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Enemies List: White House Plots Limbaugh Coverage

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by JBond, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone else remember a sitting President organizing an personal attack campaign against a citizen? I'm sure in private many presidents were not happy about what was said about them, but I do not recall this type of organized attack. I certainly don't remember an administration bragging about attacks on citizens that disagree with them.

    Obama needs to grow up. The whining cry baby act may have played well in Chicago but he is now President of the United States and he needs to start acting like it.

    ENEMIES LIST: WHITE HOUSE PLOTS LIMBAUGH COVERAGE



    Top Democrats believe they have struck political gold by depicting Rush Limbaugh as the new face of the Republican Party, a full-scale effort first hatched by some of the most familiar names in politics and now being guided in part from inside the White House.

    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.

    Limbaugh is embracing the line of attack, suggesting a certain symbiosis between him and his political adversaries.

    "The administration is enabling me,” he wrote in an e-mail to POLITICO. “They are expanding my profile, expanding my audience and expanding my influence. An ever larger number of people are now being exposed to the antidote to Obamaism: conservatism, as articulated by me. An ever larger number of people are now exposed to substantive warnings, analysis and criticism of Obama's policies and intentions, a ‘story’ I own because the [mainstream media] is largely the Obama Press Office.”

    The bigger, the better, agreed Carville. “It’s great for us, great for him, great for the press,” he said of Limbaugh. “The only people he’s not good for are the actual Republicans in Congress.”

    If Limbaugh himself were to coin a phrase for it, he might call it Operation Rushbo – an idea that started out simply enough but quickly proved to be deeply resonant by a rapid succession of events, say Democrats inside and outside the West Wing.

    The seeds were planted in October after Democracy Corps, the Democratic polling company run by Carville and Greenberg, included Limbaugh’s name in a survey and found that many Americans just don’t like him.

    “His positives for voters under 40 was 11 percent,” Carville recalled with a degree of amazement, alluding to a question about whether voters had a positive or negative view of the talk show host.

    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 Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was the first to jump on the statement, sending the video to its membership to raise cash and stir a petition drive.

    We helped get the ball rolling on this because we’re looking and listening to different Republican voices around the country, and the one that was the loudest and getting the most attention was Rush Limbaugh,” explained DCCC chairman and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

    The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank run by former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta, also pounced on Limbaugh's "fail" line, drawing attention to it on their well-read blog.

    Soon after, Americans United for Change, a liberal group, was airing Limbaugh’s statement in an ad aimed at pushing Senate Republicans to support the stimulus bill.

    “It just cropped up out of how much play that comment was getting on the air,” said Brad Woodhouse, who runs the group and is about to take over as communications director at the Democratic National Committee. “When we did it and it generated so much press, it just started to snowball from there.”

    But liberals quickly realized that trying to drive a wedge between congressional Republicans and Limbaugh was unlikely to work, and their better move was to paint the GOP as beholden to the talk show host.

    This was driven home to them, according to one Democrat, when Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) took a shot at Limbaugh in late January only to appear on his program the next day and plead having momentarily had “foot-in-mouth disease.”

    By February, Carville and Begala were pounding on Limbaugh frequently in their appearances on CNN.

    Neither Democrat would say so, but a third source said the two also began pushing the idea of targeting Limbaugh in their daily phone conversations with Emanuel.

    Conversations and email exchanges began taking place in and out of the White House not only between the old pals from the Clinton era but also including White House senior adviser David Axelrod, Deputy Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Woodhouse.

    The White House needed no more convincing after Limbaugh’s hour-plus performance Saturday, celebrated on the right and mocked on the left, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he re-stated his hope Obama fails.

    “He kicked this into full-gear at CPAC by reiterating it,” said a senior White House official of Limbaugh.

    By Sunday morning, Emanuel elevated the strategy by bringing up the conservative talker, unprompted, on CBS’s “Face the Nation” and calling him the “the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party.”

    Even Republican National Chairman Michael Steele joined in with a surprising critique of Limbaugh as a mere “entertainer,” who is “ugly” and “incendiary.”


    “He took a little match we had tossed on the leaves and poured gasoline on it,” said one Democrat of Steele.

