Team Obama -- aided by Clintonistas Paul Begala, James Carville and Stanley Greenberg -- decided to attack Rush Limbaugh after poring over opinion research. White House senior adviser David Axelrod explicitly authorized the assault. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel assigned a White House official to coordinate the push. And Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gleefully punched the launch button at his podium, suckering the White House press corps into dropping what they were doing to get Mr. Limbaugh.
Was it smart politics and good policy? No.
If the first six weeks of the Barack Obama administration can be summed up in one sentence, it would be this: Obama fiddled with Rush Limbaugh while Wall Street burned.Hot Air continues with this post.
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.
Limbaugh is embracing the line of attack, suggesting a certain symbiosis between him and his political adversaries.
"The administration is enabling me,” he wrote in an e-mail to POLITICO. “They are expanding my profile, expanding my audience and expanding my influence. An ever larger number of people are now being exposed to the antidote to Obamaism: conservatism, as articulated by me. An ever larger number of people are now exposed to substantive warnings, analysis and criticism of Obama's policies and intentions, a ‘story’ I own because the [mainstream media] is largely the Obama Press Office.”
I tuned in to Rush Limbaugh for his opening monologue.
Riveting. I’m not a regular listener, but it was amusing and amazing and altogether brilliant to listen to Limbaugh cordially invite the president (not Carville, not Begala, not Rahm Emmanuel, who Rush concedes “is very busy”) to come on to his show and spend three hours debating him...
... And he seems utterly, supremely confident. He suggests that if President Obama can debate “without notes or teleprompter” and defeat Limbaugh in the eyes of the audience, (I’m paraphrasing) “you will own America. You will have no opposition standing. Santelli is being silenced, Cramer will be gone soon, though not without a fight. You have the press, you have Hollywood. The only thing standing between you and complete ownership of the United States is me and my little radio show.”
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, just minutes before learning of the terrorist attacks on America, Democratic strategist James Carville was hoping for President Bush to fail, telling a group of Washington reporters: "I certainly hope he doesn’t succeed."
Carville was joined by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who seemed encouraged by a survey he had just completed that revealed public misgivings about the newly minted president.
"We rush into these focus groups with these doubts that people have about him, and I’m wanting them to turn against him," Greenberg admitted.