NPR logo

New Year's Resolutions For Politicians

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
New Year's Resolutions For Politicians


New Year's Resolutions For Politicians

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

(Soundbite of song)

Unidentified Man: (Singing) I made my New Year's resolution. Tell you what I'm going to do. Just forget about the old year and a things we used to do...


New Year's Day is a chance to start anew, a time to learn from the mistakes of the previous year with hopeful resolutions for a happier and more prosperous year ahead. And as we look ahead, we're putting a twist on that time-honored tradition of making resolutions, with something we call New Year's resolutions for other people.

Throughout the program we'll hear recommendations for 2011 from business, sports and entertainment experts. First up, politics.

For that we turn to Dana Milbank. He's an author and columnist for the Washington Post. He joins us from NB Studio Services in Costa Mesa, California. Welcome.

Mr. DANA MILBANK (Columnist, The Washington Post): Good to be with you, Jennifer.

LUDDEN: Let's start with President Obama. Now, he ended 2010 with a number of historic victories - the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," the big health-care overhaul among them. But his successes did come with a lot of frustration, and some partisan bickering along the way.

What are your resolutions for President Obama, looking into 2011?

Mr. MILBANK: Well, I am proposing that President Obama's resolution should be to enroll in Pilates classes for the New Year. Now, you may think this is confusing because he is, in fact, in quite good shape. But the constant complaint from everybody is he doesn't really stand up in negotiations - his spine isn't stiff enough. So Pilates would give him that core strength that I think he would...

LUDDEN: One wouldn't say he's already twisted himself into a pretzel a number of times?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. MILBANK: I think more the - more abdominal work, the lower back, just strengthen that - stiffen that spine. I think he's going to stand up well, not only to the Democrats but to the opposition Republicans as well.

LUDDEN: OK, a little exercise for the president.

Moving on to Congress, the 111th Congress. It did end up being quite productive, one of the most productive sessions ever. You wouldn't know it from the approval ratings. Now, next week, we've got a whole new class coming in - and some chastened Democrats there. What are your resolutions for this body?

Mr. MILBANK: Well, my resolution would be for all 535 of them - should require themselves to participate in a trust-building workshop this year. You know those things where you put on blindfolds and you stand on a wall and fall over backwards, and your partner catches you - or your partner leads you, you know, through a sort - pretend landmine?

But each Republican has to be paired with a Democrat. They have to learn to build some trust this year. They have to learn that they are, in fact, human -that they're not up against some evil enemy every moment of the day. And I think this kind of blindfolding and trust-building exercise will get the job done.

LUDDEN: And you would love to cover that, I know.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. MILBANK: I would. In fact, I'd be happy to participate. I wouldn't guarantee that I'd catch the guy if he fell backwards.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LUDDEN: OK, moving on to us, the electorate. You know, politics, it is a bit of a spectator sport. I'm sure we're going to see some jockeying ahead of the 2012 presidential election. What should we all resolve?

Mr. MILBANK: Jennifer, this is - I know we say it every year - this is the year we are finally going to go on a diet. If you look at the polls, no matter -everything that we need to do - as a government, as a society - we need to cut the debt, we need to cut the spending, we need to increase the taxes - all of these painful things, we're not willing to go. The polls show, repeatedly, we're not willing to do the hard things. So this is the year. We're going to eat the vegetables. We're going to eat the fiber. And we're really going to cut some of the fat out. That would be my resolution for America.

LUDDEN: Can we still have a little dessert?

Mr. MILBANK: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. MILBANK: Jennifer, you can have a little deficit. It's OK.

LUDDEN: Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, thanks so much.

Mr. MILBANK: My pleasure.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.