Rush Limbaugh Is Polarizing

This article regarding the Democrats making Rush the poster boy for the Republican Party was posted on Politico:


Rush Job: Inside Dems' Limbaugh plan


Top Democrats believe they have struck political gold by depicting Rush Limbaugh as the new face of the Republican Party, a full-scale effort first hatched by some of the most familiar names in politics and now being guided in part from inside the White House.

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.

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.”

The bigger, the better, agreed Carville. “It’s great for us, great for him, great for the press,” he said of Limbaugh. “The only people he’s not good for are the actual Republicans in Congress.”

If Limbaugh himself were to coin a phrase for it, he might call it Operation Rushbo – an idea that started out simply enough but quickly proved to be deeply resonant by a rapid succession of events, say Democrats inside and outside the West Wing.







The seeds were planted in October after Democracy Corps, the Democratic polling company run by Carville and Greenberg, included Limbaugh’s name in a survey and found that many Americans just don’t like him.

“His positives for voters under 40 was 11 percent,” Carville recalled with a degree of amazement, alluding to a question about whether voters had a positive or negative view of the talk show host.

Paul Begala, a close friend of Carville, Greenberg and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, said they found Limbaugh’s overall ratings were even lower than the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s controversial former pastor, and William Ayers, the domestic terrorist and Chicago resident who Republicans sought to tie to Obama during the campaign.

Then came what Begala called “the tripwire.”

“I hope he fails,” Limbaugh said of Obama on his show four days before the president was sworn in. It was a time when Obama’s approval ratings were soaring, but more than that, polls showed even people who didn’t vote for him badly wanted him to succeed, coming to office at a time of economic meltdown.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was the first to jump on the statement, sending the video to its membership to raise cash and stir a petition drive.

“We helped get the ball rolling on this because we’re looking and listening to different Republican voices around the country, and the one that was the loudest and getting the most attention was Rush Limbaugh,” explained DCCC chairman and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank run by former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta, also pounced on Limbaugh's "fail" line, drawing attention to it on their well-read blog.

Soon after, Americans United for Change, a liberal group, was airing Limbaugh’s statement in an ad aimed at pushing Senate Republicans to support the stimulus bill.

“It just cropped up out of how much play that comment was getting on the air,” said Brad Woodhouse, who runs the group and is about to take over as communications director at the Democratic National Committee. “When we did it and it generated so much press, it just started to snowball from there.”

But liberals quickly realized that trying to drive a wedge between congressional Republicans and Limbaugh was unlikely to work, and their better move was to paint the GOP as beholden to the talk show host.

This was driven home to them, according to one Democrat, when Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) took a shot at Limbaugh in late January only to appear on his program the next day and plead having momentarily had “foot-in-mouth disease.”

By February, Carville and Begala were pounding on Limbaugh frequently in their appearances on CNN.

Neither Democrat would say so, but a third source said the two also began pushing the idea of targeting Limbaugh in their daily phone conversations with Emanuel.

Conversations and email exchanges began taking place in and out of the White House not only between the old pals from the Clinton era but also including White House senior adviser David Axelrod, Deputy Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Woodhouse.

The White House needed no more convincing after Limbaugh’s hour-plus performance Saturday, celebrated on the right and mocked on the left, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he re-stated his hope Obama fails.

“He kicked this into full-gear at CPAC by reiterating it,” said a senior White House official of Limbaugh.

By Sunday morning, Emanuel elevated the strategy by bringing up the conservative talker, unprompted, on CBS’s “Face the Nation” and calling him the “the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party.”

Even Republican National Chairman Michael Steele joined in with a surprising critique of Limbaugh as a mere “entertainer,” who is “ugly” and “incendiary.”

“He took a little match we had tossed on the leaves and poured gasoline on it,” said one Democrat of Steele.

Steele was forced into calling Limbaugh to apologize Monday, an embarrassing climb-down following the RNC chairman’s criticism of the conservative talk-show host.

