3/5/09

The "Limbaugh Strategy", Barack Obama, and the First Amendment

This past Wednesday, Politico's Jonathan Martin wrote, "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.” Also according to Martin, "an unidentified senior White House aide has been given the responsibility of helping to guide the 'Limbaugh Strategy.'"

Why is Limbaugh suddenly seen as so important to the Democrats, who have also launched a website ridiculing the talk show host?

For one thing, Limbaugh is seen as a point of division within the Republican party. A poll taken back during the campaign showed only 11% of the under-40 Republican voters had much stomach for Limbaugh. I could add from a personal perspective that I, though well over 40, could be included in that, especially if they threw in Anne Coulter to boot. Michael Steele, recently elected chairman of the Republican National Committee got his public knickers in a twist over Limbaugh, then ended up apologizing to him. The Democrats have to be laughing all the way to the political bank over the continuing ineptitude of the GOP. But that's not really the important thing.

The important thing is that for whatever reason, Rush Limbaugh scares the Democrats, all their bluster and the polling aside. President Obama himself implicitly acknowledged Limbaugh's power when he made the comment in the press that "Republicans should not listen to Rush Limbaugh." Now the Democrats have that website, and they seem to be pulling out all the stops to undermine Limbaugh's credibility, which seems to be growing rather than diminishing.

But here is the thing: Why are your tax dollars and mine funding a campaign from within the Office of the President to attack a private citizen? Why is a "senior White House aide" using the authority and the power and the funding of the White House to attack a private citizen who simply disagrees with the president and the Democratic Party? From another article on the subject, this one by Peter Roff, Fellow at the Liberty Institute and former senior political writer for United Press International: "A political operative, based inside the White House, employed by the president of the United States and receiving a salary from the American taxpayer, goes to work every day to help direct a strategy against a broadcaster whose opinions are supposed to be covered by every protection the First Amendment can provide. To quote Shakespeare, 'Something is rotten.'"

Yah, you betcha (wink). Something doth verily stinketh:

"For the White House to employ an operative whose responsibility is, fundamentally, to direct a political strategy aimed, not at shaping is response to criticism but to take down a single media figure goes well beyond of the pale of an acceptable response."

The president did not like being questioned in the press room, of all places, by a reporter who was impertinent enough to think he could question the president's doings. Remember that "Chikaga Tough Guy" shoulder squeeze and penetrating glare of disapproval the president gave the reporter who had the audacity to question the nomination of a wealthy lobbyist and Raytheon executive to be deputy Secretary of Defense? And within the last week or so we have had Robert "Giggles" Gibbs giggling and denigrating three highly regarded reporters and commentators who have dared to question the presidential economic policies. Gibbs is unquestionably the least professional press secretary in memory, with his MTV attitude and mentality. Between Gibbs and the president, the White House press corps has been bullied and cowed into asking softball questions and gushing over matters best left to People magazine. It would seem that it's well past time for some editors to grow some cajones and remember the purpose of the Fourth Estate.

Do we not remember Richard Nixon's "Enemies List"? Do we not remember the Bush reaction to Joe Wilson's commentary about the Nigerian uranium caper? Do we not remember "Tail Gunner Joe" McCarthy and his attempt to shred the First Amendment?

The Obama administration has already launched its attack on the Second Amendment with Attorney General Eric Holder's statement last week regarding bringing back Clinton's so-called "assault weapons" ban. They have also launched an attack on the First Amendment as well. What part of "... to protect and defend the Constitution ..." in his oath of office does President Obama not understand?