It started long ago when Rush Limbaugh got an inkling that then-Sen. Barack Obama was making a political end-around the Democratic Party establishment and the Clinton political machine. Snide remarks and innuendo began to amass where there had rarely been a brusk aside. Then Limbaugh saw a way to divide the Democratic Party and called for an “Operation Chaos,” where he called for Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton in the open primary states during the run-up to the general election. And as Barack Obama grew stronger in the polls, won the Democratic nomination for president, and the subsequent national election, Limbaugh turned up the vitriol. He promised his listeners that he would not let up on the President-Elect (and later President) Obama.
And he did not.
But that is his right. It is also how he keeps his listeners tuned, his sponsors supporting and his detractors feeding into the cycle. It is a game. He baits some, tells others what they wish to hear. He is like any other talk show host with a fan base, pandering to them and reaffirming their relative positions in the world.
Again, it is his right.
But now Rush Limbaugh has said he wishes President Barack Obama to fail. To many, given Limbaugh’s posturing over the years about being a true-blue patriotic American, this seems to be about as un-American a statement as one could make. Deliberately wanting the president to fail? Certainly there is nothing patriotic about that.
But Limbaugh would later go on Sean Hannity’s show and spin his “four words.” Perhaps he got his cue from Johanna Neumann at the L.A. Times, who said, “maybe Rush meant that he hoped the president’s liberal agenda would fail.” “I hope he fails” became a pompous excursion into Obama’s liberal policies and how there is “something” not quite right about Obama. What Limbaugh meant to say was that he wanted his policies to fail…
And his detractors swooped in, stating that to want Obama to fail was to want the United States to fail. If Obama’s economic policies were to fail, then the United States, and by extension the world, would fall further into an economic depression. If Obama’s foreign policies were to fail, then the United States would be even more reviled by its enemies and detractors (and perhaps some who had not been detractors before). If Obama’s domestic policies were to fail, partisanship on Capitol Hill would worsen and the infrastructure of the country would atrophy and/or degrade even further.
Then President Obama met with Republican lawmakers in an effort at showing a little bipartisanship, which, when looking back, was far more bipartisanship than the Republican-controlled Congress ever gave the Democrats under The Decider, president George W. Bush. In an effort to get a minimum amount of support from the Republicans, he quipped, “You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.”
But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) was not done with the matter. They could not just let the president handle Rush Limbaugh on his own. Instead, they had to make the entire incident into political farce.
On the DCCC website, the executive director, Brian Wolff, calls for Democrats and Obama supporters to rally behind President Obama and sign a petition of solidarity. “Creating real change,” he wrote in a mass e-mail, “requires every American stand strong against Rush Limbaugh’s attacks — and all of the other partisan attacks from desperate Republicans that are on the way.”
Rush Limbaugh responded, according to CNS News: I am greatly puzzled. “Why would the Democrats petition against me if I am doing such terrible damage to the GOP?”
As is customary, Limbaugh chooses flippancy over substance, knowing full well that the DCCC director is looking for inclusion, whereas Limbaugh and his ilk have always made their paycheck by ensuring that divisions continue to exist.
But, again, it is his right.
Petition of solidarity or no, Limbaugh has the right to say whatever he likes. Patriotic or unpatriotic, Rush Limbaugh can hope until he’s cyanotic that Obama will fail. He can even spin it to where he might even believe his own verbal convolutions. It is his right.
Rush Limbaugh, just like every other citizen of the United States, has the right to speak his mind, regardless of how incapacitated that mind may be. He has the right to confer and explain his thoughts with those of like incapacitance, no matter how narrow-minded and short-sighted they may be. And he has the right, as long as he causes no personal detriment to another human being, to his opinion and to be able to convey that opinion however he likes.
Democrats and those who do not agree or dislike Limbaugh also have a right to express themselves. But the petition is all just so much political theatre and plays into the hands of people like Limbaugh. He will start screaming, “censorship,” and play the martyr. He’ll play the victim and say the the Democratic Party is mounting an Inquisition, with Limbaugh as the heretic.
The DCCC should have simply stayed out of the fray. President Obama could have handled someone as minor league as Rush Limbaugh on his own.
As for Limbaugh, his maneuvers are exceeding clear. Division. Divide and subdivide. Apply pressure, verbiage, jingoism, rhetoric as needed.
If getting into a war of words was all the DCCC wanted, all they had to do was issue their own four-word statement to Limbaugh:
“Obama is not Bush.”