Democrats Find The Nut
I think it is a very positive sign that Democrats are painting their bretheren on the other side of the aisle into a serious corner by asserting very loudly that the Republican Party is the party of Limbaugh. This is no longer the musings of a few bloggers or a section of the left but a calculated strategy at the top level of the party.
SCHIEFFER: Who do you think now speaks for the Republican Party?
EMANUEL: You just named him: it is Rush Limbaugh. He has laid out his vision, in my view. And he said it clearly. I compliment him for that. He's been very up front and I compliment him for that. He's not hiding. He's asked for President Obama and called for President Obama to fail. That's his view. And that's what he has enunciated. And whenever a Republican criticizes him, they have to run back and apologize to him and say they were misunderstood. He is the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party. He has been up front about what he views and hasn't stepped back from that, which is he hopes for failure. He said it and I compliment him for his honesty. But that's their philosophy that is enunciated by Rush Limbaugh and I think that's the wrong philosophy for America.
The right-wing noise machine has consistently taken figures like Ward Churchill or Michael Moore or Some Guy With A Sign Somewhere and elevated them to leadership of the Democratic Party. The only difference in doing the same with Rush Limbaugh is that, in his case, it's actually true. His closing speech to the largest conservative gathering in America, which practically every 2012 Presidential candidate in the GOP attended, is proof of this. Tom Schaller writes:
Strip away the platitudes and cheap applause lines about freedom, self-reliance and the virtues of capitalism, and you're left with the subject that really interests Rush Limbaugh: himself. The conservative talker with the self-professed "talent on loan from God" spoke incessantly in the first person: there were more "I's" in his CPAC address than in an Idaho potato field. One clear message emerged from the speech:
"Le mouvement conservative, c'est moi."
And it's a message that makes some of the nominal leaders of the Republican Party uncomfortable.
In particular, the "I want Obama to fail" line, on which Rush has dug in his heels, is being used as a club against every Republican speaker. Eric Cantor on George Stephanopoulos' show this morning was a good example:
STEPHANOPOULOS: So the Rush Limbaugh approach of hoping the president fails is not the Eric Cantor House Republican approach?
CANTOR: George, absolutely not and I don't think anyone wants anything to fail right now, we have such challenges.
Every time an elected Republican disavows Limbaugh, they drive the base further into his arms. This is a real death spiral for the GOP. They've created a monster in talk radio, and have empowered a backlash figure who is actually unpopular outside the fringes of the base. And Democrats are no longer afraid to use Limbaugh as a weapon, which is extremely encouraging.
This is a very worthwhile project.