When Barack Obama arrived at the White House in January 2009, he was greeted warmly by outgoing president George W. Bush. After taking the newcomer on a brief tour, Bush said, “well its looks like it’s time for me to go. But I want you to know, Barack, that while our politics may differ, as a fellow president, my thoughts and prayers will always be with you. So here’s a special gift from me to help you get through the hard times that you surely will have to face.”
Handing Obama two sealed letters, the Texan continued. “Here are two letters. When you find yourself in a heck of a political mess, and you need a way out, open the first letter. But when the situation is completely hopeless, open the second letter.”
With that, Bush parted and Obama took up the presidency. At first, all seemed to go well, as the Democrats strong majorities in congress allowed major legislation, including the $800 billion stimulus bill to be quickly passed into law. Unfortunately however, the economy continued to decline, and as the stock market hit 6400 in March 2009, the new president found himself beset by critics on all sides.
So he decided to open the first letter. It read: “Blame everything on me.”
Instantly perceiving its immense value, Obama adopted this sage advice with alacrity, and soon was back in control. Indeed, even though the economy failed to recover, with tens of millions of Americans kept unemployed month after month, year after year, his poll numbers remained acceptable. But then came the first debate with Romney, where he was trounced so badly that even the most dedicated of his own supporters could only scream with derision. With only three weeks to go until election day, Gallup put him behind by 6 points, and after two follow up debates failed to change anything, the situation appeared dire indeed.
Fortunately, however, the president knew exactly what to do. Reaching for the second of Bush’s gifts, he opened the envelope.
Inside was a message. It read; “Write two letters.”
Paul Ryan came and spoke today in Lakewood, Colorado, very near my home. The high school gym was packed, with over 3000 present. Most of the folks there were local, but one couple seated next to me was from Durango and had driven six hours to get there.
To say the crowd received Ryan with enthusiasm would be an understatement. In fact, his reception became literally thunderous, as many started stamping or pounding on the gym benches, and they repeated this several times when Ryan made strong points.