Stuck in Rush Hour
I am about to start begging the cable news networks, especially MSNBC, to please stop their endless looping of Rush Limbaugh’s CPAC speech. You’ve probably seen the clip several times already. It is the one where Limbaugh, dressed like Johnny Cash, brings down the house with his declaration that he wants President Obama to fail. And, it is pretty much all any of the news chat shows have been talking about for the past 48 hours.
As has been reported by, the Democrats clearly see an opportunity here for some mischief-making among Republicans. Just witness their glee at the parade of Republican officials who have attempted to put some daylight between themselves and Limbaugh’s remarks, only to find themselves publicly apologizing to him for their comments a day later.
But it also strikes me that given how diminished the elected Republican leadership is at the moment, Limbaugh may actually be the only conservative with a big enough megaphone to even remotely come close to matching President Obama’s ability to “go public” on the economy. So, in an odd way, he may actually be the party’s best short-term opportunity for keeping some pressure on the Obama Administration’s economic agenda. The groveling by Republican officials certainly doesn’t help, but Rush seems to be the only game in town for them at the moment.
Finally, here is a word of warning to Republican legislators preparing for a guest slot on any of the MSNBC evening talk shows. Be prepared to answer the question, “Do you share Rush Limbaugh’s hope that President Obama fails?” The various hosts have turned your willingness to answer this question into a litmus test for whether you will be allowed to discuss anything else. I remember how angry Democrats used to get when asked on Fox News about whether they wanted President Bush to fail in Iraq. I realize that for many Democrats turnabout is fair play, but I find this Rush job to be equally distasteful. As was true for the Iraq debate, the tactic inhibits any meaningful discussion of legitimate policy differences.


Posted On: 03-05-2009 17:33:11 by Jim Splaine
Rush Limbaugh and those who are in league with him are off the mark, and should be called out by talk show hosts and good reporters everywhere. I think it's quite proper -- and professional -- for any interviewer to ask a Republican guest if he/she agrees with Rush Limbaugh that the President should fail. It's up to that interviewee to then make it clear which policy(s) there is disagreement with, and that Rush Limbaugh is out to lunch. The substantive discussion can't happen when you have people like Rush Limbaugh leading the talk. This guy doesn't believe there are poor people, people without health care through no fault of their own, or such a thing as Global Warming/Climate Change. So how can you have a legitimate discussion with the guy? And do the Republicans, even the right-wingers, actually want him to be considered anything like their spokesperson?

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