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A Fool and His Influence

Barack Obama once again showed why he is not up to the job, when he decided to personally antagonize radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. This latest decision, consistent with most of Obama's judgment calls since winning the White House, has once again shown President Obama to be the most paranoid and divisive President since Nixon.

Let's start with the mechanics of Obama deciding to attack Limbaugh. Yes, Limbaugh mocked Obama's stimulus plan and said he hoped Obama would fail, since in Limbaugh's opinion Obama is a socialist who is a threat to the United States. That, however, is Limbaugh's right as a private citizen, to hold his opinion and speak it freely, even into a microphone on a popular radio talk show. It is not appropriate for government officials to appear to be oppressing free speech, but that is precisely the move Obama chose. On January 23, President Obama demanded that Republicans not even listen to Limbaugh's show if they wanted any chance of participating in the stimulus bill discussion.

For all the false claims that President Bush was a fascist, this action by Obama comes far closer to actual fascism than anything even imagined in the last decade. President Obama not only painted his administration in the colors of suppressing free speech and attempting to stifle open debate on critical legislation, he inadvertently raised Limbaugh's influence profile to that of the national government. Rush Limbaugh's identity went overnight from 'annoying self-righteous individual' to 'legitimate opposition leader', because in his attack the president chose to treat Limbaugh as someone as worthy of his attention as any head of state or political faction. Obama could have ignored him as a no-account nuisance, the way most presidents ignore the noisy jibes from wanna-be populists, but instead he accomplished the exact opposite of his intent.

The secondary effect of Obama's latest blunder was a further bullet in his façade of bipartisan leadership. The Telegraph in England, for example, noted that "after less than a week in office, Mr Obama's presidency is already encountering the very partisan bickering he had pledged to stamp out during his first 100 days." The Telegraph further noted the dishonesty of Obama's pretense by noting that "the president responded with a clear signal that he is prepared to ram the bill through without the bipartisan consensus he promised to construct, telling Republican leaders from the House of Representatives: "I won. I'm the president."

Barack Obama somehow fooled himself into imagining that no one would say bad things about him once he was president, that he would face no mockery or ridicule as the highest-profile figurehead in the world. He somehow believed that he could pass himself off as 'post-partisan' while simultaneously demanding that everything be done his way. Anyone familiar with American politics, let alone recent events, would have known better, but Obama bought into his own spin too far to accept reality when it did not march in his parade. As a result he diluted the value of his own brand, and tacitly granted equal merit to an unelected entertainer. At this point the best course for the Obama Administration would be to quietly back away and pretend the dustup never happened.

- continued -

The second major reason that Obama's attacks on Limbaugh were unwise, is the effect that action had on the debate surrounding Obama's plans. Loading a trillion dollars more debt onto the taxpayers for a bill which guaranteed not even one private-sector job, did not save one house already facing foreclosure, and which made no effort at all to save even one private industry company in crisis, is more than controversial on its own merit; the Obama Administration needed to lead the debate on its merits, not allow itself to lose focus and create doubt as to how well it planned its policies. Reacting emotionally to a talk show host sends out the signal that Obama is worried about anyone looking closely at his proposals. Certainly the apparent contradictions are causing people to wonder about the plans, and not just talk show hosts:

In the midst of signing and proposing massive spending bills, the president announces his plans to cut the deficit in half

The president urged the Congress to pass his massive 'stimulus' package with admonitions that delay could be catastrophic, yet the bulk of the bill's effects won't occur until late 2010 at the earliest

The president has repeatedly promised that 95% of "working families" will see a tax cut, but only 66% of working Americans actually pay any taxes to begin with
The president has announced plans to close the terrorist incarceration facility at Guantanamo, on the basis that the site was inhumane, yet investigators have determined that the Guantanamo site was not inhumane, indeed was superior to many places the inmates would be transferred to. Yet the shut-down is still scheduled to occur, even as the Obama Administration admits that in some cases it considers rendition to be an appropriate option

Given the lack of civil discussion on the issues, a reasonable observer might well conclude that the Obama Administration is not able to defend its policies on a rational basis. The juvenile spat between the president and the radio host only adds support to that belief.


