milwaukee with my best buddy a couple of days ago on 1-94. The new construction, IMHO, is an absolute nightmare. A ganglion cyst of highways, tunnels and bridges that are as confusing as the Gordian Knot and twice as difficult to navigate. Milwaukee didn't need a new configuration for its highways; it needed a face lift, to be sure, but not a redo. But Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett and Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle were early and vociferous supporters of your presidential bid so when monies became available you tossed a cool $3 billion their way and they, like all good politicians, spent it all. A lot of road construction people were to put to work and that's a good thing, but now you're talking about another jolt of financial juice for infrastructure to put people back to work. I like the idea of creating jobs but I have to agree with my pal (he's a cop, and a damned good one) when he stated that all you'd be doing would be keeping the same people working at creating more useless projects like the one in Milwaukee. I mean, if you're in the roads and bridges business these have been halcyon days, but it's the rest of us out there who really need the help, Mr. President. Who is that, you ask? It's the men and women who sling hash for a living, or set up shots and beers behind the bar and depend on tips to make ends meet. The guys who crawl under the hood of your car and get it running in tip-top condition so it doesn't break down in the middle of a winter storm while you're on your way to work. The clerk at the retail store who helps your wife find a new outfit. The janitor polishing the floors in the public buildings, or the corporate offices or the corner saloon. The men and women driving the buses, or cabs, or ten wheelers or semis and who keep the country moving and get the goods to market. The guys who mow the lawns and dig the ditches and patch the roofs. The Wal-Mart greeters and yes, even the men and women who put in their time behind the microphone at community radio stations and inform listeners about local issues and relate storm news and traffic news and what's going on at the local museum or library.

You know, regular people.

They used to refer to us as "Joe and Jane Six-Pack," a tag some bristled at but I thought was complimentary. It meant you worked for a living, and weren't afraid to get your hands dirty and at the end of a long day you parked your keister on a stool at the corner saloon and had a few with your pals and workmates to take the edge off a rough day and talked the Bears and Packers and Cubs and Sox and politics and argued and laughed and sometimes even got into the occasional fist fight over some inane issue. You know, straight-up working folks.

Mr. President, WE need the jobs, and we're not going to get them by laying down more unneeded roads or bridges to nowhere. That will only  put more money into the pockets of those who have already been banking big bucks with current stimulus programs. It won't find its way to our pockets, and that's the point. WE need the jobs, and we need them now, or you may just see full-blown unrest on the streets that will make this Occupy Wall Street look like the limp-wristed protest that it really is. The streets very well may descend into uber-violent 1968 fists-flying anarchy with tear gas and truncheons and guns: real world hanging in the balance stuff, and the protesters would not be "dirty, filthy hippies," but the shattered and disenfranchised middle class. You're from Chicago, ask around, there are a few old dogs who'll relate to you how damned unpleasant all of that really was. Believe me, you don't want a reprise of that, especially under your watch.

So what do you do? It's easy, Mr.President: NOTHING. That's right, you do zero, zilch, nada, niente, zip. You have a lovely wife and two beautiful daughters. Take a long, leisurely tour around your country and visit the places where people like my listeners and I live. And please don't turn these sojourns into media-hyped public relations stunts. Travel on the QT. Shake hands with us. Break bread with us. Listen to us, really listen to us. We're good, patriotic Americans and we care deeply about our country. We aren't the selfish, obese, ignorant louts that everyone says we are. We want to work, and contribute, but we are finding it increasingly difficult to do so with meddlesome legislators who seem to feel that they not only have the answers to everything but that they can actually cure our ills by piling more laws and restrictions upon existing laws and restrictions until we are suffocated by them. They treat us like little children, and we don't like it.

So that's it, Mr. President, in a nutshell. Do nothing and we'll take over from here. Take my word for it, the country will be in very good hands.

And here's my promise: if you do this and I get another shot at interviewing you I will not ask another loopy cookie question. Scout's Honor.

Sincerely, your friend,

Lenny Palmer 10/18/2011


Go to top