Now that he's mostly settled in at the Fox News Channel, we're wondering if former CNNer and Washington Postie Howard Kurtz is ready to take the gloves off. His Monday column dealt in part with Friday's clash between President Barack Obama and conservative icon Rush Limbaugh.
By attacking the radio talk show host as a reason Republicans supposedly tell the president privately they support his desire to fund ObamaCare but can't do so publicly, Obama "elevated Limbaugh to his level," Kurtz said. It also was an extremely unpersuasive argument, Kurtz noted.
The Fox News contributor started his column -- entitled “Barack Obama, Rush Limbaugh and the Politics of Blame” -- by stating that the president blamed some of his problems on the radio talk show host, which “may not be a brilliant strategy.”
During an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, co-host of the early morning program New Day, the president said on Friday that some GOP congressmen tell him privately they believe defunding the Affordable Care Act is a bad idea, but they are “worried about what Rush Limbaugh is going to say about me on the radio.”
In response, Kurtz came out swinging:
Really? A guy with a microphone is preventing the president of the United States from getting his way on Capitol Hill? Is Rush that powerful?
The columnist stated that “Cuomo actually pressed the issue by asking: 'How much of the lack of action in Washington do you put on yourself in terms of blame?'”
Kurtz noted that “Obama went Trumanesque,” stating “the buck stops with me” but that he is “frustrated” by GOP resistance.
The columnist then called Limbaugh “the nation’s most powerful radio broadcaster” and “an unquestioned force on the right.”
But when Republicans (who probably do want to defund ObamaCare but don’t want the political risks of a government shutdown) invoke him, what they’re really saying is they fear a backlash from conservatives powered by the likes of Limbaugh.
“They don’t want a Tea Party primary challenger,” Kurtz wrote. “They don’t want their fundraising to dry up. They don’t want leading conservative pundits to turn on them.
“So Obama was indulging in a bit of shorthand by saying his problem is El Rushbo – and in the process elevated Limbaugh to his level,” he continued.
Kurtz then asked: “Did Limbaugh let that one pass? Not a chance.”
“I am the reason he can’t move his agenda forward,” the radio talk show host told his listeners a few hours later, “which of course is silly because he’s getting everything he wants. He blamed me again. I mean, it’s like a broken record.”
The conservative icon noted that “nobody is listening to Obama anymore.” “For the record,” Kurtz added, Limbaugh also insisted that “the Republicans are not listening to me!”
The Fox News columnist noted that the conservative icon had earlier in the day signed a new three-year deal with his distributors at the Cumulus radio network, so Limbaugh turned the controversy “into a victory lap.”
“Weeks ago,” the conservative icon stated, “you couldn’t turn on the 'Drive-By Media' without reading that I was finished,” and now, the president had boosted his popularity by blaming some of his problems on “a guy with a microphone.”
Kurtz then stated that Obama isn't the first Democratic president to underestimate the conservative icon and his audience:
Bill Clinton made the same mistake. In the early 1990s, when Limbaugh was not yet the dominant radio force he is today, Clinton complained about how Rush had three hours a day to say whatever he wanted about the White House. Then they got into it over whether Limbaugh had helped create a climate of fear before the Oklahoma City bombing.
The columnist then concluded his missive by writing a message that was apparently meant for Barack Obama:
No president should lose sight of the fact that he has the biggest megaphone of all.
This incident is a perfect example of how liberals behave when they lose a political battle. It apparently never dawns on Obama that the reason his policies are being defeated is the fact that the American people don't like them or want them.
No, the blame must be placed on the Democrats' conservative opponents. As Limbaugh has stated many times: “Democrats never lose. They are simply cheated out of their victories by those sneaky, underhanded Republicans.”
Monday was apparently a busy day for Kurtz, who announced that his new one-hour Fox News Channel program, Media Buzz, will debut on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 11 a.m., and "will focus on the state of the news media in addition to the media's shaping of current events.”