Everyone who happens to turn on news for five minutes knows of the philosophical public battles between Obama, the Democrats and conservatives, targeting radio host, Rush Limbaugh. Today, Jonathan Martin of Politico introduces us to the architects and players in the Alinsky “target and isolate” propaganda campaign via his article, Rush Job: Inside Dem’s Limbaugh plan.
Top Democrats believe they have struck political gold by depicting Rush Limbaugh as the new face of the Republican Party, a full-scale effort first hatched by some of the most familiar names in politics and now being guided in part from inside the White House.
The strategy took shape after Democratic strategists Stanley Greenberg and James Carville included Limbaugh’s name in an October poll and learned their longtime tormentor was deeply unpopular with many Americans, especially younger voters. Then the conservative talk-radio host emerged as an unapologetic critic of Barack Obama shortly before his inauguration, when even many Republicans were showering him with praise.
Soon it clicked: Democrats realized they could roll out a new GOP bogeyman for the post-Bush era by turning to an old one in Limbaugh, a polarizing figure since he rose to prominence in the 1990s.~~~
The seeds were planted in October after Democracy Corps, the Democratic polling company run by Carville and Greenberg, included Limbaugh’s name in a survey and found that many Americans just don’t like him.
“His positives for voters under 40 was 11 percent,” Carville recalled with a degree of amazement, alluding to a question about whether voters had a positive or negative view of the talk show host.
Paul Begala, a close friend of Carville, Greenberg and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, said they found Limbaugh’s overall ratings were even lower than the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s controversial former pastor, and William Ayers, the domestic terrorist and Chicago resident who Republicans sought to tie to Obama during the campaign.
Then came what Begala called “the tripwire.”
“I hope he fails,” Limbaugh said of Obama on his show four days before the president was sworn in. It was a time when Obama’s approval ratings were soaring, but more than that, polls showed even people who didn’t vote for him badly wanted him to succeed, coming to office at a time of economic meltdown.
Let’s repeat that, shall we? This campaign on the GOP (and in effect, any opposition to Obama), per Martin, started last fall and continues with a task force today that emanates from the White House itself.
The progressive/liberals had to adjust their tactics as they realized “that trying to drive a wedge between congressional Republicans and Limbaugh was unlikely to work, and their better move was to paint the GOP as beholden to the talk show host.”
Conversations and email exchanges began taking place in and out of the White House not only between the old pals from the Clinton era but also including White House senior adviser David Axelrod, Deputy Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Woodhouse.
The White House needed no more convincing after Limbaugh’s hour-plus performance Saturday, celebrated on the right and mocked on the left, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he re-stated his hope Obama fails.
“He kicked this into full-gear at CPAC by reiterating it,” said a senior White House official of Limbaugh.
By Sunday morning, Emanuel elevated the strategy by bringing up the conservative talker, unprompted, on CBS’s “Face the Nation” and calling him the “the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party.”
The liberal/progressive propaganda machine is beside themselves with joy that even the RNC Chair, Michael Steele, managed to insert himself in the fray by labeling Rush as an entertainer (which he already admits) who is “incendiary” and espouses some “ugly” talking points. They got even more joy watching Steele furiously backpeddle on his public comments.
Standing apart from the specifics, and watching these events unfold, there are two thoughts I have on all this political backroom strategy of destruction.
First, it truly is beyond all comprehension and acceptability to have the WH use the bully pulpit to quash dissenting voices by insinuating dark falsehoods about a political philosophy they do not share. And it is even more disconcerting that the bully pulpit wasn’t content to dissect Joe the Plumber, but now again goes after another private citizen exercising his first amendment rights – and in keeping with his chosen career.
The second thought I have is… just who is playing whom here? Obviously the WH and their citizen attack force believe they have the upper hand in their strategy.
But do they really? Have they considered the repercussions of a wild backfire? I think not. Let me explain.
This campaign is to get the GOP Congress and public opinion behind Obama’s “remaking of America. And to do this, they need to paint any other philosophy as un-American, and force willing abandonment of the 1st Amendment right – i.e. silencing Rush and their genuine targets, “nae” GOP votes in Congress – by using a herd mentality. This assumes, of course, that conservative voices feel they need to be in a herd. Absurd because that, in itself, is anti-conservative.
The WH and the Democrats want nothing more than a homogenous nation of voices in harmony – all applauding their direction to have the government assume more control over our private lives with increased welfare spending, government curriculum in public schools from pre-school thru higher education, and increased government control in the private sector with their bailouts.
Then again, for this campaign to silence dissent to succeed, Obama’s “remaking of America” in his vision needs to yield successful results. For him, personally, just as long as he holds office. But for Congressional members – who have demonstrated they pretty much *never* leave to get a private sector job – the long term success, or failure, can be the instrument of their demise.
Certainly if Obama’s “remaking” goes thru, they can claim “success” of restructuring America into a European model. Obviously, too many Democrats find this inviting.
