Coming back to work will be tough for Obama
Rather suddenly, the White House announced on Sunday night that President Obama will be continuing his short holiday this week. Well, Martha's Vineyard was rather more work than break as it turned out.
But when he does get back to work he has a busy and difficult September ahead of him. Afghanistan. Iran. A big speech to the UN. The Pittsburgh G20 summit. Big stuff, but perhaps none so threatening to his standing as the furore over his healthcare plans.
I am not so much back at the desk as settling in behind a new one, as I take up my new job as the BBC's North America editor. Justin Webb, now elevated to the Today programme, is a hard act to follow, but I will do my best. More reflections on the trials of moving and the wonders of living in the USA to come over the next few weeks.
For the moment, it is the long hot summer of impassioned debate about plans to change America's healthcare system that intrigues me.
The president has provoked some amusement with his comment that folk seem "wee-weed up" over healthcare reform. But is he the one who should be wetting himself at what looks like a grassroots revolt over his plans?
While Hurricane Bill hovered ominously off the east coast, hot air rose from town hall meetings across the states, whirling into a TV tornado. Angry members of the public lambasted proponents of change in perfect soundbites and pictures.
Their arguments weren't always clear, but their passion was. Several called the plans "Nazi". One woman said they would turn America into Russia. In subsequent interviews, she failed to carry through her attack on that country's system, where critics say lack of tax roubles is a major problem. Maybe, for some, "Russia" is a state of mind, rather than an existing polity.
It has been a little frustrating watching this play out from holiday hotel rooms and our temporary apartment, as I move the family in. If I had been at work I hope I would have been at some of the meetings, talking to the protesters, sizing them up.
Many Obama supporters claim this was not the grassroots talking, but "Astroturf" - artificial protest whipped up and organised by the Republican Party - that it was "political".
This seems to me to get it the wrong way round, although I admit I am viewing this from a distance and await your thoughts and advice. It is probably true that the most vocal are not merely newly-concerned members of the public. But the Republican Party as such is not behind this. It is individual right-wing groups, like Freedomworks, which have organised, and have made themselves heard. Indeed they publish on their website suggested letters to newspaper editors, and questions to ask at town hall meetings.
As a longtime political correspondent, I have little time for people complaining when politicians get "political". It is a bit like moaning that footballers treat the game like a sport. Well, yeah, duh, as my daughter would say. Often these purists mean that politicians are exaggerating the differences with their opponent to get in a cheap shot, or pursuing a line of attack because of the damage it would do, rather than from deep conviction.
It is true that if Mr Obama fails, it would be a staggering blow, perhaps a mortal wound, and such a prospect has Republicans salivating. The president needs an Uncle Teddy figure, who would broker a deal somehow, anyhow.
But the role of government and the extent, generosity and indeed existence of welfare is a pretty basic dividing line between left and right, and it is a much deeper division here than in Britain or Europe.
If you are on the right, fighting Mr Obama's healthcare reform is a worthy cause, not a low shot. More importantly it is the first time Mr Obama's opponents have made the running.
Before this, most of their attacks made them look like kooky bad losers. Now, casual TV viewers may draw the conclusion that they, not the president, are on the same page as the American people. One Republican-sponsored opinion poll at least suggests his proposals are less popular than the Clintons' ill-fated plans.
This is how political revival begins, and how the strategic president deals with it is a test of his tactical abilities.
Maybe he doesn't need to get wee-weed up but he sure ain't sitting in a cat bird seat.