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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

President Obama Vs. Rush Limbaugh and All His Critics

By now, everyone has heard that President Obama and the Democrats are orchestrating a campaign to make Rush Limbaugh the face of the party.

The strategy took shape after Democratic strategists Stanley Greenberg and James Carville included Limbaugh’s name in an October poll and learned their longtime tormentor was deeply unpopular with many Americans, especially younger voters. Then the conservative talk-radio host emerged as an unapologetic critic of Barack Obama shortly before his inauguration, when even many Republicans were
showering him with praise.

Soon it clicked: Democrats realized they could roll out a new GOP bogeyman for the post-Bush era by turning to an old one in Limbaugh, a polarizing figure since he rose to prominence in the 1990s.


As far as political stories go, this one is pretty easy to read. For the Democrats, if they can make the Rush the face of the Republican party it will turn off many moderates because Limbaugh is a polarizing figure. For the first time since the 1970's, the Republicans are without a clear leader. As such, the Democrats are using the vacuum to make a polarizing figure the face of the party.

On the other hand, such a strategy could backfire because it means the president has to get into the mud. By involving himself in such a petty squabble the president risks looking as though he is sidetracked by issues that most people don't care about. Such a risk is only exacerbated by the fact that the White House has recently also gone after critics Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer by name as well.

Ultimately, it really doesn't matter and here is why. Here are two scenarios and each, in my opinion, is right. If the economy is humming along or even if it looks as though it has turned a corner immediate proceeding the next elections November 2010, here is what the Democrats will do. They will claim that while the president was busy making difficult decisions on the economy, the Republicans were obstructing because they were being lead by their true leader, Rush Limbaugh. It will work also because the economy will have recovered. In other words, this strategy entirely depends on the economy recovering.

On the other, if come November of 2010 the economy still looks weak, here is what the Republicans will say. Instead of concentrating on managing the economy, the president was orchestrating frivilous arguments with a talk radio host (Limbaugh). It will work also and that's because the economy will look weak.

So, either way, what really matter is what happens to the economy. Not only is this dispute a sideshow, but it is irrelevant. All of this strategy depends entirely on the fate of the economy. In that way, it is a foolish thing for the president to get involved in. That's because it does take his concentration away from the economy. Why bother with this frivilous argument when what's important is making sure that the stimulus is executed properly? Why bother when what's really important is implementing a way out of this banking crisis? All of this is really a sideshow but worse than that, it is a sideshow that is irrelevant. The election in 2010 depends entirely on the fate of the economy, and that's where the president's attention should be. This sideshow takes that concentration away and on that level, it isn't the right move.

7 comments:

rachel said...

Narcissists can't stand anyone criticizing them. Obama is a narcissist, so he is incapable of ignoring Rush, Cramer, Santelli or anyone else who paints him as the inept Marxist he is.

You notice that Bush never got involved with all the smear merchants who had terrible things to say about him. Bush was NOT a narcissist.

Mia Zagora said...

Bush never paid any attention to those idiots because he knew the things they said weren't true, he had been around frothing-at-the-mouth liberal dogs long enough to know that sooner or later they hang themselves, and he has class -something more foreign to the current administration than fudging on taxes.

Chicago politics has come to Washington. We need to clean house.

Anonymous said...

I think 2010 is still too soon for Obama not to continue to tie the mess he was left to Republicans.

This is particularly the case if Republicans dont better articulate exactly how the tax cut mantra translates into a better economy, better education and better health. In other words, they dont come across as just caring about big business and the rich. because that is how it seems.

Obama is far more popular right now not because his policies are better, but he seems to better at connecting with independent voters and 'seems' to come across as less politically motivated [even though he actually is politically motivated.

The GOP has a severe image problem and is not functioning well

Anonymous said...

I know I should avert my eyes, but I can't help watching this horrifying spectacle, this emotional hostage-taking, that's going on between the GOP and the popular, powerful talk show king. It's the ultimate bad relationship, all neediness and desperation, what with the party beholden to the conservative talker and his ever-present threat that if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Anonymous said...

The flaw in your argument is that is Obama is not perceived as being involved in "cooking up the plan". [even though he probably is]

He will act all above this petty squabbling. He is good at that.

Lyn said...

This is more than just a campaign against Limbaugh, and it is important. Obama is doing more than just distracting Republicans. He is wrong to single out dissent. High profile attacks on private citizens - even celebrities like Limbaugh - have a chilling effect on free speech. Other Democrats follow Obama's lead and talk about new "equal access" or "opposing viewpoint" or whatever they call it laws in media, complaining that conservative talk shows have unfair advantage in getting sponsors, etc.

This is important. It reminds me of Watergate. You could say Watergate was just a burglary of an office, but we know it was a lot more than that.

Anonymous said...

Why did Michael Steele apologize to Limbaugh?

To judge from the eagerness with which the GOP prostrate themselves before Limbaugh, the answer is troublingly simple: They fear losing the votes they have.

They are unable to disenthrall themselves from that culturally intolerant, intellectually incoherent, perpetually outraged and willfully ignorant cohort of the American demographic they call their base, i.e., extreme social conservatives.

Over the years, the GOP has reliably been able to woo them by demonizing gays, people of color, Muslims, feminists and anyone else who did not fit their white picket-fence fantasies. But the changes afoot in our country suggest that won't work quite as well in the future as it has up till now.