Most people would cut a 13-year-old girl some slack if she became obsessed enough with Justin Bieber to write the teen singer emails and letters all the time, but what if an ostensibly professional journalist were to do the same to a politician?
This odd scenario actually is not a hypothetical, however. A CNN correspondent named Tom Foreman has been doing just that, writing a letter every single day to President Obama for the past four years.
Even more disturbing is that Foreman has been publishing his daily missives on the CNN website where he does not really explain why on earth he ever did such a strange, stalkerish thing. He does reveal that his beloved Barack never once wrote back or gave him a call, yet another parallel to a teenage Bieber obsessive:
The first letter, written on that cold Inauguration Day four years ago, was a bit of a lark. Some weeks earlier, Barack Obama had suggested he wanted to hear from citizens about how to run the country. I thought it would be funny to post a series of letters for his first 10 days on the AC360 blog. People liked it, I decided to go for a month, and Bob's-your-uncle here we are.
The first year was easy. We all have ideas about what we would do if we were in charge. Bad ideas usually, but ideas nonetheless. I prattled on about the economy, security, bipartisanship, foreign affairs and his bowling technique.
The second year grew a bit harder. By thinking every day about the presidency, I became more aware of how many intractable, repetitive issues press down upon any person who takes that job.
It's Biden time
In the third year, I surged ahead. Having accepted that my fountain of easy ideas had run dry, I dedicated more serious thought to what I would say. To be sure, the letters became less entertaining, but I liked to imagine that they had more substance, although in retrospect I was probably wrong.
And in this fourth year, I struggled. It seemed many days as if I'd already said everything I had to say and then some. At one point I had considered writing letters to the White House for the rest of my life. The fourth year convinced me that this would be a bad idea. I found myself counting the days to January.
What a great usage of CNN's computer resources and staff time. Why is this man still employed? Then again, perhaps only the way he is manifesting his devotion is what is unusual about Foreman compared to his Obama-worshipping colleagues in the elite media.
Hat tip: Weasel Zippers.
If you really want to get a feel for Foreman's obsession, his love letter archive, all 1,460 of them, is published in full on the CNN website. Thanks to Poor Richard's News for the link. Here's an excerpt from his most recent one. In it, he actually admits that the Secret Service might find his obsession with Obama to be disturbing:
We've been at this quite a while, haven’t we? Me writing letters to you each day, offering my heartfelt advice and wise counsel…or whatever I think might pass for that…and you steadfastly ignoring it. What a kidder you are! At least I think you are ignoring it. Perhaps you start every day with a shout down the hall, “Biden! Bring me the latest letter from Tom!” But I doubt it.
Truth be told, whether you've enjoyed it or not I have. As they say in Maine, “took to it like a duck to water.” Well, I’m not sure they say that in Maine, but seems as good a place as any to hear such a thing. In any event, within just a couple of months of starting this quest back on that cold January of 2009, I came to look forward to it each day. I liked setting aside a few minutes to set down my thoughts and send them your way. Sure, sometimes it was hard to find the time, and this past year it was harder and harder to come up with things to write about, but still I think I will miss it in some ways.
The question is, will you?
I have wondered many times if you have ever seen these letters or if you even know that they exist. (Word of advice: If you haven’t been following along I would not try to catch up now. Way too much reading.) I’ve also wondered if someone wrote to me this often would I bother to read every letter? Probably not. In fact, if I were you I likely would have sent the Secret Service to tell me to knock it off. Ha!
Look at this: Here the clock is fast running out and I’ve wasted my last Friday letter talking about how I’m down to my last few letters! Ah well. I have too much work yet to do to be ready for your inauguration, so I guess I better wrap it up.
More tomorrow (at least for now) and I hope your weekend goes well.
Was Foreman popping his gum and twirling his hair while writing this?