Question: Does this sound like a political party that wants to bring back the Fairness Doctrine to shut up Rush Limbaugh?
The bigger [Limbaugh gets], the better, agreed [Democratic strategist James] Carville. "It's great for us, great for him, great for the press," he said of Limbaugh. "The only people he’s not good for are the actual Republicans in Congress."
"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."
Everything you need to know about why Rush Limbaugh is good for Democrats was spelled out by Brian O'Neill last year. At the time, conservatives were trafficking in conspiracy theories that Democrats would demand radio stations to give equal time to liberal and conservative voices alike. But as O'Neill put it a few days after the 2008 election:
If last week's presidential map showed anything, it was that a medium where America's conservative white guys talk mostly to each other is just the kind of insular world that can help a party lose by 7 million votes.
I try to keep the focus of this blog pretty local, but I have to say: I love everything about this Limbaugh story. It's the niftiest act of political jujitsu I've seen in a long time. We used to worry about how to "defeat" Limbaugh ... but it turns out to be far better just to let him "win."
The very thing that built the GOP in the 1990s -- the divisive politics that Obama's campaign decried -- is what has cost them the White House and Congress. And neither Limbaugh nor his followers have gotten the memo. So they keep digging the hole deeper, and demanding their officials to jump in.
As befits a self-doubting liberal type, I was wary of Obama last year. But one thing I knew for sure was that if Sarah Palin-style politics prevailed last year, we were screwed. As I said shortly before the election:
What sets the GOP apart ... is that it has an entire infrastructure to make sure its fear-mongering gets heard ...
Democrats are always denounced as a "socialist," or worse, no matter how tepid their proposals. And no matter how much of a "maverick" a Republican might be, he always seems obliged to use the same tactics in order to win. A McCain victory will show that American politics can no longer entertain solutions, but only new forms of divisiveness.
As it turns out, a majority of the American people were willing to at least give Obama a shot. If Republicans can't do even that much, well ... finding some "new forms of divisiveness" might be a good idea.