The recent Rush-Republican foolishness has gotten to me and I feel I can no longer remain silent with regards to the topic. The basic problem, as it appears to me, is a failure to communicate (to quote cool hand luke).
Rush said he hopes Obama fails and will work to ensure that he does. To a conservative who understands Limbaugh and his message, the point is an obvious and inoffensive one. Obama has annunciated a message of socialism, big government, weakness, that all conservatives hope fail. Indeed, I believe that most Americans also hope that such a plan would fail.
However, the average American doesn’t equate the Obama policy prescriptions to his overall goals. Obama has stated his goals as, “Helping Americans afford health care, getting America out of this financial crisis, and restoring American jobs.” While conservatives recognize that these results will never happen under Obama’s policy plans and are able to put Rush’s message in context, it should have been obvious that what RUsh said was going to get twisted by the media.
The spat between Rush and Republican leaders was a mistake on top of a mistake. Republicans such as Michael Steele should have either refused to comment until they had the full quote in front of them or put the quote in context. Their failure to do so and their willingness to fall for the MSM trap was the first mistake. HOWEVER, Rush compounded that mistake by putting Republican officials in an awful situation. Knowing full well that his comments would never be placed in context in this media environment, he demanded an apology from these Republican leaders. At a time when new Republican leaders are trying to assert themselves, to have Rush come out and cut their legs out from under them was absolutely devastating. As a result of the apology, and the failure/refusal of the MSM to put it in context, our elected leaders look even weaker.
The end result is to make Republicans look like hostages before Rush. It looks like Republican leaders are unable to present constructive criticisim or give Obama a way to win their support (perhaps by ACTUALLY adopting some Republican plans!) because Rush wants the President to fail.
The reality is that this administration is blind to other view points. While adopting a tone of bipartisanship and working to really solve problems, the administration discards any Republican idea almost immediately. THIS should be the narrative. Obama is the one who is ensuring his own failure by rejecting Republican ideas, not Republicans looking to cause his failure by refusing to work with him and offer ideas. But through this foolishness the narrative has been rewritten and it now appears that any Republican who was interested in working with the administration to come up with plans that work can’t because Rush will declare war on them. And the bloggers and other conservative commentators who immediately declared allegience to Rush simply feeds into this perception and further alienates centrist voters.
Obama is failing, we don’t have to hope for it, he will. The question is, who is going to be blamed for this failure? If Republicans follow along this line of attack, I fear it will give the democrats an excuse for failure, much like Castro using the US embargo as an excuse for his own failed socialist policies.
Republicans need to recognize that we have the winning ideas, the winning philosophy, and the loosing message.
Rush is an entertainer, and he needs to keep doing what he’s doing. However, if he could stop attacking republicans who take issue with his style rather than his message, it would be most helpful.