Hillary Clinton’s internet guru Peter Daou has a very interesting column on Huffington Post today, asking “Why on Earth Are Democrats Legitimizing and Empowering Rush Limbaugh?” I think evaluating whether or not elevating an ideologue like Limbaugh is valuable. Daou’s posts and the comments and his detailed updates reveal a lot of thought on the issue and I encourage you to read it.
That said, I look at the Limbaugh question in a similar way to how I think about people like Sarah Palin or Bobby Jindal. The Republican Party is hemorraging support now. It lacks ideological direction that appeals to people outside the geographic south, the super rich, or religious conservatives. It is moving quickly towards being a regional political party. They are without a rudder now and that gives Democrats and more specifically liberal bloggers and talking heads the opportunity to define the GOP for the public and for the media. In this case, picking an objectionable character, known for regularly and repeatedly offending vast swaths makes sense. Likewise picking inept liars like Jindal or clueless not ready for primte time players like Palin also makes sense.
Limbaugh is a cipher for how we can define the GOP. Coincidentally he actually is becoming their party’s biggest spokesman. I love a situation where the choice between Democrats and Republicans is between Barack Obama and Rush Limbaugh precisely because Limbaugh cannot play at Obama’s level. Does it give him more profile than he deserves? Yes, I would love to see him marginalized entirely, but I think elevating him in the short run may lead to that in the longer run.
In the mean time, we need to continue to talk about the positive Democratic agenda on the economy, Iraq, the rule of law. Doing this gives us a massive platform to show people what we are doing and when people look at the two, they will continue to choose Democrats over Republicans when Americans go to the polls.