But Democrats kept at it in rapid-fire succession, thrilled that Steele had validated their claim that Republicans were scared to cross Limbaugh.

Americans United for Change launched a new ad featuring Limbaugh’s CPAC appearance. A left-leaning media watchdog group began a new Limbaugh tracking homepage. Democratic National Chairman Tim Kaine tweaked Steele for his apology. Terry McAuliffe tried to inject Limbaugh into the Virginia governor’s race. The DCCC launched a new website,, mocking the Republicans who have had to apologize to Limbaugh.

And Gibbs served up a made-for-cable-TV quote to end his daily briefing Tuesday.

“I was a little surprised at the speed in which Mr. Steele, the head of the RNC, apologized to the head of the Republican Party,” Gibbs quipped with a grin, before striding out of the press room.

David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager last year and a member of his inner circle still, will publish an op-ed in Wednesday’s Washington Post chiding Republicans for being “paralyzed with fear of crossing their leader.”

A senior White House aide has been tasked with helping to guide the Limbaugh strategy.

Outside, Americans United for Choice, a liberal group, and the Democratic National Committee are driving the message, in close consultation with the White House.

Democrats can barely suppress their smiles these days, overjoyed at the instant-ad imagery of Limbaugh clad in Johnny Cash-black at CPAC and, more broadly, at what they see as their success in managing to further marginalize a party already on the outs.

“I want to send Rush a bottle of vitamins,” said Begala. “We need him to stay healthy and loud and proud.”

With President George W. Bush and Vice-President **** Cheney out of the White House and Tom DeLay gone from Congress, the left had been suddenly absent an unpopular right-wing figure.

Few Americans know who the congressional Republican leaders are. Even Sarah Palin is now four time zones away from Washington.

Enter Limbaugh.

It’s something of a back to the future tactic for Democrats: painting the GOP as the party of the angry white male. But unlike Newt Gingrich or other prominent Republicans, Limbaugh doesn’t have to mind his tongue.

And the liberal political apparatus is at battle stations taking note of his every comment.

Media Matters, the left-leaning media watchdog and advocacy group, began a “Limbaugh Wire” web-site Tuesday to track him. “For a long time Americans haven’t really been aware that he’s so influential,” said Eric Burns, the group’s president.

Democrats are now working hard to ensure that changes.

“He’s driving the Republican reluctance to deal with Obama, which Americans want,” said Greenberg. “He’s the policeman [keeping them in line].”

They’ll all get a fresh hook for the story after Wednesday, when a Democratic polling firm goes into the field to test, among other things, Limbaugh’s standing with the public.

All the attention only offers upside for the buzz-hungry Limbaugh, said Carville.

“The television cameras just can’t stay away from him,” Carville said Tuesday, a day when cable news played images of Limbaugh seemingly on a loop. “Our strategy depends on him keeping talking, and I think we’re going to succeed.”


VendettA12 VendettA12
31-35, M
25 Responses Mar 4, 2009

Acckk! Limbaugh is such a tool! Yesterday, he was reassuring his listeners that he was just fine, enjoying life, and having a good time the way only Conservatives can. And today he is ranting and raving about the shame of the Obamas giving dinners in the White House during a recession. And, trust me, his listeners swallow it all, hook line and sinker. This man could sell sand to the Saudis.

While you're on my blog, in addition to reading my entry on "fixing the political system" I'd highly recommend that you politicos watch one of the vids I posted: "Morality: Why liberals and conservatives think the way they do and why they're both right" <br />
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The video is 19 minutes long, but I'd very much like it if you all watched and commented there or here.

Grits, I agree with you about the argument but I think "V" said it more succinctly than I could have ever hoped to. Also I notice that the dissent is hateful from your side. It's just not dissent but it is so hate filled, I feel such frustration to have "go there" to get my point across. I agree to disagree with you. it's what makes the world go around. I suspect we may have more than you think in common on some fundamental issues, just not the religious and "moral" issues. I agree we need more political parties that are viable in this country. The system is severely broken by career politicians and special interests, we are not being represented anymore from either side. What else is there to say?<br><br />
Go and read "V's" blog entry on changing the government. There are some great ideas, I bet we will all agree on.<br><br />
I still say read PNAC and see if it doesn't scare you. It put fear in my heart for my kids and my grand's like the 800 lb gorilla in the room no one wants to talk about!

