Tak­ing on Lim­baugh in a time of na­tional cri­sis?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Bill O’Reilly

Man, I got out just in time. Two weeks ago I gave up do­ing the Ra­dio Fac­tor af­ter seven years be­cause I needed to get some sleep. Work­ing 65 hours a week is fine when you’re 30, but as Clint East­wood once opined: A man must know his lim­i­ta­tions.

My ra­dio pro­gram com­peted against Rush Lim­baugh’s show in some mar­kets, and now, in an amaz­ing bit of po­lit­i­cal games­man­ship, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has el­e­vated Mr. Lim­baugh to Alp-like heights. By pub­licly at­tack­ing the broad­caster, the Obama crew has not only gal­va­nized his loyal au­di­ence, but also sent cu­rios­ity seek­ers into his do­main. What a rat­ings bonanza for Mr. Lim­baugh! Who would want to com­pete against that?

Ac­cord­ing to the web­site Politico, Demo­cratic strate­gists Stan­ley Green­berg and James Carville polled Mr. Lim­baugh’s pop­u­lar­ity and found it lack­ing among vot­ers younger than age 40. The web­site con­tends they con­vinced White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to go af­ter Mr. Lim­baugh and de­fine him as the be­hind-thescenes leader of the Repub­li­can Party. The strat­egy was to paint the GOP as a lead­er­less out­fit fear­ful of a high-pro­file ra­dio guy. Mr. Emanuel dropped the pro­pa­ganda bomb on a morn­ing TV show last Sun­day.

In con­junc­tion, Mr. Obama’s for­mer cam­paign man­ager David Plouffe wrote a sar­cas­tic op-ed in The Wash­ing­ton Post claim­ing the Repub­li­can Party is “par­a­lyzed with fear of cross­ing (Mr. Lim­baugh).”

Presto, the lib­eral main­stream me­dia pounced on the new leader of the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com- mit­tee, Michael Steele, mock­ing him for play­ing sec­ond fid­dle to Mr. Lim­baugh. Mr. Steele did not like that and told CNN the broad­caster is an en­ter­tainer who of­ten pops off. Mr. Lim­baugh did not like that and lam­basted Mr. Steele. Un­der pres­sure, the RNC chief apol­o­gized.

Mean­while, the Democrats are “lol” as they say on the Net.

But there may be an un­in­tended con­se­quence in this for the White House. By em­power- ing Mr. Lim­baugh, who al­ready com­mands an enor­mous au­di­ence, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is sup­ply­ing weaponry to the en­emy. Sure, the Demo­cratic home team is yukking this stuff up, but most Amer­i­cans are steam­ing mad about the econ­omy and in no mood for shal­low po­lit­i­cal games. If the pres­i­dent can­not get Wall Street to be­lieve in him, de­mo­niz­ing Mr. Lim­baugh will be­gin to look like a di­ver­sion­ary tac­tic, which it might well be.

It is cer­tainly true that the Repub­li­can Party is cur­rently tak­ing some lumps, es­pe­cially among the pro-Obama me­dia. But in pol­i­tics things can turn fast. If the GOP can de­velop some strong lead­er­ship and a pop­ulist vi­sion, it will com­pete in the 2010 elec­tion.

We are liv­ing in danger­ous times and the folks know it. Fight­ing with a ra­dio talk-show host may be en­ter­tain­ing, but it is cer­tainly not pres­i­den­tial.

Bill O’Reilly is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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