Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

March 5, 2009


James Carville and Paul Begala wanted to make Rush Limbaugh the chief evil enemy of the American people. Instead they just expanded his audience. Here's how it started, according to Politico:


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. . .

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. . .

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. . .


Just one little problem. By making Limbaugh the evil genius, they gave him a publicity boost that most talk show hosts would die for. And they forgot that what goes round comes round and so it wasn't long before Limbaugh came back with this:

"If these guys are so impressed with themselves, and if they are so sure of their correctness, why doesn't President Obama come on my show? We will do a one-on-one debate of ideas and policies. Now, his people in this Politico story, it's on the record. They're claiming they wanted me all along. They wanted me to be the focus of attention. So let's have the debate! I am offering President Obama to come on this program -- without staffers, without a teleprompter, without note cards -- to debate me on the issues."

Carville and Begala not only resurrected Rush, they gave him the opportunity to argue that Obama is not only wrong but a coward as well. Nice work.

We'd suggest that Carville and Begala try coming up with some useful ideas except that back in the Clinton years Carville, when asked whether he would take a post in the Clinton administration, admitted that he only knew about winning elections; he didn't know about governing. Begala once remarked, "Someone says issue; I say gesundheit."


Anonymous wellbasically said...

Media watchdoggery is behind this. The truth squad web sites on the Democratic side, which parse and unpack the utterings of the government, but have no power or inclination to investigate for themselves, have targeted the media for making the public believe incorrectly. The writers on these web sites have swallowed the "What's the matter with Kansas" approach to the public, and believe that people are genuinely dumb and can be pushed one way or the other by the media.

Although it's true that the righties have believed this for years too.

March 5, 2009 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As things get worse, as they surely will, folks will turn to the likes of Limbaugh, Rick Santelli et al for answers. Carville and Begala are making sure of this.

March 5, 2009 9:38 PM  
Anonymous robbie said...

they're right...Limbaugh is the most prominent leader on the right...Michael Steele had to apologize to him for saying something that was obviously true...now right-wing rags are out to push this nonsense that it's all a left-wing plot! there is no one on the Republican side who has more power and influence, and it really says a lot about the Republican party

March 6, 2009 5:10 AM  

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