Orien, I know the article is long, but did you read it? You basically summarized it. The Obama administration is openly embracing Rush as the head of the Republican party because he is so polarizing. His negatives far outweigh positives if you look at polls. Rush is not a scapegoat, he's embraced his role as king of the party. Did you not see his speech at CPAC or heard his show since all of this has happened? <br />
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There is a vacuum of power in the Republican party. Boehner isn't a leader, neither is McConnell. Steele hasn't been chair of the RNC long and has already floundered. Twice Republicans have had to go on Rush's show and apologize to him, beggin him for forgiveness. This is just sad. What kind of political party has to go begging and pleading to a radio talk show host? <br />
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What are the Democrats to do? There is no opposition party. The Republicans have the duty to be the opposition party, to provide constructive criticism and offer ideas that liberals aren't going to come up with on their own. What ideas are they coming up with? Their plan so far has been tax cuts for the rich (big surprise there!) which hasn't worked for the last 8 years under Bush, and Plan B is to do nothing and hope this recession fixes itself. <br />
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If Rush is going to annoint himself leader of his party, and if all Republicans are going to defer to him for their talking points, then he's gonna have to deal with Obama treating him as the leader of that party.

Have you considered why Obama and his party is even concerned with Limbaugh? Emmual meets daily to discuss him and has been since late last fall.<br />
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They need a scapegoat to blame all of the ills of the country. They can't go on blaming Bush forever...he is no longer the president so they need a new bogeyman.<br />
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Do you not find it frightening that our government is going after a private citizen? Think back in history when any government used scapegoats. The outcome was always bad.<br />
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We all were sold a bill of goods that some people recognize now, and others will eventually. Problem is, the country will be forever changed...and not for the good.

I didn't really care much for Ralph. then again I didn't lear as much about him due to knowing he didn't have a chance. I was hoping Ron would get the repb nod not mccaine.<br />
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In the end I voted for mccain but only because of his stance on abortion. no other reason.

We need more than 2 political parties. I wrote a blog about my thoughts on how to improve our political system, if you're interested you should take a look. <br />
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If you support Ron Paul, what do you think about Ralph Nader? I'm curious.

we were there but no one was listening. I find it strange that so many are begining to hear what we have been for years trying to get heard.<br />
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There are still those that do not want to hear and dump us in with the Repbs.<br />
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One reason why so many conseratives vote repub is because they are the only group that has any policies that fall in line with some of ours. <br />
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It is the lesser of two evils for us.

You must understand, grits, it's very frustrating for us liberals to be confronted by true fiscal conservatives after what occurred from 2000 - 2006 while Republicans had control of the executive and both houses. Now that the Dems have control and want to spend money to fix the train wreck left by Republican control, NOW we suddenly hear from the fiscal conservatives....<br />
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Like I said, it's hard to swallow. Where was the outrage over spending while we were flushing money down the toilet known as Iraq?

jojo I was very much against all the bailouts and I am against much of the money our country sends overseas.<br />
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my values are my values and I am not forceing you to agrree with them. the same you have said to me of beng misguided, misplaced and pathetic can be said for you as well. Why go there? What is the point? How does going there make your viewing of the situation stronger? <br />
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You don't agree with me and I don't agree with you there is nothing wrong with that. I'm sure there are some who do not agree with either of us. That is ok to.

Our country has bailed out countries all over the world for more than a century. It's now time to bail us out no matter how much it takes. We have spent trillions in Iraq trying to rebuild their country as ours crumbles. Your values here are misguided, Grits. No one complained how much was spent the past 8 years for illegal wars and bailing out capitalist Wall Street and banks but now we are trying to fix our country with a new democratic president and you guys have a problem with it. So much for patriotism. Go ahead, wave your faux flag while you watch Faux news. <br />
Your outrage is misplaced and pathetic.

no worse then much of the stuff that was voice about Bush when he was President.

