A bad time to "pee on Mr. Limbaugh's leg"

Was it smart politics and good policy? No. For one thing, it gave the lie to Barack Obama’s talk about ending “the political strategy that’s been all about division” and “the score-keeping and the name-calling.” The West Wing looked populated by petulant teenagers intent on taking down a popular rival. Such talk also shortens the president’s honeymoon by making him look like a street-fighting Chicago pol instead of an inspirational, unifying figure. The upward spike in ratings for Rush and other conservative radio commentators shows how the White House’s attempt at a smackdown instead energized the opposition.

Did it do any good with voters not strongly tied to either party? I suspect not. With stock markets down, unemployment growing, banks tottering, consumers anxious, business leaders nervous, and the economy shrinking, the Obama administration’s attacks on a radio talk show host made it seem concerned with the trivial…

In the face of our enormous economic challenges, top White House aides decided to pee on Mr. Limbaugh’s leg. This is a political luxury the country cannot afford, and which Mr. Obama would be wise to forbid. Or did he not mean it when he ran promising to “turn the page” on the “old” politics?