New Year's Resolutions For Politicians Don't you sometimes wish you could make resolutions for other people? In the realm of politics, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank offers his suggestions for President Obama and Congress in 2011.

New Year's Resolutions For Politicians

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U: (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...


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.

M: Good to be with you, Jennifer.

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

M: 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?


M: 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: 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?

M: 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.


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


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?

M: 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?

M: Yeah.


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

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

M: My pleasure.

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