Democrats Rush to celebrate

I wish I could find the quote; Scott Reid, former communication director for PM Martin, once said (to paraphrase), don't look at what a politician says, look at what he wants. 

Astutely, Obama's #2 Rahm Emanuel recently called Rush Limbaugh "the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party." Of course Emanuel is not praising Limbaugh or the Republicans; he is trying to cement Limbaugh's status in the media as the spokesperson for the party.

This is astute for two reasons: Limbaugh is passionately obeyed by a fanatical core of Republican voters too small as a group to ever form a majority; he is also unappealing to moderates and extremely unpopular among young voters. In other words, he is a polarizing figure who could overwhelmingly win an election of old, white, Evangelical Christians, but is more cancerous than Bush 43 on the national stage. He is a large, loud wedge issue for the Republican party, just as immigration reform may be for the ethnic-friendly, union-friendly Democrats.

Secondly, Limbaugh is an ideologue who earns a living as an entertainer -- as Michael Steele put it -- so he is driven by controversy and the attention it brings. He wants to be outspoken and famous more so than deal with the mundane aspects of helping a party gain or hold power.

Strategically, Rush Limbaugh is a gift to the Democratic party, who should do all they can to maintain Rush's status as the leader of the Right. But as I said at the start, doing so is much more complex than saying, "It benefits me for Rush Limbaugh to be the leader of the Right."

Which begs the question, why are Democrats having fun with this? If you type into your browser you get an Onion-style satire of RNC leaders who have apologized like scolded children to Limbaugh. You also have this story revealing the coordination of Clinton-era strategists James Carville and Paul Begala, which perhaps shows who is responsible for Limbaugh's current eminence.

Eisenhower didn't reveal Overlord to Great Battles Monthly on June 5, 1944 for a reason -- because he wanted to win, not be adored.

After eight years of being losers, the Democrats finally figured out how to win last year. For their sake, I hope they exercise more control.