It was on Thursday afternoon when President Joe Biden unveiled an aggressive new vaccine policy designed to help end the pandemic. It was on Thursday night when Republicans announced plans to go to court, hoping to derail the White House's efforts.
To be sure, the immediacy of the partisan response was not altogether surprising. It stood to reason that Republicans governors and attorneys general, for example, would take legal aim at the president's policy. But one of the first announcements instead came from the Republican National Committee – which isn't exactly known for its top-tier litigation program.
You didn't have to be a political expert to suspect the RNC was concocting a new fundraising scheme. Indeed, party officials proved the point soon after, sending out a fundraising appeal less than a day later, built entirely around the "vaccine mandate" that the Republican National Committee said it's eager to "stop." The message read in part:
"WE WILL SUE BIDEN TO END HIS AUTHORITARIAN VACCINE MANDATE. We're calling on EVERY Patriot to step up and help fund our efforts. Are you going to join us or will you sit on the sidelines? There has NEVER been a more critical time to contribute, we are at risk of losing our freedoms like never before."
To the extent that reality still matters, the pitch was foolish. For one thing, the president's "vaccine mandate" isn't really a vaccine mandate: In the private sector, workers will still have the option of regular testing as an alternative to vaccinations. For another, there's nothing "authoritarian" about a policy that protects workers' safety during a pandemic.
But that didn't stop the RNC from sending out another fundraising appeal over the weekend, assuring prospective donors that the party is planning to file "a MASSIVE lawsuit."
What a relief. There's nothing worse than a medium-sized lawsuit.
All joking aside, the partisan scheme is hardly subtle. As things stand, not only is there no "vaccine mandate," there's also no lawsuit, at least not yet. The political posturing appears designed, not to help deal with a deadly pandemic, but rather to separate unsuspecting voters from their money.
On "Face the Nation" yesterday, Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois expressed his disappointment with his own party's tactics, telling CBS News that too many in his party "are out to simply manipulate our base, raise money off of them and not care about their life."
The congressman added that some in his party are simply "playing on people's fear."
The Republican National Committee almost certainly knows Kinzinger was telling the truth. It just doesn't seem to care.