I really don't want my blog to become a political wasteland, but the news of the day dictates that I respond to President Obama's lashing out against Rush Limbaugh. From the New York Post:
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."
President Obama is correct in his sentiments, but I hope he did not just make a giant political blunder. When I was a kid getting picked on on the school playground, the best advice I ever received from my parents and teachers was to ignore my enemies - because they only thing they were interested in was getting me to react to their taunts. Well, now that Obama has reacted to Rush, he's given Limbaugh enough material to last until April Fools Day!
Instead of encouraging bipartisan spirit, I fear the President may have inadverently damaged it. Remember - Rush Limbaugh (and other talk hosts, including liberals) has no interest in playing nice with the President and Congress. Divisiveness is the coin of the realm in talk radio. Here's the take from radio industry analyst Tom Taylor in his column at radio-info.com:
Barack Obama’s already challenging Rush Limbaugh by name.
A tricky game – and one that Rush probably can’t lose at. He’s getting that “made you look!” kind of attention that he and his base dearly love. While new President Obama will have to do this very delicately, to make it clear to most Americans that he’s talking about Limbaugh’s old-style partisanship and its receding relevance. Otherwise – Obama could get mired in the same-old “vast right-wing conspiracy” riff that made Hillary Clinton an object of hilarity among movement conservatives. But Obama’s clearly thought about it and on his third full day in office he advised Republicans that they “can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done” with the new administration. Of course Rush doesn’t want to “get along” – he wants to throw rocks at the White House.