Dear Mr. President,
Today I saw an op-ed in the Washington Post by two men who claim to be Democrats who don't think you should run for re-election in 2012. (I say "claim to be" because there is some question about their actual party affiliation.) I should probably remind every one that I'm not a professional political operative. I don't exactly have the resumé to argue with these hacks. But I think this is just about the worst advice I've heard any one offer you in a while.
I don't think that removing yourself now from the 2012 campaign would, as these pundits suggest, force the republicans in congress to make concessions. I think that backing down now would be the ultimate sign of defeat. Republicans would sieze the opportunity to legislate like they controlled all three branches of government. And I don't say this as a political expert (which I am not) but as a girl who has only gone on first dates for basically an entire year (which I am.) I go on first dates, and sometimes guys just aren't into me, and sometimes I'm just not into them, and sometimes circumstances just aren't right for the two of us. But this doesn't mean I give up entirely on the prospect of dating or ever finding some one to love me. Some of your decisions haven't been popular, some of what the country thinks it wants (social services funded by magic instead of taxes!) isn't what you're able or willing to give and some of your problems are just circumstance.
Running in 2012 demonstrates that you're not looking to escape because it's hard. It is what separates you from Sarah Palin (besides, of course, your grasp of the English language, basic knowledge of geography, economics and history.) To give up would be to tell voters, for sure, that Democrats aren't cut out for leading the country during challenging times. I have no idea who these strategists are or why they are so deluded as to think that appeasing the unreasonable demands of republican leaders is the best way to secure bipartisan cooperation, but I sincerely hope they are not people who get taken seriously in any official capacity.
Mr. President, I have disagreed with many of your decisions as President. I have my issues with your policy compromises and many of your centrist ideas. But I would rather see you in office in 2012 than any Republican. I want to see you listen ultimately to your own values and instincts and not to opinion polls and political pundits, to govern ambitiously and unapologetically, and with the courage of your convictions. ( I would also like you to be able to govern for a while longer without having to worry about reelection, but that ship sailed.)
You've got my vote in 2012, sir. Of the two of us, you're probably the more likely to make the most of a second date.