But the Democrats are allowing Obama and handlers to put all their political poker chips on a huge gamble of a Euro-America socialist experiment being the choice of the nation’s denizens. The nation may be blinded by Obama’s “inspirational persona” and doesn’t realize Euro-socialist as the goal. But the question is, once they see the results of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid plan, will they be as enthralled with this new America that Obama has “remade”?
I personally don’t think so. Those wishing to emigrate to the US still far outnumber those that wish to repatriate themselves in a Euro-socialist country. There’s a good reason for this with our opportunities and appeal. Yet that inviting appeal is under assault by the new direction under this President.
For the Republicans, this Alinsky assault may be a timely godsend. The so called GOP “moderates”… or Democrat-lites… have been battling the party fiscal conservatives for control after the 2006 and 2008 election losses. Now progressive/liberals are demanding these “moderate” Republicans eat their own. But to do so, the pols know they risk a very large conservative constituency.
This will prove difficult as Rush espouses the ideological platform of the GOP… smaller government, less intrusion into our lives and the business sector, and fiscal responsibility. They cannot openly diss Rush without dissing the heart of the party’s platform.
And this is exactly the goal of the WH and the Democrats… to force the elected GOP Congress to publicly renounce conservatism.
Instead, what may actually result is a furious party, uniting to turn on the Alinsky tactics being used in the attempt to destroy them and the very principles the party [used to] stand on.
There is yet another benefit. It is true Republicans have abandoned this platform for too long. And for this… they have paid the price. They’ve spent with the same abandon that Democrats have when in power. And frankly, they’ve lost the faith of many of their base for doing so.
This public battle brings the conservative philosophy of the Republican Party to the forefront. The Democrats scoff and demonize the conservative platform, while the Democrat-lites with the R behind their name sheepishly remain in defensive mode.
What becomes very obvious is that the fiscal conservatives still wield influence in the party, witnessed by the various “I didn’t really mean it” style comments coming from those GOPers held up by the Dems as Rush bashing…. As if to say “see? Even Republicans don’t like his philosophy”.
Just as the Democrats mischaracterized McCain’s “100 years in Iraq” statement, they are furiously rewriting Rush’s “I want Obama to fail” statement… portraying it as a wish for the nation’s failure. Since most of us know this is about stopping Obama’s “remaking of America” into a Euro-socialist structure, what matters most is if enough people in the nation wake up to the spending frenzy and question the wisdom of this path. Rush, himself, can withstand any mud and liberal excrement thrown his way.
And as to that goal, using Rush to demonize fiscal conservatism doesn’t appear to be working.
Reid had a brief victory when Congress voted to flush McCain’s attempt to strip the omnibus from 8000 earmarks via amendment down the toilet. But all is not well in Progressive Disneyland on the spending bill.
Obama now faces a mutiny on his own – a gang of 15 “moderate” Democrats, headed up by Sen. Evan Bahy (D-IN) that are rebelling against the Omnibus spending.
Moderate and conservative Democrats in the Senate are starting to choke over the massive spending and tax increases in President Barack Obama’s budget plans and have begun plotting to increase their influence over the agenda of a president who is turning out to be much more liberal than they are.
A group of 14 Senate Democrats and one independent huddled behind closed doors on Tuesday, discussing how centrists in that chamber can assert more leverage on the major policy debates that will dominate this Congress.
Afterward, some in attendance made plain that they are getting jitters over the cost and expansive reach of Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget proposal.
Asked when he’d reach his breaking point, Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, said: “Right now. I’m concerned about the amount that’s being offered in [Obama’s] budget.”
Another attendee, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), said she expected the newly formed caucus to shape Obama’s budget proposal as it moves through Congress.
“We want to give the president a chance, but our concern is going to be on the budget, looking forward,” Landrieu said. She added that she agrees with Obama that there needs to be “fundamental change” in fiscal policy, but she said “we do have to keep our eye on the long term, on intermediate and long-term fiscal responsibility.”
Are they next on the list to be demonized for listening to Rush’s conservative message about wasteful spending and big government? Because, like Rush and many conservatives fighting this “remaking of America”, apparently, some of the Democrat ranks are not as sure about this spending spree curing the nation’s economic ills.
The WH / Rahm’bo propaganda machine is likely to continue their attempt to silence opposition, using Rush as their divide and conquer weapon and playing on Obama’s popularity while the numbers, tho dropping, remain high. This may prove politically inconvenient when they end up having to silence some in their own party as well.
Instead – like Obama/Pelosi/Reid’s progressive overreach – what these Alinsky tactics may accomplish instead is fueling the fiscal spending movement. Backfiring on the WH as they find many of their own resisting the gamble on the future.
The WH assault task force may think they are orchestrating a coup. But Rush and many genuine conservatives are not blind to their attempts. Conservative benefits of the WH overtly attacking opposing philosophy are many. So it makes one go “hummm… just who is playing whom”?
Vietnam era Navy wife, indy/conservative, and an official California escapee now residing as a red speck in the sea of Oregon blue.