Green Room

Rush Limbaugh and the Year of the Squirrel

posted at 11:53 am on March 3, 2012 by

It seems like most of the mediasphere cannot stop talking about Rush Limbaugh’s insult of political operative Sandra Fluke. I cannot stop thinking of Up‘s Dug the Dog:

While I like Up, I have seen this version of the movie before:

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey and Allahpundit think they have a disagreement over the point of the anti-Rush Limbaugh campaign being waged by Obama Administration, labor unions and the establishment media. Morrissey calls it a deliberate strategy to cover up the Democrats’ economic incompetence and massively ineffective spending programs. Allahpundit that “the Democrats are really trying to do is rebrand the GOP.” Morrissey thinks any rebranding is ”secondary.”

The reality is that the focus on Limbaugh is all of those things. The GOP is a minority party with no single titular leader at the moment. Obama’s Alinskyite politics require that the Left “pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” The folks running this effort thus go to the influential – yet polarizing — figure of Rush Limbaugh. Doing so necessarily promotes him, with the hope of forcing Republicans to either downplay Limbaugh (driving a wedge between them and their conservative base) or defend him (thereby making a polarizing figure more the face of the GOP). It is no surprise to learn that James Carville and Paul Begala are part of this effort, as it is a variation of the Clinton Administration’s effort to make Newt Gingrich Bob Dole’s running mate in 1996. The people behind this campaign do not see it as an “either-or” proposition; they see it as a “win-win” proposition.

Morrissey is also correct in asserting that it keeps the GOP on defense, though this is largely because GOP functionaries are only now figuring out that the attack on Limbaugh can be used to paint the Democrats as not keeping their eye on the economy, or trying to distract from the poor reception the Democrats’ agenda is getting in the financial markets. The GOP might eventually figure out that they could have used the media’s uncritical parroting of the Left’s campaign against the media, which would quickly stop them from pursuing GOP functionaries about it.

Here we are again, with the WaPo proclaiming Republicans can no longer avoid their “Rush Limbaugh problem,” paired with the obligatory “question raising” coverage in its news coverage. And tiresome concern troll Conor Friedersdorf again demands that the folks at National Review denounce Rush. Meanwhile, Friedersdorf will politely disagree with his mentor Andrew Sullivan on Trig Trutherism and Sullivan’s baseless, ghoulish attempt to blame Sarah Palin for the Gabrielle Giffords shooting without indignantly admitting that Sullivan’s unhinged bile corrodes the public discourse in the same way Friedersdorf believes Rush does. It is all very transparent, but the GOP and its supposed leaders bite anyway. Then again, no one ever accused the GOP of being the Smart Party.

Barack Obama’s campaign to convince voters that “America is back” is a dud, so they want everyone to look at the squirrel. When the media comes asking about Limbaugh, the Republican politician’s response ought to be: “I want to discuss the issues Americans actually care about — don’t you?”

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