The obligatory "Rush challenges Obama to a debate" post

The transcript of this afternoon’s stemwinder is up at his site. Will Gibbs take the bait tomorrow, “counterproductive” though it may be? I’m guessing no, but hope for easy content springs eternal.

A choice passage:

But make no mistake about it. Emanuel is the leader of all of this. Carville and Begala are just trying to ride my fame into their fortune and become relevant again. Begala and Carville, don’t confuse them with the power brokers that are managing this. It all Emanuel. Begala and Carville are second-rate talking heads on CNN. CNN has no audience. Rahm Emanuel is the power behind the throne — and don’t let his effeminate nature and his ballerina past mislead you on this. He may look effeminate (he was a ballerina at one time) but he has the feral instincts of a female rat defending its young. Well, take a look. When Emanuel and Carville and Begala are together (and I’ve seen pictures) it looks like a reunion of the Village People. (singing) Y! M! C! A!

And the big finish:

Rahm Emanuel is leading the team going after a private citizen, and the Drive-By Media applaud, get on board and help further the mission. We live in different times. So if you can wipe me out — and, by the way, Mr. President, and Mr. Emanuel: Don’t make the mistake of assuming I’m wiping myself out here in the process. I want to thank you guys for elevating me beyond the stature I already earned and achieved, because now more and more Americans have the opportunity to learn who you really are, what your ideas will really accomplish, and what damage and harm I think your policies will bring for a very, very long time to them and to this country. So I want to thank you for the opportunity. Obviously, it’s a threat targeting me. I’ve extended the invitation. I’m looking forward to hearing back from whoever in your cabal one way or the other on accepting my offer.

RCP has audio if you’d rather listen. Exit question: I’ve been arguing about this all day with commenters and still haven’t gotten a good answer. Why the fixation on Rush as a “private citizen”? The idea, I take it, is that Obama’s bringing the enormous power of the presidency to bear on a poor, defenseless Joe Public, but Limbaugh’s anything but defenseless (as today’s debate challenge proves) and considerably more powerful, I think we’d all agree, than the average congressman who would be considered fair game as a public official. If the White House had picked him out of a phone book or was rooting around in his trash, that’d be an egregious breach of privacy, but he’s one of the most powerful people in American media, with a following in the millions, and they haven’t done anything untoward (yet?). In fact, strictly speaking, they’re not “going after” him at all. They’re going after the GOP, to tar them by association with Rush and they’re willing to inflate his influence to do so. It’s Republicans who are suffering from having to thread the needle between defending Limbaugh and rejecting the “I want him to fail” rhetoric. What harm has Rush suffered? His stature’s never been greater, as he himself acknowledges right here.