Summer has always been a bad time for the Washington press corps and assorted flacks who follow politics. In the past, if presidents had summer retreats in cooler spots (and most did) the press did not get to follow them there, even in an election year. As for members of Congress, nobody cared where they went.
Before FDR, presidents had traveled across the country to campaign in the heat of summer only if they were desperate. President Roosevelt first used the new technology of radio to campaign from The White House to wherever he was cooling off. Newspaper reporters complained that they were left sweltering in their seersucker suits in the nation’s capital, much of it situated on a swamp.
Flash forward 75 years. Washington reporters now have an air conditioned White House press area and wear open-collar shirts to work but they’re still complaining.
It’s 12:40pm on a hot, muggy Washington day. Journalists Mottsy, Pottsy, and Klutzy have just left The White House press area grumbling about a press release concerning obesity and the First Lady’s gazpacho recipe.
The GOP has already tweeted that gardens like this compete unfairly with supermarkets and agribusiness and undermine free enterprise!
“How’s this for a lead?” Mottsy muttered. “Americans say ‘no’ to zucchini and other foreign veggies!”
“Naw,” said Pottsy, “lead with Michelle. ‘First Lady Losing Rutabaga War.'”
“How about ‘White House Concerned About Leeks?’ Get it?”
“My editor wants me to lead with Congress going into recess without accomplishing anything!”
“How can you tell? The Tea Party people are like a wax museum — no action, no news!”
A man walks by the three reporters and waves dejectedly.
“Poor Flotsamhorn” — Pottsy shakes his head. “The Clarion just offered him a buy-out — ”
“He better take it!” Mottsy smirks, “MSNBC can’t handle any more consultants — ”
“You were darn lucky catching on at MSNBC — but how do you stand Chris Matthews? He asks you a seven-minute question and then interrupts your answer!”
“I know! Last week — ” Mottsy lowers his voice. “Somebody put a sign on Matthews’ door ‘Wind Power! The Future Of Journalism!’ Let’s grab some lunch at the Late Edition –”
“It’s so crowded there, nobody — ”
“Yeah, yeah — nobody goes there. Yogi Berra! Did he really say that?”
“Who the hell cares?”
Near “K” Street, the “Real Americans for Progress and Patriotism” is a Super Pac funded by the head of Pizza Mania. Three campaign consultants Brad, Cole, and Buffy sit in front of two very large posters of Mitt Romney.
One is captioned ‘the USA and Mitt — a perfect fit!’ The other is a picture of Romney in a Schwarzenegger costume and is captioned, ‘The job-creator!!’ Cole is on the phone, listening.
“I still would like just a touch more of grey at his temples,” says Buffy. “You know, life experience?”
“I think,” Brad said emphatically, “we should go back to attack ads! Maybe send a crew to Chicago to dig up some dirt –”
“Guys — ” Cole hangs up. “Forget these ads. Keep them in reserve. No issue ads and no attacks on Obama.”
“No attacks??” Mottsy is baffled. “Aren’t we going to answer those tax return ads?”
Cole shakes his head decisively.
“For now, we will just follow the family around — human interest. The voters will get sick of the income tax thing. People get bored!” Cole is pondering. “Where does Ann keep that damned fancy dancing horse?”
“Gee, Cole, didn’t those Tea Party people tell us that those prancing horses were a pro-gay message?”
“Okay, forget the horses. Don’t they have a parakeet?”
“No birds. One goldfish.”
“Yeah, maybe the fish will give us a sound bite –”
Cole throws up his hands.
“Okay, okay. We go back to our secret weapon.”