Let the Limbaughs Whine
by Joe Conason
January 27, 2009
How fortunate for Barack Obama that Rush Limbaugh, big radio personality and leader of the instinctual far right, has yet to retire to a sunny island with his bottles of pills. At a moment when Republicans on Capitol Hill feel they must pretend to negotiate with the popular new president over spending to revive the economy, he blurted out what they really feel.
Speaking on his daily broadcast and later on Fox News Channel about the president’s prospects, Mr. Limbaugh said forthrightly: “I hope he fails.”
With those words, he turned his ample silhouette into the rhetorical target of choice for Mr. Obama, who warned the Republican leadership that they “can’t listen to Rush Limbaugh” and expect to accomplish anything useful. Hoping to preserve the spirit of bipartisan goodwill that attended his inauguration, the president is offering politicians on the other side of the aisle a stark choice. They can work with him, or they can join the radio extremist who wants him to fail—and could not care less about the consequences for America…When President Obama considers how much of his stimulus spending to apportion to tax cuts in a vain attempt to appease the opposition, he ought to remember how Mr. Limbaugh described the hidden attitude of Republican leaders. “I know what our [G.O.P.] strategy is. They’re hoping he fails, so that they can go back and say, ‘We wanted him to succeed. We gave it everything we got. We worked with him, but …’” So perhaps the best course is not to worry too much about winning Republican votes in the Senate or about what they’re saying on talk radio, but to simply do what will work best for the country—and let the Limbaughs whine on, as they always do.
This article points to something that is maybe lost in the bluster. Limbaugh and the Republicans want Obama to fail. It’s not his policies they really object to. It’s him – the person. Rush Limbaugh says "I want him [Obama] to fail" and then writes a facetious op-ed in the Wall Street Journal suggesting the Limbaugh-Obama Stimulus Package. In his op-ed he says, "The average recession will last five to 11 months; the average recovery will last six years. Recessions will end on their own if they’re left alone." No one believes this is an average recession. No one. Because it isn’t. But even at that, how do we rectify these two statements? "I want him to fail" and "Recessions will end on their own if they’re left alone." If the second statement is true, Obama cannot fail. No matter what he does, everything will be fine.