John Cole Tim F. notes that Rush Limbaugh's ascendance to the head of the GOP appears to have been orchestrated by none other than the leader of the Democratic Party.
Percentage-wise not a lot of Americans love Rush Limbaugh. The folks who do, though, love him a lot. Without those drooling dittoheads the GOP would fight Greens and Larouchies for folding chairs on election night. It goes without saying that a guy who never has to worry about elections and controls the beating heart of a party will have slightly different incentives than public officials have to worry about. Still, the party would only worry about a noisy ignoramus with Limbaugh’s potential swing in the unlikely event that the faithful have nobody left to love.When President Obama made his remarks about congressional Republicans listening to Rush Limbaugh, the pundits couldn't wait to get on TV and opine about what a strategic mistake he was making. The president was elevating a talk show host! What a mistake to pick a fight with Rush Limbaugh!
Obviously in a world of Reagan and shining white knights named Bush that would never happen. Still, if it did happen, there’s always a chance that a skilled Democrat could figure out that conservative lizard brains always rally around their icons, and it would be awfully tempting to bait an ego like Rush to claim his place at the top of the Republican pecking order. I know it sounds crazy. But if that happened it would get awfully hard for (comparatively) sensible apparatchiks to stuff their big fat drug addicted genie back in a bottle.
Those folks were just as right as the people who knew that Obama couldn't win the nomination and then the election without taking the low road against Hillary and then McCain. Remember that? He was playing too nice. He needed to take the gloves off. He needed to hit them harder, harder, harder!
And yet, today, we call him "Mr. President."
And during the stimulus fight, everybody (including me) just knew that the president was going to fail by reaching out to Republicans. He needed to freeze them out, to make sure they knew who was boss!
Then he went on to win passage of a bill that was practically identical to what he proposed, and along the way exposed the GOP as the nihilists that they are.
Now, the president has managed to put the ugliest face imaginable on the national Republican Party. The de facto leader of the GOP is a loud, ignorant, libertine hypocrite who preaches austerity and abstinence to his followers while indulging himself with every excess that money can buy.
With his subtle, almost off-handed appeal to Limbaugh's vanity, Obama set in motion a series events that gave the leaderless Republican Party the worst leader it could possibly have right now: a man who explicitly rejects ideas and policies as the means of regaining the trust of voters. Rather, he is convinced that extremist right-wing ideology, which the American people have forcefully rejected now in two successive elections, is the key to his party's success. And he and his followers will tolerate no deviation from that orthodoxy. Good luck with that.
And it is becoming apparent that all of this has been instigated, if not engineered, by President Obama.