Sunday, January 25, 2009

Obama's Rookie Mistake

In his first week as President, Barack Obama made it a priority to be seen as breaking with Bush policy. In a largely symbolic move he ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. If he’s lucky, Obama will see his order come to fruition sometime next year.

Next, he ordered that interrogation methods used on suspected Jihadists be limited to the toothless guidelines laid out in the Army Field Manual. Whatever one's opinion of this move as policy, one has to admire Obama’s bravery. Turning U.S. policy 180 degrees from where it has been for the past seven attack-free years is almost certain to be at the center of any debate that occurs following another terrorist attack on American soil.

The break from the Bush years that really caught me off guard however occurred on Friday. From the time of the Florida recount to the childish boos that greeted him at Obama's inauguration, George W. Bush never responded to his critics in the media. Not to the hyperpartisan voices of Bill Moyers or Keith Olberman. Not to the borderline senility of Helen Thomas. Not to Paul Krugman who spent eight years on the op-ed page of the Times praying for a recession. Not to the deranged and uninformed rantings of comedians, actors and musicians who suddenly fancied themselves members of the pundit class because someone stuck an Air America microphone in their face. Certainly not to the thousands of left-wing bloggers whose visceral and pathological hatred of President Bush sparked numerous conspiracy theories which often culminated in calls for harm to befall high-ranking members of the Administration such as Dick Cheney or the cancer-stricken Tony Snow. For eight years, Bush kept above the fray. For better or worse, he attended to the business of the nation rather than engage the other side. Three days into his administration Obama attacked Rush Limbaugh.

Predictably, many on the left cheered when in defense of his stimulus package Obama said:

"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done."

This was seemingly in response to Limbaugh’s recent comments in which he openly stated that he hopes Obama’s agenda “fails”.

Whatever you think of Rush Limbaugh, it is impossible to deny the influence that he wields among the Republican base. In fact, it is likely that it extends even further. Limbaugh’s show was the catalyst for the talk radio boom of the nineties and helped turn moderates and independents against Bill Clinton leading to the G.O.P’s big mid-term victories in 1994. His audience of nearly 14 million listeners a week is the highest of any radio show in the nation.

Ironically, Obama followed his attack on Limbaugh with a call for bipartisanship. What Obama failed to realize is that because of the lack of high profile G.O.P leaders in the government, Limbaugh is now one of the de facto leaders of the Republican party. Talk radio is by far the most effective conduit for Republican ideas. It is to conservatives in the wilderness what newspaper editorial pages and blogs such as Kos and Huff Po were to liberals during the Bush years.
In attacking him, Obama has not only given Limbaugh a high profile shout out, but has also made Limbaugh relevant to the process. His attack on a beloved conservative figure will serve as a rallying cry to his devoted listeners, many of whom were prepared to give Obama the benefit of the doubt in his early days in office. No more.

Furthermore, by making a statement in which the implication was that he doesn’t take Rush Limbaugh seriously and that the American people shouldn’t either, Obama exposed the fact that he clearly does take Limbaugh seriously. Why else would he find it necessary to mention him?

Obama is the President Of the United States. I doubt that Obama would sit down with the radical leader of a third world country elevating that leader’s cause and tactics by the mere presence of America’s highest ranking official unless he felt that the United States had something to gain. So why would he draw attention to his detractors if their points were lacking validity?

Perhaps I’m overthinking this. Perhaps Obama simply didn’t think about what he said before he said it. Maybe this is the sequel to his now infamous comments about “bitter” Pennsylvanians clinging to their guns and bibles because they lack job security. If this is the case, then it tells us that Obama has not yet made the transition from grass-roots, left-wing candidate Obama to President-of-all-the- people Obama.

Obama will soon realize that there is nothing to be gained by setting up a talk-radio straw man, because as Bill Clinton learned, talk radio is not made of straw and will fight back if engaged by the President. Don’t believe me? Consider this. A few weeks ago Republicans were all talking about how they hoped Obama was a “successful” president. It was Limbaugh who was the first to make the point that if Republicans truly believe that big government is an economic albatross and that history shows us that it is destined to lead to more problems in the long run than it solves in the short term, then we have a patriotic duty to do everything we can to make sure that Obama’s agenda doesfail.

