Opinion » Bill Cope

Dear Mr. President

I probably should wait a couple of years...


...to send this letter, but you know better than I what's coming. By the end of this year, we're going to know for sure who's running to succeed you. Then it's going to be all Iowa this and New Hampshire that... Jeb said this and Christie said that and Cruz said WHAT!?... and Hillary leads by this many points, then Hillary leads by that many points... and blah blah blah... and before we know it, you're going to be arranging your papers for the Barack Obama Presidential Library and checking out colleges for Malia. So while you're still the central figure in Americans' fleeting attentions, I have decided to get said what I want to say to you right now, which--if I'm any judge of history in the making--will come to be regarded as the apex of your entire presidency.

And a magnificent presidency it has been, sir. For the past six years, every time I have been asked, "What d'ya think of him now?" by some smarmy, ignorant, dumbass Republican—of which there is no shortage here in Idaho—I have, without hesitation, answered, "Best president in my lifetime, pal!"

I admit that until recently, much of that attitude has come from my passion for pissing off Republicans—particularly, the smarmy, ignorant dumbass ones. (Ha ha, as if there is any other kind, huh?) But now, as the record of your accomplishments, your triumphs, your powerful intellect and your steady resolve is solidifying, I can say it without irony, without doubt and without the ulterior motive of trying to infuriate someone: You are the best damn president in my lifetime.

And that includes some stiff competition, going back to Harry S. Truman. Eleven presidents, ranging from the absurd to the sublime. (I'll leave it to you, sir, to speculate which ones I would consider absurd and which sublime.) What sets you above even the best of those 11 isn't so much what you have managed to achieve, but the unrelenting resistance to your getting anything achieved at all.

Without that resistance, though—without the naked and insane hatred your enemies have so brazenly flaunted in your face—without the utter and disgraceful disrespect that they have shown you and your family—without their unholy vows to treat you as an irrelevant footnote in the American story—we might never have realized your true strength. I am confident you would agree that no single accomplishment of yours, or anything you hope to get done by the end of your administration, can compare in scope with, for instance, Eisenhower's interstate freeway system, Kennedy's space program, Johnson's Civil Rights Acts or Nixon's environmental initiatives. Even Obamacare, the jewel in the crown of your presidency, might be seen merely as a natural extension of something LBJ began 50 years ago.

Historical perspective is always the most accurate judge of a person's legacy. After the names of your detractors have faded into well-deserved obscurity, you will be understood as the man who, by the sheer force of his nature and steadfastness of his character, guided this nation through a perilous time—who stood, sometimes alone, against the looming corruption of our democracy—who showed those who despair at temporary defeats that, yes indeed, when the going gets tough, the truly tough get tougher—who led the decent people of this country in the way forward.

Nowhere was that more apparent than in your State of the Union three weeks ago. And sir, I know exactly why John Boehner, there behind you, spent the entire address looking like he had to fart in the worst way. I know why the rest of his squalid party sat so sourly, so bitterly, on their soft, white hands. Because the ones with any remaining sense left in their shriveled brains could see that, once again, you were kicking their cheesy asses. That's right, Mr. President, they understood within minutes after you started speaking that, in spite of their fleeting gains, you were racing ahead of them, that you were winning again. That your acceptance by the American people would rise and theirs would fall, and that there wasn't a damn thing they could do about it.

No, they won't give you anything you propose. Not a single thing, probably. But when President Hillary Clinton gets the legislation through a less swinish Congress to provide that free community college opportunity to struggling young people, to raise the minimum wage to a livable level, to reform our immigration policies in a humane and sensible way, it will be understood by all who planted those seeds and set the stage for the future. You have invigorated our party for at least another generation, sir, and your name is immutably chiseled into that granite monument of leaders who have bettered American society forever.

Incidentally, thanks for coming to Boise. And if in this letter I have embarrassed you by being, perhaps, overly fawning, excessively sycophantic and exceedingly florid with my praise, please excuse me. I mean every word I said, but I could have toned the adoration down a notch or two, yes?

But sir, I personally have no problem praising you in such a mawkish and public manner, knowing that any of our local Republicans who read this will be chewing off their own tongues in aggravation. And that's all the reward I need.

Yours, B. Cope