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Comments (54)

What are you quoting at the... (Below threshold)

What are you quoting at the end there, DJ?

Ah C'mon DJ, I think Rush c... (Below threshold)

Ah C'mon DJ, I think Rush can handle this.

Reacting emotionally to ... (Below threshold)

Reacting emotionally to a talk show host sends out the signal that Obama is worried about anyone looking closely at his proposals.

You're right. Obama is worried. The truth is in the details.

Maybe we all should send hi... (Below threshold)

Maybe we all should send him DVDs...Dumb and Dumber would be a good choice...

The way Gibbs has handled a... (Below threshold)

The way Gibbs has handled any of the media criticizing him is immature and unprofessional. All this sniping has done is raised the rating for these media figures and lower the credibility of the White House. Then, having a enemies list and attacking Rush just adds fuel to the fire. All this does his help Rush and hurt Obama. He cannot outwit Rush who has been doing this for decades. Clinton who had more political saavy could not defeat Rush. Obama does not stand a chance.


If Obama's hair is turning ... (Below threshold)

If Obama's hair is turning grey this fast, even with a complicit House and Senate, and a worshiping MSM, by the time spring rolls around, he'll look like he's ready for the 'home'.

If he gets this stressed after only 6 weeks and pretty much getting his own way, how much actual stress will it take before he cracks? (Is Joe Biden measuring the drapes prior to the One's being sent 'for observation'?)

DJ -Comparing Obam... (Below threshold)

DJ -

Comparing Obama to Nixon?

Oh, please!

Nixon was a skilled, if somewhat corrupt, politician, who put the country first... even though you could argue whether what he did was for the good of the country. When he saw he was harming the country (and faced with impeachment) he stepped down.

Obama's a 'community organizer' that's been pushed, pulled, and hoisted WAY above his pay grade and competence.

There's no comparison!

Obama is even weaker and mo... (Below threshold)

Obama is even weaker and more pathetic than I feared he would be.

Yes, tactically this has be... (Below threshold)

Yes, tactically this has been terrible for Obama. Huge mistake - it's why we are seeing such a surge in Republican popularity these days.

I mentioned this in an earl... (Below threshold)

I mentioned this in an earlier thread. This behavior cheapens the presidency. He should stand on his plan. Now here come the trolls:

Bruce Henry: You didn't capilize correctly.

JFO: Keep whining wingnuts

Hyper: He has only been in office 55 days.

Brian: On April 3rd, 1972 Nixon said...!

Barry is actually behaving like the conservatives said he would. As if he didn't have a clue. Look at the Treasury Secretary. He is obviously overwhelmed. What does Barry do, attack a radio talk show host. ww

This is just another partis... (Below threshold)

This is just another partisan lie. Obama NEVER "personally antagonized" Rush Limbaugh. Show me a quote. And, since when did Limbaugh get so sensitive?

hermie - I think you are on... (Below threshold)

hermie - I think you are on to something.

I heard Obama's tone of voice and it didn't sound presidential, it sounded... I don't have the vocabulary. It sounded like Obama was stressing. If he is stressing already, oh oh. The bad news is Biden is next in line. More oh oh!

Pass the beer nuts.

Brian: On April 3rd, 197... (Below threshold)

Brian: On April 3rd, 1972 Nixon said...!

I'm flattered by your infatuation with me, willie, but you should probably rip yourself away from the keyboard and go see your optometrist and/or therapist.

This article demonstrates h... (Below threshold)

This article demonstrates how divorced from reality DJ is. DJ, you might want to think about getting professional help.

Ah! The predictable trolls.... (Below threshold)

Ah! The predictable trolls. Gotta love 'em.

