Thursday, March 05, 2009


Various news sources have reported that radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh challenged President Obama to a debate, ostensibly on the issues of the day.

I find this to be really curious. Mostly because while Limbaugh is a self-styled pundit (thanks to my fellow EMS blogger TOTWTYTR for pointing this out to me – he is quite right about this) he is not the leader of the Republican Party. That is the job of Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. From what I’ve seen and heard, Steele has been tripping over his own tongue recently. On a CNN broadcast last week he went out of his way to criticize Limbaugh. In return, Steele got mashed on Limbaugh’s radio show. And Steele reportedly went out of his way to make nice with the owner of the Attila the Hun chair.

Why do I mention this? Well, it’s looks like Steele made an ass of himself as well as making the RNC and the Party. And it’s interesting that Limbaugh would call the President out; by doing this, some would say that he’s assuming a de facto leadership role in the GOP.

While I agree that Steele tripped over his own tongue (and he really is an idiot – just watch him sometime and you’ll see what I mean), I disagree that Limbaugh is trying to position himself to lead the Republicans. I think it is more of an attempt to, on one hand, galvanize the GOP to become more active before the next election in 2010. On the other, I think he’s doing his best to antagonize his listeners, for the same reason. He does have a liberal listening base in among the large number of conservative listeners, but his attitude, described as a “take no prisoners” mentality, bothers many. Including me. I have a hard time with someone who is unable or unwilling to consider multiple sides of an issue. But then he has never had to do that, and his philosophy is simple: his view is the only view, and listeners tune in to his show to listen to his view.

Like him or not, he has the right to do this under the First Amendment. And that’s fine; there are others who say what they believe under the protection of the First Amendment, and they are also entitled.

As for a debate? I don’t think it will happen. Why? Right now, the President has his hands full. Whether or not he would want to, I simply don’t think he has time.


TOTWTYTR said...

The nucleus of the problem was comments by Pres. Obama a few weeks ago that the Republicans should stop listening to Rush Limbaugh and get on board with his agenda.

Which is somewhat silly of the President because it gives more stature to what Limbaugh says than he might otherwise have. It also gives Limbaugh a cause to champion. And 20-22 million listeners.

It's not his responsibility to consider the other side of the argument. It's not even his responsibility to galvanize the GOP. Nor is it his responsibility to appeal to his theoretical liberal listeners. In fact, he seems to like antagonizing them as much as possible.

None of that is his responsibility. What IS his responsibility is to entertain his listeners, keep them listening, and keep selling products advertised on his show. He's very upfront about that and mentions it frequently.

As to the debate, Obama won't do it because Limbaugh is much better at off the cuff exchanges than Obama ever could hope to be.

It would be incredibly embarrassing to lose a debate to a mere radio yakker.

Not to mention the ratings boost it would give him.

Walt Trachim said...

I remember the things that Obama said - at the time I didn't think much of them, but they did sort of cause a balloon effect to happen.

You are right about Limbaugh's baiting of the Left. He does it really well, and it's as I said in my post about it being his view and his view only on the show. He makes no bones about that. For as long as I remember, he always has.

If they did go head-to-head, I would have to agree that Limbaugh would take him to the woodshed.

Up on The Anchoress' web site she has a really interesting post indirectly about all of this and more. It got my attention.