Obama’s first 100 days were something out of a Lewis Carroll novel. He attacked our friends, cozied up to our enemies and did his best to make both Republicans and conservatives irrelevant.
Retreating abroad, Obama whistled “successes” to the tune of about $7 trillion, although in his first 100 days his so called “successes” are accompanied by one large unquestionable defeat.
Republicans — after the devastating defeat of John McCain — appeared vulnerable. To sink them for a decade, Team Obama sought to demonize the man they most feared. The clearest — and loudest — voice of conservatism, Rush Limbaugh.
The Obama administration — from top to bottom — blasted Limbaugh. Barack Obama, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and top advisor David Axelrod all took their shots directly or indirectly, trying to separate Limbaugh from his base.
According to Director of Communications for the Media Research Center Seton Motley “This has never been done before, where they entered office and on their list of things to do is attack a member of the media.”
“They even in advance had done polling. Rahm Emanuel said Rush Limbaugh’s poll numbers amongst independents was particularly low so they wanted to jujitsu that and set Rush up as the head of the Republican party which you heard over and over and over again and there by remove any moderate independent support for the GOP,” explained Motley.
On January 23 during a meeting with GOP leaders to discuss Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus package President Obama said “You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” implying that the only reasonable thing Republicans could do was simply sign on to Obama’s ideas.
White House Chief of Staff Emanuel took digs at Limbaugh on “Face the Nation” labeling him as the “intellectual force and energy” within the GOP.
“I don’t think it’s a crazy question to ask about someone who for lack of a better term is a national spokesperson for conservative views and many in the Republican Party,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
“We shouldn’t view this as a political tactic coming from the White House? Picking and choosing enemies?” asked a White House reporter. “I control many things but the speaking agenda of Rush Limbaugh I have no control over,” said Gibbs.
And don’t forget James Carville and Paul Begala, strategists on CNN (who speak with Emanuel everyday) “quake at mighty Rush… he’s the one that’s setting the Republican agenda,” they teased.
So did it work? After 100 days did Obama and his men take out the “intellectual force and energy” behind the GOP?
“No,” says Motley. “You will notice that the plan to attack Rush Limbaugh didn’t make it out of the first 100 days. It stopped about a month ago.”
“The messaging campaign backfired I think to a large degree, because I think the American people — rightly — viewed what the White House was doing in this regard to be at the very least unseemly and certainly another in a long line of questionable 1st amendment practices by the Obama Administration.”
“Why are you assaulting a member of the media? That’s your political agenda to assault a member of the media?” said Motley.
What the White House never read correctly is that most Republicans — and probably all conservatives — wish their party really were the Party of Limbaugh. If it were, it probably wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in now.
Since the White House’s attempt to ax El-Rushbo, his ratings nearly doubled. The Washington Times reports that Rush’s radio show surged to number one in the top three radio markets in February for Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, and a poll taken by Rasmussen in March found that only 11% of Republicans agreed with the statement “Rush Limbaugh is the leader of the Republican Party. He says jump and they say how high.” Rasmussen reports that this was a comment made by “president of an advocacy group running national television ads linking Limbaugh to the Republican Party.”
“While Limbaugh is arguably the most high-profile conservative commentator in the country, even 76% of self-designated conservatives do not see him as the Republican leader,” reports Rasmussen. “Fifty-two percent (52%) of moderates share that view, but the plurality of liberals (45%) do see Limbaugh as calling the shots for the GOP.”
“Obama targeting Rush is the result of several factors,” conservative talk radio host Jim Bohannon told HUMAN EVENTS.
“First, there’s no obvious heir apparent in the Republican Party. One will emerge in less than three years, but we don’t have one yet.”
“Second, when all his challengers are added up, Rush Limbaugh remains atop the talk show heap. He’s the man. And third, Rush has a way of getting under the skin of Democratic Party presidents,” said Bohannon.
“Bill Clinton mused aloud about Rush pummeling him three hours a day. It takes a toll, even though a talk show host has no votes on Capitol Hill nor a veto. But if a host lacks power, he has an awful lot of influence. President Obama has had a pretty nice parade going, and nobody, but nobody, has rained on it harder than Rush Limbaugh.”