Obama picks a fight with the wrong person; goes about it the wrong way
President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.
"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.
"There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats," the official said. "We shouldn't let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done."
Now why do I say this was a stupid move? Let's start with the obvious: He just gave him a ton of free publicity. He also gave him more attention which means people are going to tune into his show and hear what he has to say about this little dust-up. Like him or not, the last thing any politician should do is draw attention to a very popular media figure, especially one that gets 20 million-plus listeners a day.
Rush fired back via NRO's Byron York, and, as usual, he was spot-on:
There are two things going on here. One prong of the Great Unifier's plan is to isolate elected Republicans from their voters and supporters by making the argument about me and not about his plan. He is hoping that these Republicans will also publicly denounce me and thus marginalize me. And who knows? Are ideological and philosophical ties enough to keep the GOP loyal to their voters? Meanwhile, the effort to foist all blame for this mess on the private sector continues unabated when most of the blame for this current debacle can be laid at the feet of the Congress and a couple of former presidents. And there is a strategic reason for this.
Secondly, here is a combo quote from the meeting:
"If we don't get this done we (the Democrats) could lose seats and I could lose re-election. But we can't let people like Rush Limbaugh stall this. That's how things don't get done in this town."
To make the argument about me instead of his plan makes sense from his perspective. Obama's plan would buy votes for the Democrat Party, in the same way FDR's New Deal established majority power for 50 years of Democrat rule, and it would also simultaneously seriously damage any hope of future tax cuts. It would allow a majority of American voters to guarantee no taxes for themselves going forward. It would burden the private sector and put the public sector in permanent and firm control of the economy. Put simply, I believe his stimulus is aimed at re-establishing "eternal" power for the Democrat Party rather than stimulating the economy because anyone with a brain knows this is NOT how you stimulate the economy. If I can be made to serve as a distraction, then there is that much less time debating the merits of this TRILLION dollar debacle.
Obama was angry that Merrill Lynch used $1.2 million of TARP money to remodel an executive suite. Excuse me, but didn't Merrill have to hire a decorator and contractor? Didn't they have to buy the new furnishings? What's the difference in that and Merrill loaning that money to a decorator, contractor and goods supplier to remodel Warren Buffet's office? Either way, stimulus in the private sector occurs. Are we really at the point where the bad PR of Merrill getting a redecorated office in the process is reason to smear them? How much money will the Obamas spend redecorating the White House residence? Whose money will be spent? I have no problem with the Obamas redoing the place. It is tradition. 600 private jets flown by rich Democrats flew into the Inauguration. That's fine but the auto execs using theirs is a crime? In both instances, the people on those jets arrived in Washington wanting something from Washington, not just good will.
If I can be made to serve as a distraction, then there is that much less time debating the merits of the trillion dollar debacle.
Obama seems to think that Rush is stalling this pork-a-palooza non-stimulus package, and that's not even close to the truth. There's no lovefest going on between Rush and John McCain, and the latter appears to be against the stimulus package because he sees, as many do, that there's nothing in it to stimulate the economy. He's not stalling anything. He has a simple job -- far more simple than being president. He's a commentator and an entertainer.
Did we ever see President Bush call out his detractors by name? No. Did we ever hear him whine about the media, in general? No. Why didn't we hear that? Because politicians have more important things to do than pick a fight with the fourth rail of politics. This was a stupid move, and it will disappear soon enough from any sort of news coverage unless Obama doubles down against Rush after Rush's show today. It's almost a guarantee that Rush is going to milk this retarded decision by Obama to call him out. And if Obama does take another swipe at him, you can bet that Rush will fire back. Unlike Rush, Democrats seem content to shoot themselves in the foot, repeatedly.