Voicing concerns over specifics is one thing, issuing a blanket statement of hoping the President will fail during an economic crisis is completely different. It's also revolting.

I have to disagree. I don't agree with many of Obama's policies and want them to fail. I said some. I have always stood behind all of the Presidents I have lived to see. Yet, I have always had issues with policies with each of them and those I wanted to see fail because I did not think they were good for the country as a whole.<br />
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There is nothing wrong with wanting things to fail that you feel are not good for the country. Obama has a tough job and even those who did not vote for him will support him but at the same time there are things they do not like and they have every right to voice these things.

LOL! Today he was reassuring his listeners. He claims he gets emails from his loyalfans who are so concerned with how he is handling all the stress from the media attention. So funny! I could hear his head getting bigger with every word as he explained how this moment in time was his destiny and he's ready to face it since he's been working towards it all his life. Ha! No wonder he's had three failed marriages, the poor guy. I feel a little sorry for him.

I was more impressed by the speech of the 13 year old boy then anyone else during the CPAC event. <br />
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Why is it so bad that someone can be there and give a speech that lights a fire in the base? This is what is needed.

Haha. Does the GOP really want a fat, bald, cigar-smoking millionaire -- a modern Daddy Warbucks -- as the image of their party? The GOP hasn't been called the Stupid Party all these years for nothing. I'm glad that Limbaugh is the head of the GOP. What a Blowhard

I'm pretty sure that Obama doesn't run his talking points past Michael Moore to get his approval. That is why your comparison to Michael Moore doesn't work. Just saying...

Obama is the clear leader of the Democratic party for obvious reasons. He's the president. <br />
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The reason that Rush is being portrayed as the leader of the Republicans is that none of the Republicans can disagree with Rush without having to appear on his show a day later and apologize profusely. It's quite pathetic. Michael Steele is the latest to come begging for Rush's forgiveness: <br />
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The GOP needs to get back to basics, basic conservatism. Quite the PC malarkey and quit reaching across the aisle on each and every issue.<br />
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Get a backbone and off the people something different. <br />
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Rush is the "Big Kahuna" has been for decades. So he gets the most press and attention. He's not always right but makes money at it.<br />
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i don't listen to him any more, did 20 years ago. Now i listen to Tammy Bruce, Monica Crowley, Neal Boortz ... others at times like Mike Gallagher, Bill Bennett, Rick Roberts, Herman Cain. Can't stand Savage, he is way way over the top.

I've only met dems who have been turned to repbs after listening to Rush for more than one time. Conservative and Repbs know Rush is not the leader of the group. <br />
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I guess I could say Michael Moore is the leader of the Libs.

lol, that too.

Hence the point of the article. I know it's long, but did you read it? There's a reason why Dems are excited about the leadership void in the Republican party that Rush is filling. They're excited because if you look at the statistics, Rush turns moderates or undecideds into democrat supporters.

the only ones putting Rush at the top of the Repbs/cons movement is the news media. Rush has always had a large following. It is just getting bigger with all this stuff. <br />
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Right now the Rebs do not have anyone that is standing out in front. Michael Steel is the one with the job to define the GOP party. <br />
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Of all the Repb and conservative I know we are getting a laugh out of the fact that the news and so many others seem to think Rush has been adopted as the leader. <br />
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It's good that so much is being said though cause the ratings for Fox, Rush and all conservitive radio is going up and conservitive websites are getting more hits. With so many more people looking into what is going on there are bound to be some to hop over the fence.

I listen to him. He's running his mouth full out wide open with all this attention. Its only a matter of time before he hits the wall and says something very stupid, like his black football pla<x>yer statement from a few years ago. Let's hope he takes the ultra conservative movement with him when he goes down.