Once Limbaugh’s statement was reported out of context by the mainstream media in an attempt to expose those mean and nasty Republicans who were refusing to cave into Obama’s plans, I think that many wanted to know if Limbaugh could have actually said something so far outside the spirit of bipartisanship. Once they saw what Limbaugh actually said it was a huge wake-up call for Republicans who up until them had been disillusioned by November’s electoral defeat and were afraid of picking a fight with a president whose honeymoon was expected to last years.

When Obama mentioned Limbaugh by name, Rush’s statement went from being a minor news story to a rallying cry among the Republican base. Come tomorrow, Limbaugh will have additional justification for working against Obama because he was attacked personally by the leader of the free world. It’s a win-win for Rush.

If President Obama wants to get bogged down in a fight with talk radio at the expense of his policy plans, conservatives should welcome it. It will distract him from his agenda and ensure that it fails. In all honesty, I hope it does.


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Ted said...

WTF, at least El Rushbo is constitutionally qualified to be President!

Rush Limbaugh was born in 1951 to an American mom "Millie" and an American dad lawyer & WWII fighter pilot in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Since 'President' Obama now wants to silence El Rushbo even before BHO has a chance to re-establish the "fairness doctrine" to silence all conservative talk radio, I've got three questions (but answers to only two of them):

FIRST QUESTION: Who IS the actual and lawful 44th President of the USA?

ANSWER: Joe Biden

Biden was initially the Acting President for at least 5 minutes under either the Constitution’s Article 2 or the Constitution’s 20th Amendment, from 12:00 Noon 1/20/09, having already taken his Oath of Office and before Obama completed his ‘oath’ at approximately 12:05 PM, 1/20/09. Under the 20th Amendment if the President-elect shall have failed to qualify, or alternatively under Article 2 if the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term, being 12:00 Noon 1/20/09, which ability and/or qualification includes that he take the Article 2 oath “before he enter on the execution of his office,” then either the Presidency shall devolve on the Vice President under Article 2 or the Vice President shall act as President under the 20th Amendment. (The importance of the oath in ‘commencing’ an ‘Obama Presidency’ — rather than merely the 1/20/09 Noon time — is confirmed by the re-take of the ‘oath’ by Obama at the White House on 1/21/09 after the first ‘oath’ was NOT administered by Justice Roberts NOR recited by Obama in the words as required under Article 2.)

This is significant because at such time that the Supreme Court finally rules on the merits on Obama’s disqualification as not being an Article 2 “natural born citizen” (clearly he is NOT under either and/or both of two bases -- (1) BHO refuses to show Birth Certificate to deny Kenyan birth/res ipsa loquitur "action speaks for itself" or (2) BHO admits dad was Kenyan/British, not American, citizen at Jr's birth), Biden’s automatic status (without needing to take a separate Presidential Oath) of being President would be predicated upon four different bases: First, having been Vice President under Article 2; second, having been Vice President-elect under the 20th Amendment; third, having been actual President in the hiatus before Obama took the ‘oath(s)’; and fourth, retroactively deemed President during the full period of the Obama usurpation so that the acts of the Federal Government under the usurpation can be deemed authorized and/or ratified by Biden’s legitimacy.

SECOND QUESTION: Who will be the 45th President?

ANSWER: Hillary Clinton

One must assume that Bill and Hillary Clinton have been aware of all of the above. Biden’s wife recently “let the cat out of the bag” on the Oprah Show that both Biden and Hillary had considered alternatively Veep or Secretary of State, in either case, setting up Hillary to be President on a vote of the Democratic Congress if need be.

THIRD QUESTION: Is Obama an unwitting victim of this troika or a knowing participant?

ANSWER: Not yet determined.

Steve said...

The "Community Organizer" is gonna ruin this country.