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What a Rush

This is the kind of story that simply captivates the Washington media.

Peter Nicholas writes in the Los Angeles Times: "The Obama White House has begun advancing an aggressive political strategy: persuading the country that real power behind the Republican Party is not the GOP leaders in Congress or at the Republican National Committee, but rather provocative radio talk show king Rush Limbaugh.

"President Obama himself, along with top aides and outside Democratic allies, have been pushing the message in unison...

"In an interview Monday, David Axelrod, senior advisor to Obama, pressed the argument that the real GOP boss is Limbaugh: 'I don't see most of these Republican office holders heeling for [The new chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele] like they do for Limbaugh.'"

Howard Kurtz writes in The Washington Post: "If White House officials were trying to elevate Rush Limbaugh to the leader of the opposition, they may have succeeded....

"Limbaugh, a master at drawing media attention, has filled a vacuum for the GOP since the election, and Emanuel's comments served only to further boost his prominence."

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 3, 2009; 12:09 PM ET
 
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Next: Taking Bush's Words Seriously

Comments

One of the best ways to separate the "wheat from the chaff" is to hand out responsibility in a crisis situation.
Doer's will do and talk just enough to get the job done. Talkers will talk and talk and talk, anything to distract attention from the fact that they lack the talent, ability or even the desire to actually "do" something.

The GOP has demonstrated their inability to do anything worthwhile in office. By highlighting Limbaugh's role in the GOP/conservative firmament Obama has thrown down the gauntlet, keep up the silly talk radio babble or get on board with some serious policy alternatives. The choice for the right could not be clearer:

A- rejoin the serious adult
political/policy debates which will
determine the course the USA takes for
the next couple of generations.

OR

B- keep arguing with each other over who
is more conservative, loves Rush more,
etc etc.

It may turn out that Republicans will be unable to choose. In that case maybe Ruppert Murdoch can just buy the GOP and turn it into a national tabloid !

Posted by: PatD1 | March 3, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

It's a pretty amazing sight. First you have Gov Sanford and Rep Gingrey groveling back to Rush after they crossed him. Now, Steele. Though in Steele's defense, he was elected on the sixth ballot barely beating out an elderly white southern segregationist for the leader of the party so it looks like he's barely holding on. I wouldn't be surprised if he steps down later this year.

What I can't understand is why they follow Rush since he offers nothing but criticism with no real ideas. I guess it's a generational thing. Until all the old white southern segregationists die off, there won't be much change. The sad thing is that they are really reaching out to anyone but southern white extremists, albeit younger ones.

Posted by: wrx_zx6r | March 3, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I enjoy as much as anybody watching prominent GOP politicians competing in the Suck Up to Rush World Open championship.

However, I fear that if the Democrats obsess too much with Rush, he may turn out to be their Rev. Wright -- a Big Deal for the hardcore advocates, and a useless distraction for the electorate in general.

That is, by focusing on someone with a big mouth and no real political power, the Dems take the focus off those who really put us in the position we're in.

Folks, it wasn't Rush Limbaugh who crashed the economy. It wasn't Rush Limbaugh who trashed the Constitution in the name of the War on Terror. Although he may have championed them through his big megaphone, it wasn't Rush Limbaugh who instituted the "trickle-down" tax cuts and "free market" deregulation that have blown up in our faces.

Limbaugh is not only an "entertainer," as Steele put it before he joined the grovelers. He is a sideshow. He is a cheerleader.

Republicans held the White House for the past eight years, and Congress for six of those years and six years before that. Their policies were tried, and not only found wanting, they have proved to be disastrous.

This is what Democrats need to keep pounding home, as short-memoried voters hear over and over that -- after little more than a month in office -- this is "President Obama's Depression."

Posted by: dwiltzee | March 3, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Limbaugh has become the de facto leader of the Republicans, and why not? It seems appropriate to me, and appropriate also for the White House to identify him as such. Limbaugh made the election of George W Bush possible, and has loudly defended all of the worst policies of the last eight years (and many more). Never an admission of error (sound familiar?). Limbaugh is living proof that you can be wrong all the time and still be a successful pundit. The Repubs should tempt him into an easy vacant Senate seat, where he could wind up his career by leading the GOP into oblivion.

Posted by: gposner | March 3, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Jeopardy Answer:

"Reagan. Bush. Cheney. Addington. Gonzales. Rice. Abramoff. Cunningham. Stevens. Romney. Paul. Guiliani. Huck. McCain. Palin. Jindal. Sanford. Steele. Limbaugh."

Jeopardy Question:

"Why did the Republican Party become extinct?"

Posted by: Patriot3 | March 3, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

If the racist blowhard Rush Limbaugh is the head of the Republicon Party, then the Republicon Party is in real trouble.

If he is an "entertainer," as GOP Chairman Michael Steele claims, then the field of entertainment is in real trouble.

Posted by: motorfriend | March 3, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I love crushed Lintballs, or whatever the lyeing junkie's name is this week to sell widgets.

Posted by: tniederberger | March 3, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are not going to go into oblivion without doing as much damage to our country as they can possibly achieve.
Just today 41 Republican Senators announced that they were absolutely against any judicial nominees the President may submit for nomination unless they get a say in who is nominated and who is approved.
O.K., it is perfectly appropriate for the minority party to be heard but these people are claiming that they will NOT approve of anyone they don't already approve of.
In other words, the minority wishes to dominate the majority.
Typical Republican attitude. They wish to win when they win and win when they lose.
They will never give up and they will never be bi-partisan. They must be entirely defeated at the polls come 2010.

Posted by: cms1 | March 3, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Kurtz and others suggest that attention from the White House is elevating Rush to a leadership position and somehow bringing him new attention. As proven by the actions of Gingery and Steele following their brief flings with honest expression, Rush is and has been the boss. All the White House is doing is acknowleging the elephant fouling the room.

It is funny how Bush, Cheney, et al., seem to have been relegated to GOP Siberia, while the guy who engineered their election and crafted their failed policies and message is still considered a saint by the party core.

Posted by: pmp2430-wp | March 4, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm really not surprized. The Repugnican'ts idolize an obese drug addict for their spokesperson. What else is new? If one's political party is more important than the survival of this country; then go wallow in your sexist, racist, violent beliefs like your "Holy Bible" says.

Posted by: sailorflat | March 4, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Maybe it was / is deliberately diversionary by Obama and the geniuses he surrounds himself with. I hope not, but maybe they are little Rove wannabees in their own right. Rush brought it on himself by openly declaring that he hopes Obama fails which in the midst of this crisis translates that he hopes America fails which isn't very patriotic.

However, I don't see a lot of discussion as to whether Obama's exit plan is continued occupancy dressed up and called something it's not burning up the airwaves -- what does Code Pink think?; not a lot of reporting on the war in general or its line item in the budget(s); not a lot of debate about whether the trillions we are throwing at the economy are being thrown around fairly, or thrown around fast enough and in the right places to make a difference; not a lot of chatter about the benchmarks that clutter the budget after a campaign in which it was pretty much touted that benchmarks were bad.

But as to the GOP, poor dears, they could disavow Rush at any time if they don't like it. Steele tried that for five minutes and we all saw what happened and that had nothing to do with the Democrats.

Posted by: SarahBB | March 6, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

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