I am not a huge McCain fan, but when he said the presidency is not a place for on the job training, he was right on. Barry has the deer in a headlights look about all the time now. ww

Mr Drummond, you know damn ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Mr Drummond, you know damn well that Obama's offhand remark, "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," was not an attempt to "stifle free speech."

If you're not being purposely misleading, you are deluded.

And, I don't know if it's deliberate or not, but depicting Limbaugh as the de facto head of the GOP can only help Obama. Most independent voters loathe the gasbag radio talkshow format he invented, and the obnoxious, unhelpful, and bigoted things they hear Limbaugh saying.

If Limbaugh's NOT the head of the GOP, who is? Steele? Mitt Freaking Romney? Mike the Huckster?

You usually write thoughtful pieces. This rabble-rousing post is unworthy of you, sir.

Oh, and Willie? It's "capitalize," not "capilize."

JohnRJOB - Nice to see the... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

JohnRJOB - Nice to see the DNC's blog patrol hard at work.

Just one for the memories file - D'ya remember about a week after 9/11 when Bill Maher said the hijackers were not "cowards" but in their own twisted way courageous (not entirely untrue), and the White House press sec (Fleischer?) said people "needed to be careful what they say, as feelings are raw"? Oh, the hue and cry, the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the left. "How DARE he tell us what to say, yabbada yabbada." And all he did say was to be careful of people's feelings. But that was "totally unacceptable" and "dictatorial".

Obama called out Rush by name. It doesn't matter whether he technically "personally antagonized" him or anything like it. He did unequivocably set him up as an adversary or opponent, if not an enemy, by calling him out that way. Bush did not do that even once to a citizen of the country he led. (Arguably, the ONLY people Bush called out as enemies by name were Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. NEVER a US citizen, not once.)

The entire point here is that no one alive thinks Rush is harmed here. The issue is whether this is remotely appropriate for a US President to do to a citizen. It most inarguably is not, and is the latest in a growing line of decisions that seem amateurish in the extreme. (Some say diabolical, but I am not ready to go there..... yet.)

The one person that really ... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

The one person that really understands what President Obama is going through is . . .

George W. Bush.

When you're an empty suit, ... (Below threshold)

When you're an empty suit, you don't want someone constantly pointing it out. They may begin to notice.

Personally, I think it's going to be funnier than hell if Obama turns out to be the Democrat's Nixon.

I remember Maher's show was... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

I remember Maher's show was cancelled because of those remarks, so he did pay a price. Any anger I felt about it was toward ABC, not Ari Fleischer.

Look, it was an offhand remark. The press leaped on it, and Gibbs said some stuff, and it snowballed.

You may think it denotes amateurism, but it could just as easily be seen as an attempt to paint the whole GOP as just as arrogant, bigoted, obnoxious, and clueless as Rush. If Independent voters come to believe that Limbaugh is the voice of the Republican party, the Republican party is doomed. 14 million listeners do not an electoral majority make.

I think the little site the... (Below threshold)

I think the little site the DCCC set up to mock Rush backfires. That is if you read the address: http://www.dccc.org/content/sorry

Yep, the content at that site is pretty sorry.

Anyone hear a response from the White House about debating Rush?

Pass the popcorn and beer, PLEASE!

bh - "If Limbaugh's NOT... (Below threshold)

bh - "If Limbaugh's NOT the head of the GOP, who is? Steele? Mitt Freaking Romney? Mike the Huckster?"

Well gee, you may be onto something. He not the head of the GOP{ Steele is. The reality is Limbaugh the "head" of the conservative movement. At best.

bh - "You may think it denotes amateurism, but it could just as easily be seen as an attempt to paint the whole GOP as just as arrogant, bigoted, obnoxious, and clueless as Rush."

If that's true do you think it's becoming of a president to imply in any way that line of thought?

GarandFan,Obama co... (Below threshold)


Obama could never be the Dem's Nixon because the press would actively cover for any wrong doing, so no one would know about it.

