Rush, Republicans Gaze at Navels while America Looks Elsewhere for Leadership
Conn Carroll, quoting an Ann Althouse quip fed through the Instapundit filter, should know that two wrongs don’t make a, um, Next Right:
The White House, the DNC, and Americans United for Change are all apparently about to double down on their "Republicans equal Limbaugh" strategy. My thoughts on this are summed up by a comment on Ann Althouse's blog highlight by Instapundit: "Does anyone really think Team Obama's focus on Limbaugh reflects their success so far in office."
This should be the only talking point when conservative surrogates are brought on TV to talk about this compleltely [sic] fake controversy: The only reason the Obama White House is attacking Rush Limbaugh is because Obama already has been a complete failure in office. Since his election in November the market has lost 25% of its value and every single one of his policy announcements has only been followed by hundreds of thousands of more lost jobs.
Obama, the Democrats, and the left desperately want to change the subject from Obama's performance. That is why they are investing time, resources, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in demonizing Rush. How does any of this help the American people?
Representative John Boehner (Rushlickin’ – OH) seems to be reading off of the same fax (via Benen):
[I]n a carefully calculated campaign, operatives and allies of the Obama administration are seeking to divert attention toward radio host Rush Limbaugh, and away from a debate about our alternative solutions on the economy and the irresponsible spending binge they are presiding over. This diversionary tactic will not create a single job or help a single family struggling in today's economic crisis. And that is where our focus should be.
“Calculated campaign?” “Operatives and allies?” Puh-leez! The most calculated, orchestrated part of this whole hullabaloo is the daily gust of ill wind blowing from the blowhard himself—and Rush is going to ride the breeze for as long as he can.
The establishment media, never one to turn down an easy
story controversy slap fight might be focused on Limbaugh—they are the ones that have asked questions of Gibbs, Emanuel, etc., after all—but "Team" Obama seems focused on fixing the fucking the disaster left to them by "Team" Bush-Cheney. The Recovery Act, the budget fixes—hell, the whole damn budget—today’s healthcare summit, Clinton’s Mideast initiative, the initiative to cut military waste, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, this week’s release of the OLC memos. . . that's what the White House is focusing on.
Where is the Republican "loyal" opposition focusing? They are busy fearmongering about "socialism," saying "no" without proposing any implementable alternatives, and seeing who can kiss Rush's butt closest to his anus.
And how’s that workin’ for ya’? As the latest NBC/WSJ poll will tell you, not very well:
President Obama's favorability rating is at an all-time high. Two-thirds feel hopeful about his leadership and six in 10 approve of the job he's doing in the White House.
. . . .
By comparison, the Republican Party — which resisted Obama's recently passed stimulus plan and has criticized the spending in his budget — finds its favorability at an all-time low. It also receives most of the blame for the current partisanship in Washington and trails the Democrats by nearly 30 percentage points on the question of which party could best lead the nation out of recession.
Which goes straight to bolstering an observation made today by Steve Benen:
I don't think Boehner fully appreciates the point of "diversionary tactics." As the Minority Leader sees it, Democrats don't want to talk about their economic policies, so they're talking about Limbaugh.
But here's the follow-up question: why would Democrats be reluctant to talk about their economic policies? Americans like the Democrats' economic policies. The policies make sense, especially when compared to Republican rhetoric about spending freezes, tax cuts, deficit reduction, and a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Put it this way: with Democrats enjoying a huge advantage on economic policy in the midst of an economic crisis, and with the GOP's economic agenda coming straight out of the Hoover playbook, what possible incentive does the majority party have in mulling "diversionary tactics"? Why engage in a "change-the-subject campaign" when your side is winning the most important economic debate in generations?
Not that this White House hasn’t demonstrated an ability to walk and chew gum at the same time—so, when asked about the rush to Rush, most on the Democratic side of the aisle seem to have an idea of just how toxic this “leadership” fight is for the Party of No.
As for that party, since the Republicans are not in the governing business, but, as Boehner confessed in January, are instead “in the communications business,” then I guess it makes sense to worship a guy whose driving force/life purpose/raison d’etre is to drive up his own Arbitron ratings.
(a version of this column was previously posted on Firedoglake)