Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Time to answer the call

For their primary battle in 2008, Hillary Clinton’s media people put together the now-famous ringing telephone ad, meant to imply that Hillary Clinton was more prepared to take the crisis call that might come at 3 a.m. than was then-Senator Barack Obama. 

Last week, a ringing telephone was not part of a political ad. The call wasn’t at three in the morning. It was not to the president but from the president. The recipients weren’t prepared.

The New York Times reported that, “After his (post-election) speech, Mr. Obama tried to call both Mr. Boehner (speaker of the house) and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, but was told they were asleep.” 

It was late, after midnight. The election had not gone the way the Republican leadership hoped. But it was, after all, the president of the United States calling just after being elected for a second term. It was an opportunity, even if in the middle of the night, for a new beginning. It was an opportunity to be sensible and it was an opportunity missed.

Like the officeholder or not, all anyone needs to know is that the president of the United States is on the line. You always take those calls. 

At the least, McConnell and Boehner should accord the respect owed the office. And they should recognize, at least, that the election results were a wake-up call from the voters about the lack of action by the current congress.  If they are going to be sensible, and that’s a pretty big if, they need to take those late-night calls. After all, it’s the American people who are being kept up all night.


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