Does anyone actually think that a press that deliberately ignored John Edward's affair but put Sarah Palin's husband's 20 year old DUI on the front page, would investigate anything that could tarnish or potentially harm Obama's presidency?

The press has sold it's soul.

Of course this isn't just a... (Below threshold)

Of course this isn't just about painting the whole GOP as just arrogant and bigoted. It's about power. And with the bully pulpit, MSM propaganda machine behind him, and legions of OBama-bots, he can and will attack anyone who dares to criticize him.

So far, the White House has called out Rush and Cramer. Who's next? Who in media will dare mock the One?

Also, I'd rather be part of that 14 million minority that part of Obama's brainwashed majority any day.

Bruce - "but it could just... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

Bruce - "but it could just as easily be seen as an attempt to paint the whole GOP as just as arrogant....."

Which categorically means that Obama was being a shameless scam artist when he promised to rise above all that and bring a "change" to politics.

Was is so staggering, and as joh up there would attest, is that Bush REALLY and TRULY NEVER and I mean NEVER persoanlly attacked any of his adversaries. Ever. Enough so that he drove his own defenders nuts by a seeming unwillingness to engage, and put all of that on subordinates and even "voluneteers", if you will. Bush really and truly saw the office as higher than all that, and ALL attacks against him as just part of the job.

Bush was serene, Obama is pricklym thin-skinned and resentful. That is "change" for the better. Up is down, black is white, Oceana has always been at war with Eurasia.

Rush Limbaugh is a hate-bas... (Below threshold)

Rush Limbaugh is a hate-based, socially retarded entertainer. No different thatn a Lenny Bruce in his era.
I will celebrate the day that Satan calls him back to hell.

Rush Limbaugh doesn't reall... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Rush Limbaugh doesn't really matter very much. Today at the White House the president hosted a serious summit on health care with Democratic, Republican, health care professionals, HMOs and other interested parties to collectively seek some common goals. Rush Limbaugh by comparison has only managed a radio talk show, and the only jobs he has ever provided are for himself to the tune of $33 million a year in salary.

You guys are funny. Why wou... (Below threshold)

You guys are funny. Why would someone who has power be scared of a barely educated hypocrite who speaks to a tiny minority of right wingers? Rush is the political equivalent of a pro wrestler; a big, showy gasbag just trying to make a buck.
Please keep taking the republican party in this direction. Have fun living life on the fringes of society.

Limbaugh is back to doing w... (Below threshold)

Limbaugh is back to doing what he does best-

Getting the Republican base to attack the Republicans trying to really do something-the ones that have to govern, and getting the Republican base fractured up and fighting each other.

He's got the Republican commentariat fighting each othr and off message, for awhile they were united and attacking and exposing the lies of Obama now they are busy trying to defend Limbaugh who really hasn't done much for the GOP.

Limbaugh has only donated $2,000 to Republican candidates since 1991.

If only the Republican base and rabble rousers would defend their military's objectives, their President, and politicians with half the vehemency they do Limbaugh, Malkin et al.

If they forgave their politicans as much as they overlook in Limbaugh-again it might all be a different story.

We might not be sitting here watching the Great Undoing we are today.

Malkin and Limbaugh did more to undermine Republicans than any Democrat could have ever hope to.

The anger coming from them is because they are projecting.

They know they sat on their hands to "teach the Republicans a lesson".

The only thing is-they are never going to get it back in their lifetime-Obama is going to be more entrenched than FDR-Republicans were out in the wilderness for fifty years after that.

Wow, the Obolshevik agit-pr... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

Wow, the Obolshevik agit-prop shock troops have arrived, orders in hand.

Your little twitters must be all abuzz!

Have fun living life on the... (Below threshold)

Have fun living life on the fringes of society.

That's where were all headed, thanks to Obama's economic "plan".

Marc, as I said, it was an ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Marc, as I said, it was an offhand remark that the press jumped on. Everybody knows who Rush is. If Obama had said, "You can't just listen to Michael Savage and get anything done," do you think there would have been such a firestorm?