    Steele was forced into calling Limbaugh to apologize Monday, an embarrassing climb-down following the RNC chairman’s criticism of the conservative talk-show host.

    But Democrats kept at it in rapid-fire succession, thrilled that Steele had validated their claim that Republicans were scared to cross Limbaugh.

    Americans United for Change launched a new ad featuring Limbaugh’s CPAC appearance. A left-leaning media watchdog group began a new Limbaugh tracking homepage. Democratic National Chairman Tim Kaine tweaked Steele for his apology. Terry McAuliffe tried to inject Limbaugh into the Virginia governor’s race. The DCCC launched a new website, www.imsorryrush.com, mocking the Republicans who have had to apologize to Limbaugh.

    And Gibbs served up a made-for-cable-TV quote to end his daily briefing Tuesday.

    “I was a little surprised at the speed in which Mr. Steele, the head of the RNC, apologized to the head of the Republican Party,” Gibbs quipped with a grin, before striding out of the press room.

    David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager last year and a member of his inner circle still, will publish an op-ed in Wednesday’s Washington Post chiding Republicans for being “paralyzed with fear of crossing their leader.”

    A senior White House aide has been tasked with helping to guide the Limbaugh strategy.

    Outside, Americans United for Choice, a liberal group, and the Democratic National Committee are driving the message, in close consultation with the White House.

    Democrats can barely suppress their smiles these days, overjoyed at the instant-ad imagery of Limbaugh clad in Johnny Cash-black at CPAC and, more broadly, at what they see as their success in managing to further marginalize a party already on the outs.

    “I want to send Rush a bottle of vitamins,” said Begala. “We need him to stay healthy and loud and proud.”

    With President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney out of the White House and Tom DeLay gone from Congress, the left had been suddenly absent an unpopular right-wing figure.

    Few Americans know who the congressional Republican leaders are. Even Sarah Palin is now four time zones away from Washington.

    Enter Limbaugh.

    It’s something of a back to the future tactic for Democrats: painting the GOP as the party of the angry white male. But unlike Newt Gingrich or other prominent Republicans, Limbaugh doesn’t have to mind his tongue.

    And the liberal political apparatus is at battle stations taking note of his every comment.

    Media Matters, the left-leaning media watchdog and advocacy group, began a “Limbaugh Wire” web-site Tuesday to track him. “For a long time Americans haven’t really been aware that he’s so influential,” said Eric Burns, the group’s president.

    Democrats are now working hard to ensure that changes.

    “He’s driving the Republican reluctance to deal with Obama, which Americans want,” said Greenberg. “He’s the policeman [keeping them in line].”

    They’ll all get a fresh hook for the story after Wednesday, when a Democratic polling firm goes into the field to test, among other things, Limbaugh’s standing with the public.

    All the attention only offers upside for the buzz-hungry Limbaugh, said Carville.

    “The television cameras just can’t stay away from him,” Carville said Tuesday, a day when cable news played images of Limbaugh seemingly on a loop. “Our strategy depends on him keeping talking, and I think we’re going to succeed.”
  2. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    That's a nice article. Thanks for posting it.

    The Republicans had Rove, who was exceptionally effective in his role.

    Looks like the Democrats are threatening to become effective in the inside politics game.

    As for the Republican's Limbaugh liability ... live by the sword, die by the sword.
  3. ScipioCowboy

    ScipioCowboy More than meets the eye. Zone Supporter

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    President Obama should tread very carefully here. This type of strategy can easily backfire. In politics, a person can only be vilified for so long before he or she becomes a martyr or people start listening to him or her. When they do, they normally realize that the person is not the evil he or she is made out to be.
  4. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    I honestly hope the Democratic Party keeps thinking the Conservatives are going home and praying to our little "Rush" statues. Seriously guys.

    :laugh2:
  5. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

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    I hope and pray this neanderthal that sits in the white house keeps this up.
  6. Dallas

    Dallas Old bulletproof tiger

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    I have never once listend to an entire broadcast of Rush. I get the guy. I like him. He can be a little wacky in some of the things he says, like all of us. God forbid the guy be a normal human in that regard.

