Monday, January 26, 2009

Obama and that Guy on the Radio

I'm of the belief that Barack Obama's 'You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done' comment was just an example of a contemporaneous aside, a comment that used Limbaugh's name to embody the most extreme elements of conservatism without much thought to the consequences. I have no idea if that's the case, of course, but I doubt Limbaugh is taken very seriously by anyone in the White House and suspect that, for a brief moment, Obama forgot that some people actually do take the baffoon very seriously indeed.

Here's Jay Cost:
If your stature is greater than your opponent's, it's never a good strategy to mention him by name. This is why incumbents call challengers "my opponent," and challengers mention incumbents by name. It's not in the President's interest to single out a radio host/pundit for criticism like this. I'd wager that this is a lesson learned for Obama and his administration.
Can't argue with that, really.

At the same time, Obama is in the unique position where he basically gets to choose his nemesis -- why not elevate a circus clown to that position? Limbaugh speaks to only the hard right of the GOP, why not give him the platform to continue to alienate the moderate wing of the GOP until finally they just abandon ship? Let the id of the Republican party see the light of day and then see if it's still appealing to anyone who doesn't subscribe to Human Events...

Basically, Obama is not going to find opposition that is going to operate on the same level that he's woring on -- there will be no Newt Gingrich for the foreseeable future (unless maybe Eric Cantor takes out a second mortgage on his soul from the Devil and gets some gravitas and balls), so why not take on the meanest and ugliest symbol of partisanship there is?

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