Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Operation Hog Bait

It should come as no surprise when Rahm Emmanuel brilliantly characterizes Rush Limbaugh as "the voice, energy and intellect of the GOP".
The Politico details the Democrat's plan to make Rush the face of the GOP.
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.

Just how low are Limbaugh's numbers? Pretty damn low.
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.

The best part of this strategy is Rush keeps playing directly into their hands, and the congressional Republicans have been caught in the middle. As the strategy has continued more and more congressional Republicans (and the pathetic RNC head Michael Steele) have tried to break with Limbaugh, only to issue abject apologies (see here, here and here).

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