By the way, do you think it is becoming of a President to sneak up on the female Chancellor of Germany and give her a surprise backrub?

I hesitate to reply to marc at all, because, pretty soon, we'll be arguing about what "unbecoming" means. Marc likes stuff like that.

By that I mean the Repubica... (Below threshold)

By that I mean the Repubican voters that were convinced by the tantrums of Limbaugh and Malkin not to vote for the Republican candidates that didn't agree with the two of them 110%.

Really stupid they have no one to blame but themselves-but ya it's Steele's head we must now have on a platter.

The main complaint that Rush Limbaugh had was that Steele thought he should dare to do media-

Get out of Limbaugh's way h'e ready for his close up.

Thing is Steele was trying to do what Republicans have sorely needed to do for decades-

present a likeable agreeable positon in the media of television after all the song is'nt radio killed the video star.

You lefties are missing the... (Below threshold)

You lefties are missing the point, AGAIN. It is Barry and his politico's that are worried about Rush. ww

Robert Gibbs said the follo... (Below threshold)

Robert Gibbs said the following about Rick Santelli:

"I've watched Mr.Santelli on cable the past 24 hours or so. I'm not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives. But the American people are struggling every day to meet their mortgage, stay in their jobs, pay their bills, send their kids to school, hope they don't get sick or somebody they care for gets sick and sends them into bankruptcy."

Offhand quotes? I see a pattern of the White House, funded by our tax dollars, calling out private citizens by name that are critical of the Obama administration.

If anyone is doing the anta... (Below threshold)

If anyone is doing the antagonizing, it's blabbermouth Rush. Obama is doing an excellent job considering the circumstances he walked into at the beginning of his presidency.

Obama is doing an excellent... (Below threshold)

Obama is doing an excellent job considering the circumstances he walked into at the beginning of his presidency.

Obama is Herbert Hoover Cubed. If the market is any indication of the "excellent job" he's doing. I'd hate to see what happens when he screws up.

"considering the circums... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"considering the circumstances he walked into at the beginning of his presidency"

True that Craig, in only two years the Dem controlled congress has left us in potentially dire straights. Of course now with Obama at the helm, the "potentially" is all but gone.

Hey Obamoids - You're here ... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

Hey Obamoids - You're here in force, so what say we close this up and move on to Wizbang's lead.

A gift from the people of Great Britain to the President of the US:

Mr. Brown gave Obama an ornamental pen holder constructed from the timbers of the anti-slavery ship HMS Gannet, once also named HMS President.

He also gave a framed commission for the HMS Resolute. The desk in the Oval Office is itself made from the timbers of the HMS Resolute. The Resolute has symbolic history between the two countries.

Lastly, Mr. Brown gave Obama a first edition set of the seven-volume classic biography of Winston Churchill, written by Sir Martin Gilbert.

-- The gift of the American President to the people and leader of our oldest and closest ally:

a 25 DVD set of classic American films, purchasable at Amazon.com by any one us at any time.

Also (not mentioned), Brown's gift to the Obama kids, high class clothing and accoutrements. From the Obama's to the Brown kids? Models of Marine One helicopter, purchasable from the White House gift shop at $15 per.

So lay it us guys. Tell us why this is another glowing example of wise and thougtful leadership, I can't wait.

(And I'd request you do Wizbang the honor of replying in that forum, not this one.)

Marc: "If that's true do... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Marc: "If that's true do you think it's becoming of a president to imply in any way that line of thought?"

I think thats what our leftist friends call "postpartisanship".

"Obama is Herbert Hoover... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"Obama is Herbert Hoover Cubed."

If ony that were true we'd be sooooooo less screwed. Obama is Roosevelt taken to the Cartereth power.

jp2: care to comment on th... (Below threshold)

jp2: care to comment on this chart? You know, the one that has declining Dem and imporving Rep popularity?

