In 2001, terrorists capitalized on George Bush’s inattention and extended vacation to strike at America. Now, Rich Scott’s Conservatives for Patients’ Rights believes it can adopt al Qaeda’s tactics by attacking our country while the President is on vacation. "Even on vacation, the President will get no quarter on the public option from Conservatives for Patients’ Rights." And they’re running an ad that somewhat bizarrely tries to mock Obama’s vacation.
There are obvious problems with this strategy. First, regardless of what you think of the White House strategy on health care, mocking Obama for taking the first week of vacation he has had all year will only invite comparisons with Bush, who spent 977 days at either Camp David or Crawford during his presidency–well over a year on the pig farm where he twiddled as New Orleans drowned and blew off warnings about an imminent al Qaeda by dismissing briefers for "covering their ass." Conservatives for PR may be trying to mock Obama by suggesting he’s traveling to an effete location with no brush to clear. But at least this President hasn’t spent significant portions of his term AWOL during crises, like Bush did.
The big question is whether our press corps will step up to the challenge.
Already, they have enabled groups like Conservatives for PR to use terrorist tactics–the staging of scary public spectacles–to hijack the debate on health care. The media has magnified fake fear-mongering stunts rather than calming the fear by cutting through the misinformation. And perhaps predictably, the usual suspects are out pitching Conservatives for PR’s nonsensical ad for them. Apparently, Joe Scarborough and Mike Allen don’t understand that treating this ad seriously–reporting this ad without, at the same time, highlighting the irony of attacking Obama on an area in which he exposes Bush’s failures by comparison–only proves that they have been captured by the fear-mongerers hoping to put profits above Americans’ lives.
No matter, though. The President may be headed off for his reasonable one week vacation. But the rest of us will remain vigilant: you and me, the 5,000 people who have given $300,000 in a matter of days to reward those who will stand up and defend real health care reform, and of course, the tireless Jane, who I hope takes a long week on a beach once we win this fight.
Rick Scott assumes that we citizens fighting to defend this country against those mobilizing fear in the service of corporate profits will let down our guard. But if he believes that, he might as well retire to a pig farm to clear brush, because he has badly underestimated the citizens of this country.