It’s been two days now since Rush Limbaugh first challenged President Obama to a duel of words, a debate on issues, and five since the president and his surrogates made Rush the main Democratic Party talking point. Of course, the White House is pretending to stand above such a request from a mere talk radio mouth — no response on the challenge has yet emerged. Yet, Obama’s Press Secretary, his Chief of Staff, and all the Old Media folks that his Chief of Staff instructs on a daily basis in that well known morning strategy session all have been using Rush Limbaugh as a main talking point since the Sunday morning following Rush’s CPAC speech.
Not only has Obama’s seconds come out swinging at Rush, but the whole of the lefty blogosphere has joined in on the taking points. Never the sort to do much self-generated thinking, the lefty gab-o-sphere has with relish taken up the banner and run with it. Naturally, the tenor of discussion has fallen off a cliff into the typical guttural guffaws and epithets at which the left excels. From a purported “Assistant Professor in the Practice of International Politics at Columbia University” on Huffington Post to the DailyKossacks, the name calling is piling up.
With his attack on Rush Limbaugh, however, Obama risks a backlash that just might hit him where it hurts: his own credibility.
The “Assistant Professor” I mention above developed the theme that Rush is a “clown” that is beneath the attention of the President of the United States. He went on to claim that should Obama deign to debate Limbaugh the president would help Limbaugh “gain in status” simply by engaging the radio talker. To a certain degree Limbaugh himself agrees with the basic concept of his uplift by Obama.
Before I go on, I find this theme quite amusing. Why? Well, because it’s the same theme that conservatives have employed to explain why a U.S. president shouldn’t engage in “diplomacy” with terrorists and thugs like Ahmadinejad and Osamma bin Laden! It was a claim the left called stupid. Now, all of a sudden, the same argument is the chief argument to use. Only one word describes this situation; hypocrisy.
So, as you may have guessed, I ascribe to this theory. If I were president and an unhinged lefty radio twerp were challenging me to a debate, I would ignore the situation entirely.
However, I would also be insisting that my surrogates do the same. And this is why Obama could easily come out on the losing end of this game he’s playing with Rush Limbaugh. Obama and his administration should have given the Limbaugh theme scant notice. If anything, a brief statement and then silence should have been the tact.
Why could this bite (or byte, as the case may be) Obama? Because he allowed — and probably helped plan — this all out attack on a mere talk radio guy by his White House staff and all the Old Media folks they control. Folks like George Stephenapolous, Paul Begala and James Carville have filled the airwaves with the talking points they’ve been handed. On top of that even Obama’s Chief of Staff and his Press Secretary have engaged the radio talker in verbal attacks.
So, Limbaugh, being the brilliant promoter that he is, issued his debate challenge. And then… and then what? Obama ignores it? After a week of his closest advisors, employees, and all their pals attacking Limbaugh, NOW President Obama pretends that Limbaugh is meaningless?
How does it look to the general, disengaged public when everyone that surrounds a president engages in the same quest to demean a single talk show host, yet than that president pretends the subject isn’t worthy of his time? Doesn’t this confuse the people? After all, if Rush isn’t really worth the president’s time, why is his whole staff getting so exercised over him? Someone in the White House must think Rush is important!
Now add that quixotic reaction to February’s statement by the president that Republicans “just can’t listen to Rush” and carry forward with the people’s business.
It all adds up to Obama’s hypocrisy on the matter. It also adds up to a certain element of fear evinced by Obama. People cannot help but imagine that the president and his staff are afraid of Rush. Both because they are talking about him all the time, but pretending he isn’t important, AND because the president refuses to debate him even after bringing him into the debate.
As I said, this could easily reflect badly on the president all the way around. His opponents will taunt him that he is afraid of a mere radio talker and his supporters will be angry that he gave that same radio guy the time of day.
President Obama is quickly rushing himself into a no win scenario. It is fast coming to a point where Rush Limbaugh wins no matter what. And that right there is funny no matter who you are.