Stick with just the Rasmussen polls and it's getting better every day for Republicans.

Rush is happy for the bone ... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Rush is happy for the bone Obama threw him with *The Acknowledgement of Limbaugh's Existence.*. It'll keep Limbaugh in Oxycondin until he od's and chokes on his own vomit.

mike-WA - "Rush Limbaug... (Below threshold)

mike-WA - "Rush Limbaugh is a hate-based, socially retarded entertainer. No different thatn a Lenny Bruce in his era.
I will celebrate the day that Satan calls him back to hell."

And I'd be willing to bet someone who displays such disdain and hatred for someone they've never met will be right there at the gates of Hell to great Rush.


bh - "I hesitate to rep... (Below threshold)

bh - "I hesitate to reply to marc at all, because, pretty soon, we'll be arguing about what "unbecoming" means. Marc likes stuff like that.

Shiny object.. or back rub.

I vote the later.

As far as what I like, you haven't clue #1. But it was a valiant effort in avoiding a reasonable question.

The DNC, in their infinite ... (Below threshold)

The DNC, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to erect a billboard for Rush in Palm Springs. They are soliciting suggestions for the message to be displayed on their website, democratsdotorg. I have submitted three suggestions already and encourage others to do so also. Who knew that Rush couldn't afford his own advertising.

The lefties have chimed in ... (Below threshold)

The lefties have chimed in with all of the obligatory attacks against Rush (I hardly ever listen to his show btw) and have yet to explain why Obama's tacit anknowledgment of this o so terrible man does not only serve to cheapen his own presidency.
Shouldn't Obama and his administration be above a two bit entertainer that you lot can't seem to heap enough invective on?
Perhaps you could expain why this behavior is more enlightened than a hypothetical attack by Bush on Micheal Moore would have been.

The Dems demonizing of Rush... (Below threshold)

The Dems demonizing of Rush goes back further than Obama. The "One" is just following the lead of his Democrat predecessor - da Slick One. If memory serves me right, Der Slickmeister is the one that blamed Rush for the Oklahoma City bombing and as a secondary measure conservative talk radio. So there is nothing new here, just the "Messiah" has ramped up the attacks on Rush even further. Oh by the way, it is Obama's unabashed spending that has pulled the Republican Party back from the brink of destruction and will lead to the final destruction of the Democrat party, not Rush Limbaugh.

Stan, it needs to be mentio... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

Stan, it needs to be mentioned that (I am going by memory here) I do not believe Clinton mentioned Rush by name over Oklahoma. He DID categorically try to link it to "hate radio", an obnoxious allusion, but I do not think he singled anyone out.

I make this point because there is a huge difference (that the Obamoid agit-prop troops here are incapable of getting) between a President making general accusations, founded or unfounded, fair or unfair, and singling out US citizens who are in oppostion to him but are not nationally elected politicans who have "bought into the game", if you will.

The reason I say Rush here ... (Below threshold)

The reason I say Rush here was that at the time, Rush was the only one that had any kind of a following. All of the rest were just getting their feet wet. Sean Hannity was just doing guest host spots and Neil Boortz was just heard in the Atlanta area at the time.

Hey, I thought the election... (Below threshold)

Hey, I thought the election was over! Shouldn't the messiah be concentrating about other things than radio hosts ripping on him? Talk about thin skin.

Jonnybconservative -... (Below threshold)

Jonnybconservative - he should but has this minor deficiency. Obama has never had to make executive decisions and, based on the record of the last 40 days, doesn't know how.

He does know how to campaign, so he does that instead. Campaigns require opponents. Hence the attacks on critics.

Brian: On April 3rd, 197... (Below threshold)

Brian: On April 3rd, 1972 Nixon said...!

Hey willie, I'm still waiting for you to point out where I said that. Or is this another in your long history of drive-by lies?

Brian - think irony mixed w... (Below threshold)

Brian - think irony mixed with sarcasm.

The lack of quotes might be a clue too.






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