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.