    I don't look to him to see where I should vote on things dear to my heart though. How asinine of the Dem party to even suggest that he leads the Republican party.

    It never ceases to amaze me some of the rediculous thats come from the left since they won the election.

    The DEMS are OBSESSED w/ Rush.


    What's funny is they fail to see how much power all of this is actually giving Rush. Why not just ignore the man? You certainly don't want to shine a national spotlight on your enemy, giving him more clout and voice.

    BOGGLE
  7. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    look - just because a bunch of friggin ant farmers in the white house say rush is the face of the republicans DOES NOT MAKE IT SO!

    spit the hook out, zero.

    no one official in the republican party made rush their face did they?
    NO. the dems did.
    now the dems attack.
    now you swallow the bait and go BAD REPUBS!

    for something they never did, but the dems made up.

    crap like this amazes me.
  8. Dallas

    Dallas Old bulletproof tiger

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    Umm Ice... I kinda enjoy Zero being my "FISH ON" buddy.


    "LEAN w/ it Zero....LEANNNNN w/ it!!!"

    [IMG]
  9. ScipioCowboy

    ScipioCowboy More than meets the eye. Zone Supporter

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    In my opinion, it's more a matter of wanting to believe it than actually believing it.
  10. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    many times it is. if you want it to be true, make it up and say so. while i see "both sides" do this, it seems the liberal side is more willing to throw out a lie and then force feed it to reality.

    the libs are painting rush as the voice of the conservatives like there was some inner election and he was voted the president of the republican party. just because the repubs allow him to exersize his freedom of speech doesn't mean they endorse everything he says.

    i wish people would pull their head out of their arses and quit buying crap on a wicker stick cause they WANT it to be true.
  11. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    well while i don't follow all posters around for their tendencies, zero usually struck me as a good guy who just thought differently. like we all do.

    but when something so stupid gets an endorsement, i just have to wonder.
  12. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    It's inside politics.

    The reason Carville et al are shining the spotlight on Limbaugh is because Limbaugh has high negatives and his association with the Republican party hurts that party.

    At least that's how the article explains it.
  13. Dallas

    Dallas Old bulletproof tiger

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    It hurts the party because you want to believe it hurts the party. There is no facts at ALL supporting your assumption or this articles hopes.
  14. Jarv

    Jarv Loud pipes saves lives. Zone Supporter

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  15. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    spins it.

    like i said, if you don't like someone, the lies are much easier to believe.
  16. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    It sounds like you assume that I believe that Limbaugh is really the leader of the Republican party. I don't believe that for a minute.

    Carville et al apparently think they can use Limbaugh against the Republicans, and so that's what they are doing. It is inside politics.

    Frankly, I'm glad that today's Democrats have the capacity (and stomach) to play the inside politics game. It shows some backbone.

    (... Kerry's crew wasn't any good at it, which is one big reason why W. won his second 4 years)
  17. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    live by the sword, die by the sword - in reference to the repubs.

    how are they living by him?
  18. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    It isn't about hope. It is about strategy. Carville et al came to this strategy based on Limbaugh's poll numbers. They see Limbaugh as a potential third rail for Republicans.

    If Limbaugh is well liked by the Republican base but has high negatives with moderates (and liberals, of course), it only makes sense that Limbaugh could be used as a third rail.

    So, the strategy is to push Limbaugh to the forefront and force congressional Republicans to take a firm stand on him (one way or the other). Theoretically, those elected Republicans are put into the uncomfortable position of choosing between alienating the base or alienating moderates. (Obviously, the Republicans would prefer not to alienate either).

    Time will tell if this strategy is effective.

    So far, we know that Steele stumbled on it.

    So early returns are promising. :)
  19. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    Limbaugh has been a valuable asset to Republicans for years now.

    If moderates now find Limbaugh aversive to highly aversive, Limbaugh now may be a liability.

    That's all.
  20. ThaBigP

    ThaBigP New Member

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    Speaking of liabilities, our moderate Republican candidate lost the election to an empty suit that had to be "bailed out" by Hollywood and the MSM. His numbers didn't shoot above Obama's until *gasp!* conservative Palin was nominated. That was all dashed when the economy went bra-up.

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