A Letter to America, David Boren, University of Oklahoma Press (2008).
The idea of sending a letter (or short book) to America may seem presumptuous, but David Boren has some credentials to back it up. He has been a Rhodes scholar, governor of Oklahoma, and U.S. Senator, among other things, and is currently president of the University of Oklahoma.
The apparent purpose of A Letter to America was laying an intellectual foundation for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for president as an independent. Per other sources, Bloomberg attended a conference at the University of Oklahoma in early January 2008 on how to stop ďpartisan polarizationĒ in Washington. Boren published his book the following month, containing passages such as the following:
Itís time to replace pandering partisans with real statesmen, even if it means electing independents to Congress and a nonpartisan, independent president of the United States.
Bloomberg has since announced that he will not be running for president, and his decision is apparently final. So is there still any reason to read Borenís book?
Maybe, because things are not going well for this country, but Borenís analysis does not do much to illuminate the path forward.
Perhaps the best point is the change in attitudes on college campuses over the past 40+ years. Boren cites both personal observations and polling data to show that (a) many Americans have lost confidence in our public leaders, and (b) far fewer students feel motivated to go into politics nowadays. As a former politician and college educator, he is in a good position to make such an assessment, and itís hard to argue with reinvigorating the teaching of American history and our political system.
Other points are important too, but in my opinion they have been better explained elsewhere. For example:
As for Borenís conclusion that all our problems can be resolved by bipartisan cooperation, I would respectfully disagree. In many cases, the outcome will embody the worst rather than the best of what the two parties have to offer. Thus, the tendency of legislators to go along in order to get along has much to do with their reckless spending habits.