This is one of those stories which I initially hoped would just go away, but for some reason it keeps hanging around like that old set of luggage you just can’t take down to the good will store. Our new president made an off hand comment the other day, invoking the name of Right wing blowhard Rush Limbaugh.
“You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.
One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts.
This had a number of GOP supporters up in arms for some reason, and their number included our old friend Ed Morrissey of Hot Air.
Barack Obama ran on a platform of post-partisanship, of healing and uniting a divided nation. Yet it didn’t even take him a week to enter into the partisan fray, taking on the Right’s biggest megaphone — and making it even bigger. Instead of marginalizing Rush Limbaugh, Obama managed to make him the most credible voice of opposition
I’m not sure what’s more disturbing here: accusing Obama of entering into the partisan fray, or referring to Limbaugh as a “credible voice of opposition.” I’m all in favor of Obama’s efforts to move beyond traditional partisan bickering as much as may be possible, but there are limits to how far that can be taken. As in all things, it’s takes two to tango and you aren’t going to have a constructive conversation if one party is packing nothing but flamethrowers. Let’s keep in mind that Limbaugh was the bright bulb who jumped into the fray before Barack had even had time to find the Oval Office bathroom and flatly stated he wants the new administration to fail. Is this somebody who is likely to come to the table for bipartisan discussions? Is this a voice which the loyal opposition should be modeling themselves after?
As to giving Rush a “bigger microphone” that’s a bit tough to swallow. The number of people who have even the slightest passing interest in politics (along with a pulse) who haven’t heard of Limbaugh could likely be measured on one hand. Even if you admire Rush’s many principled stands, such as his encouragement of law enforcement to root out drug addicts wherever they may lurk, I don’t think he needs anyone coming to his defense at this point in time. Nor does Obama need to be criticized for invoking his name as an example of how not to move forward during this transitional period. Limbaugh, in my opinion, has shown himself to be a dishonest actor in these debates many times over and proved himself a suitable target for ridicule. He is far more interested in bolstering the fortunes of the GOP and his own ratings than actually improving things in America. Obama should bing him up every time he wants to point out the shortcomings of what passes for political debate in our country today.