"The difference between Carville and his ilk and me is that I care about what happens to my country." ~ Rush Limbaugh, March 11, 2009
Was it the day President Obama used the name of Limbaugh to rattle the cage of the Republican leadership? Or was it the day that El Rushbo recounted a request to wish the new president well in 400 words or less and used only 5, “I want him to fail?” Not that it matters, but on either day, it became inevitable that Obama’s anti-Rush strategy failed.
And it’s not just because Rush Limbaugh knows how to run a news cycle. Whether it was his “Bake Sales” of the nineties to help the deficit, “Operation Chaos” of the last primary cycle, or this current flap, Rush both knows his audience and respects them.
This flap began with a mistake by the almost-perfect Obama team. Calling Rush out by name — clearly in response to his criticism of our overly-touchy president — made Obama look like Richard Nixon,complete with an “enemies list.” Then, instead of putting out the fire scorching them, the president’s party raised the stakes, going after Rush on all fronts, reveling in their own quagmire.
Capping it all was the DNC use of its vast text messaging network and email list to ask people to craft a catchy slogan to be put up in Rush Limbaugh’s home town. The winner was, “Americans didn’t vote for a Rush to failure” (view it here). Very clever, indeed.
All of this attention on Rush has backfired on the Democrats. Instead of demonizing him as the “leader of the Republicans,” they are helping his ratings and bringing new audiences to him. To know Rush is to love Rush, and the 20 and 30 something Obamatrons of the last election may try Rush and learn to love him.
Rush continues to be a lead story around the world. In the Belfast Telegraph on Monday morning, Rush is grabbing the headlines with “Rush Limbaugh — The shock jock who’s relighting conservative America’s fire.” While the author, Jim Dee, is not a Rush fan, even he has to acknowledge that Limbaugh becomes stronger with every attack by the left.
I began listening to Rush in 1990. Like most Southerners of the 1970s and 80s, we were conservative Democrats. In most places in Georgia, there were only Democrats on the ballot, so if you wanted to vote for someone, it was a Democrat. My dad was a Republican, and I remember even then people telling my dad you had to be rich to be a Republican. Well, we weren’t rich, but we were hard working and believed in our own labors, not those of the government. Thankfully, I was brought up with a healthy distrust of government and always believed that I could do it better than any agency could.
When it was revealed Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and former Clintonistas Paul Begala and James Carville were talking every day about singling out Limbaugh to be the demon of the next election cycle, it exposed a major flaw in the Obama administration. Like President Clinton, Obama has never left campaign mode. Instead of doing what’s best for the country, they are doing what they think is best for Obama’s reelection chances. They are taking the pulse of the country from text messages and emails. It worked for the election, but the constant barrage of “the sky is falling” in emails with requests for funds will become tiresome quickly.
The whole idea of saying that we desire Obama to fail is interesting. Do we want Obama to fail? I want him to be right on the issues, and if he is not, I want him to change or be defeated in 2012. If that is wishing him to fail then, I wear that badge honorably. It’s really not about failure; it’s about the right ideas at the right time.
Rahm Emanuel is wrong about targeting Rush and he’s wrong about using this crisis to expand the Obama agenda. The lefties will say, “Well, they did it” referring to the policies that have kept us safe from terror attacks since 9/11. It’s not the same thing. Financial policy may make us poor, may make us work harder, but it won’t kill us. The wrong national security policy can lead to the senseless deaths of thousands of Americans.
As the old bumper sticker says, “Rush is Right.” He’s right on the issues, and he’s right on how most people in America feel about their own destiny. He’s positive, informative and entertaining in his message. He is middle-American. I love the way he often says, “I wish my parents were here to see the life I have, they wouldn’t believe it.” He loves his family and his Missouri roots. The DNC may buy a billboard in Palm Beach, Fla., but it won’t hurt Rush Limbaugh or help Barack Obama.