Tuesday, January 27, 2009
They took the bait:
Last Friday, Obama was quoted as saying that the Republicans shouldn't be taking orders from Rush Limbaugh. That was something unusual for a president to say - mentioning a specific individual like that. Predictably, on Monday, Limbaugh brought it up and then pontificated about how he, Limbaugh, was going to be the voice for the opposition. That was followed by some truly inane commentary about the economy. (N.B. Limbaugh is unfamiliar with addition and subtraction.)
It's clearly in Obama's interest to bring Limbaugh, and other right-wingers like Hannity and Coulter, up front and center, and make them the face of the Republicans - not just within party circles but in the eyes of the press
Today, in the Washington Post
, we get a story that confirms this move, Is Rush Limbaugh the New Face of the GOP?
... on Monday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs offered another sly provocation of Limbaugh; asked to expand on Obama's comments about the talk show host, Gibbs demurred and then added: "Tell [Rush] I said hi."
And some Republicans are fine with this development:
"The party is in transition," said Ed Rogers, a Republican lobbyist and close ally of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. "Our leaders have not found their voice or direction....Limbaugh is filling a vacuum in a world that requires a constant media counter-point."
Others are wary: (emp add)
While there is nearly unanimous agreement with Rogers's sentiment that Limbaugh is filling a void left by the departure of former President George W. Bush from the scene, whether that is a good or a bad thing remains a point of considerable contention among party strategists.
"Rush is a double-edged sword, he cuts both ways" said Phil Musser, a Republican consultant and former executive director of the Republican Governors Association. "Sometimes you love him, sometimes you cringe at his impolitic (he'd say honest) fusillados."
John Weaver, a former senior aide to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), said that Republicans must be careful not to allow their Democratic rivals to paint them all with the brush of Limbaugh.
"The Democrats and the far left will do all they can to grab electoral turf," said Weaver. "And one sure way to do it is take some of the most controversial voices on the extreme right -- like Limbaugh and [Alaska Gov. Sarah] Palin -- and try to insist they speak for all members of the center/right movement."
Forget Palin. Limbaugh is the real toxin.
A commentor in the Post story writes:
I think Obama is making a smart move here. The Republican Party is currently suffering from a leadership vaccum. One could make the argument that this leadership vacuum has existed since Katrina, when Bush's credibility and popularity began it's downhill slide.
So, much like in political campaigns, Obama is trying to define the Republican Party before they can define themselves. When people think of the Republicans, Obama doesn't want them to think of Boehner, McConnell or even Palin. He wants them to think of a fat-ass, opiate-addicted, thrice-divorced radio talk show host with a reputation for intolerance, negativity, and one of the largest egos in America.
Since Rush's massive ego won't allow him to think strategically on this issue, he's more than willing to play right into Obama's hand. His adoring listeners will continue to reinforce Rush's views of himself by enclosing him in a bubble of "mega-dittos" and elected Republicans will continue to appear on his show so they can kiss his ring, mostly because they still feel some debt of gratitude towards Rush for his role in the last century during the Clinton administration.
He'll continue to hog the limelight, and continue to say stupid sh*t like he's rooting for Obama to fail, except he'll probably escalate it, cause that's his M.O.. The Republicans, having lost most of their sane members over the last 8 years, will continue to play along, not realizing that most Americans want Obama to succeed in his goals of getting the economy back on track and wrapping up our foreign adventures.
Nature abhors a vacuum, especially that of the current Republican Party that is in such a Rush.
The far right speaks of Rush as though he's only recently become involved in Republican politics, and wasn't awarded the title of "honorary member of Congress" by the Dittohead Caucus almost 15 years ago.
Rush is your Field Marshal, and has been since the early 90s, so suck on it, Republicans. A Limbaugh-less GOP would not have positioned the likes of George W. Bush within grasp of the highest office in the land.
Kind of reminds one of the disciple Peter's denial of Christ. "I know him not."
I think that the leadership vacuum started when Tom Delay was forced out. It sort of went rudderless at that point.