Politico Exposes White House and Media's Anti-Limbaugh Strategy

Have you wondered why there have been so many hit pieces lately about Rush Limbaugh?

Well, new revelations suggest that Democrats began a smear campaign against the conservative talk radio host last October, and now it's really caught steam.

Apparently, the Left feared its message would be muted without having George W. Bush to blame for all the world's problems, and Limbaugh made a nice substitute as the object of their disaffection to distract the public from real issues.

Given White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's connections to key media figures such as ABC's George Stephanopoulos as well as CNN's Paul Begala and James Carville, disseminating the hate was a piece of cake.

As Jonathan Martin reported Wednesday at Politico (photo compilation courtesy Edward Cropper):

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.

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.

Soon it clicked: Democrats realized they could roll out a new GOP bogeyman for the post-Bush era by turning to an old one in Limbaugh, a polarizing figure since he rose to prominence in the 1990s.

Apparently, the ball really got rolling when Limbaugh said four days before the inauguration that he wanted Obama's socialist policies to fail:

“It just cropped up out of how much play that comment was getting on the air,” said Brad Woodhouse, who runs the group and is about to take over as communications director at the Democratic National Committee. “When we did it and it generated so much press, it just started to snowball from there.” 

Enter the Clintonistas:

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.

After Limbaugh's "first ever address to the nation" from CPAC on Saturday, the Left is even more motivated:

David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager last year and a member of his inner circle still, will publish an op-ed in Wednesday’s Washington Post chiding Republicans for being “paralyzed with fear of crossing their leader.”  [...]

“I want to send Rush a bottle of vitamins,” said Begala. “We need him to stay healthy and loud and proud.” [...]

“The television cameras just can’t stay away from him,” Carville said Tuesday, a day when cable news played images of Limbaugh seemingly on a loop. “Our strategy depends on him keeping talking, and I think we’re going to succeed.”

On Wednesday, Limbaugh, in response to Martin's piece, challenged Obama to a debate at his radio station. He'll even fly the president to his studio, feed him, house him, and pick up the whole tab so as to save the taxpayers the expense.

Stay tuned.

Of course, Americans -- even those on the Left -- should be deeply concerned about this use of the media by a president and his administration to smear a fellow citizen all because he disagrees with their politics and has the nerve to express such.

Is this really what the United States is becoming?

With government having already taken control of many financial institutions, and made investments in the auto companies with plans for universal healthcare as well as a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, if the White House also has key media outlets in its back pocket, what is the future hold for freedom, democracy, and liberty?

ABC CNN Politico This Week Jonathan Martin James Carville Paul Begala Rahm Emanuel
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