I am surprised by how much hype has been given to the Rush Limbaugh-Barack Obama debate. This is just another in a long line of controversial comments Limbaugh has made. Why are Obama supporters up in arms about this obvious attempt to pull himself out of the ratings slump?
This isn’t the first time he has attacked Obama, calling him a “magic negro” and “halfrican American” on two other occasions, according to Media Matters. These controversial blunders, along with many other missteps aimed at higher ratings, have contributed to books and articles published on his inaccuracies for years. Remember Al Franken’s “Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations?"
"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," the president said following an attack by Limbaugh, in which he stated that he hoped Obama would fail, or our country would see the rise of socialism.
"We are being told we have to hope he succeeds," Limbaugh said on his radio program. "That we have to bend over and grab our ankles ... because his father was black, because he's the first black president, we've got to accept this."
But is this feeling of being forced into hoping Obama succeeds the real issue Republicans like Limbaugh are having with the president? Or do the issues they have stem from the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp (a move John McCain stated he would have done as well) without a clear decision on what to do with those still incarcerated there? Are they angry because a previous stimulus draft plan called for contraceptives funding? Or are they mad because once again, the abortion ping-pong of presidential decisions has overturned Bush legislation banning funds for international groups that provide abortions or abortion information? Additionally, Obama has overturned the Reagan-era Mexico City Policy, which prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions overseas.
Basically, like a child who has gotten his or her way for the past eight years, Republicans like Mr. Limbaugh are angry at having to compromise, share and follow a new leader with whom they don't see eye to eye.
Rush has every right to bash the president. He gets paid to be controversial and entertaining. After all, El Rushbo was named "Greatest Radio Talk Show Host of All Time" by Talkers in 2002. However, by 2007 Rasmussen Reports had 62 percent of Americans holding an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Limbaugh.
Right-wing America is looking at this all wrong. Obama is not telling anyone who they can listen to and who they can't. He is saying no work can get done in the government if lawmakers are simply taking what Limbaugh says to be true and not questioning things for themselves.
And why should lawmakers be listening to Limbaugh, for goodness' sake? Although he was born in Cape Girardeau and worked for my beloved Kansas City Royals before jump-starting his radio career, he is still a college dropout who has never been involved or trained in politics besides being behind a microphone. It’s ludicrous that educated, experienced lawmakers should shrink behind this man to get their point across.
What’s even more ludicrous is the fact Rush now believes, as he said on Jan. 27, that Obama is "obviously more frightened of me than he is of (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell. He's more frightened of me than he is of, say, (House Minority Leader) John Boehner, which doesn't say much about our party."
The real travesty here is not in Obama’s comment, but in the way the Democratic Party has chosen to act. On Jan. 27, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee created an online petition to express outrage at Mr. Limbaugh for saying he wanted the president to fail. This just adds more fuel to a fire they should want put out, especially when Limbaugh corrected himself (a rather feeble correction) more than 10 days earlier on his show, saying it was President Obama's policies he wants to see fail, not the man himself. "He is the president of the United States, he's my president, he's a human being, and his ideas and policies are what count for me."
Mr. Limbaugh's time is waning, what with the public shifting its attention to the Ann Coulters and the Laura Ingrahams of our day. Heck, even ditzy Sarah Palin is rumored to host her own program. Not only are they better to look at (sorry Rush), they aren't claiming to have their talent "on loan from God," as Limbaugh does.
Obama is not making Limbaugh his equal just by mentioning his name. In fact, he is actually doing the Democrats a favor. By labeling Rush as the monarch of the Republican party, he is giving cause for many who abhor the man to second-guess the party. He has named the sides. You are either on Team Obama or Team Limbaugh. And for many, Team Obama might be synonymous with Team America and Team Limbaugh might be a scary place to be.
Obama is putting the face of a downward-spiraling entertainer on the Republican Party. The once great El Rushbo is being slowly replaced by younger versions, and when God takes back that talent he loaned Rush, his party might be exactly where Obama wants it.
Tracy Barnes graduated from MU in 2008 with degrees in journalism and English. She is a former copy editor and multimedia editor for the Missourian. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.