Politico goes behind the scenes to chronicle the Democrats’ plan to make Rush Limbaugh the face of the Republican Party. The effort apparently is being closely coordinated among the White House, mainstream media journalists and Democratic Party activists. According to one source, James Carville and Paul Begala of CNN have been working with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel on the Limbaugh project.
The scheme’s genesis, according to Carville, was the discovery that Limbaugh’s poll ratings are dismal:
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.
These Gallup numbers don’t look that bad, although they obviously aren’t very good.
According to Politico, the Dems’ plan is driven in part by the fact that, with President Bush, Dick Cheney and Tom DeLay all gone from office–in DeLay’s case, long gone–the Democrats needed someone new to demonize.
Will the Limbaugh strategy work? For the moment, at least, it may help to distract voters from what the Democrats are up to in Congress. Long-term, the only important question is how voters perceive the results of the Democrats’ economic policies. (National security policy will become relevant in the event of a major terrorist attack.) If the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress are seen as failures–having wasted hundreds of billions of dollars, created trillions in debt, and devastated the private sector without bringing about the kind of strong recovery that propelled Ronald Reagan to a 49-state victory in 1984–no one will be voting on the basis of his feelings about Rush Limbaugh.
PAUL adds: That’s exactly right. If the Democrats’ economic policies are considered to have failed, the Dems won’t be able to save themselves by demonizing a conservative talk show host — even a vastly influential one who said he didn’t want Obama to succeed. And if their economic policies aren’t seen as failing, the Dems won’t need a scapegoat. Besides, when the next elections roll around, the Republican candidates, not Rush Limbaugh, will be “the face of the Republican party.”