Dear President Obama,
As you back off the public option and demand an extension of the Patriot Act, I'm fairly disappointed in you on policy grounds. However, I'm downright irritated with your seeming desire to be a celebrity icon first, and a political leader second - so friggin' iritated, in fact, that I'm resorting to the super-irritating cliche of this, the open letter format.
Between seeing you grab headlines in the Kanye West "controversy" and now hearing of your upcoming television tour, it seems clear that right now, you are very interested in attracting attention from the pop and D.C. media. Now, I'm sure you argue that those media are decent conduits to deliver political messages - and that may be true. However, it seems to me that if you were genuinely interested in immediately passing a serious health care bill, you would refrain from the celebrity media and the D.C. chat shows that almost no one but D.C. insiders watch, and do some of the less glamorous work that could actually deliver results.
Specifically, it seems to me that if you went to states like, say, Montana, Iowa and Maine and publicly hammered Sens. Baucus, Grassley and Snowe as obstructionists, there's a decent chance they would fall in line (especially Baucus, who is a Democrat who always worries about losing a primary). At minimum, doing that kind of thing, rather than spending time on national/glam television and courting elite journalists/talk show hosts, gives you a better chance of delivering concrete legislative results, even if it might make you momentarily less of a pop culture celebrity.
Then again, actually doing the unglamorous, hard work of putting pressure on wavering legislators would require a willingness to be a bit confrontational; to spend some political capital rather than hoard it; and to use the element of electoral/political fear - all of which you have refused to use. Indeed, I agree with the Politico - for all the talk of you hiring "tough" people who curse a lot, you and those supposed "toughs" have helped make you one of the only presidents in modern history that most members of Congress do not fear in the slightest.
Perhaps that's because the very things you eschew (ie. actually going into someone's district and pressuring them) is what might make them nervous, and the very thing you embrace (national media celebrity) is something they aren't afraid of.
I'll end just by stating the obvious: As president, you'll always be a celebrity. But what we really need right now is a leader.
Hoping you'll take this under advisement,