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Rush Takes Bait, Leaves MSM/Democrats With Hook*

Welcome Instapundit Readers!!

Just two days after watching The Godfather for the umpteenth time, I read “RUSH MAKES OBAMA an offer he can’t accept.“Â The talk show host has invited the president onto his “program without staffers, without a TelePrompTer, without note cards  to debate [him] on the issues.

It looks like Limbaugh has taken the bait the White House offered him in attacking him for his stirring speech at CPAC and bitten it off without getting caught on the hook.  And he swims away with a smile, the Democrats still hold the hook — and an empty line.

It’s almost been amusing these past few days watching the Emanuel/Carville/Begala White House/MSM axis go overboard to potray Rush as the head of the GOP because the talk show host’s unpopularity “with many Americans, especially younger voters.”  Tying him to the GOP will help sink the GOP.

Their strategy may have some short-term success, turning attention from his eloquent criticism of the Administration’s agenda to his middling popularity outside consevative circles.  But, over time, people will start wondering about a White House mounting an offense more akin to attacking its adversaries through a series of personal vendettas than to promoting legislative proposals through articulation of its policy goals.

Offering to debate Obama mano a mano, so to speak, Rush puts his attackers on the spot.  He shows himself as willing to a engage discussion of ideas.  By refusing his offer, the expose their strategy as ad hominem political hardball where you personalize the contest.

That’s not a new kind of politics.  It’s just reintroducing the type of politics played in the Administration where Rahm Emanuel, James Carville, Paul Begala and George Stephanopoulos cut their political teeth, that of Bill Clinton.

RELATED:  Susan Estrich “believes that the current coordinated Democrat strategy of attacking Rush Limbaugh is completely counterproductive.

*With this title, I was trying to suggest that Rush caught Emanuel et al. with the hook with which they intended to catch him (& the GOP).  But, maybe I should have elected simplicity as the Anchoress did in linking this post: Limbaugh took the White House bait without getting hooked. She offers her own thoughts and links a number of conservative bloggers covering this story, so check her post out!



  1. It’s all to distract the ignorant proles from the fact that the market is tanking, there’s nothing “stimulative” about the porkulus, Chairman Obama discovering that his ideas on dealing with Iran really won’t work, etc. etc. etc.

    Guess they figure this will increase his plunging approval rating.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — March 4, 2009 @ 10:00 pm - March 4, 2009

  2. Stumbled in via Instapundit on the Obama-Limbaugh spitting match.

    Great blog. The graphic layout at the top really rocks.

    The only comment on the O-L spitting match is: (1) it’s really stupid because there are a few more important issues afoot these days – like, look around, you know?, and (2) If it’s true that “Susan Estrich ‘believes that the current coordinated Democrat strategy of attacking Rush Limbaugh is completely counterproductive’.“, then I have to wonder a little if it might possibly work a little, because in my experience Susan Estrich is wrong about almost everything in politics . . . . . . . .

    Comment by Anarchus — March 4, 2009 @ 10:02 pm - March 4, 2009

  3. Rush is the leader of the GOP, are they afraid to debate with the leader of the opposition?

    Obama pulled the knife, Rush expertly turned in back upon him with a judo move and now is brushing the edge against Obama’s neck.

    The left changed the first letter and created their replacement boogeyman for Bush, but Rush isn’t POTUS; bad move.

    Comment by Saint Patton — March 4, 2009 @ 10:03 pm - March 4, 2009

  4. Strategy aside, this is a personal coup for Rush.

    All these real smart dudes running the Obama show completely snookered.

    Rush would clean Obama’s clock in a debate. Biden…well, Saturday Night Live wouldn’t be able to top that.

    All joking aside, if the GOP is squeamish about Rush as a spokesman, then some leadership needs to show its face.

    Otherwise, maybe Rush will be the leader of the GOP…at least someone will be engaging the opposition, and what better person than Rush.

    Comment by Dantes — March 4, 2009 @ 10:04 pm - March 4, 2009

  5. What did they expect he was going to do!??!

    Now they’re in the position of having to wave off his offer by discounting his significance, though they’ve spent the last week portraying him as the ne plus ultra of Republicanism.

    These guys are really coming off as a bunch of hacks, and eventually they’ll embarrass the MSM sufficiently that they won’t be able to rely on their cooperation.

    Comment by Marko — March 4, 2009 @ 10:10 pm - March 4, 2009

  6. Overheard from behind a closed Oval Office door:

    Obama: Emanuel, Mr. Twinkle-Toes, what the f*** were you thinking when you came up with that Limbaugh thing? Have you lost your g*dd**n mind? And you, Begala, Forehead Boy, you were in on this too. One more f***ing slip-up and I’ll have you working in the White House Gift Shop as a stock boy. Jesus H. Christ, you’ve put me in a real bind. If I ignore Limbaugh’s offer, he’ll have dudes in chicken suits showing up to every g*dd**n speech I give in public. If I accept, he’ll verbally kick my a** into next year. S*** crackas, I thought you were the best and brightest. Now get off your pasty white a**es and figure out how I’m gonna get out of this without ending up with a f***ing omelet all over my face. MOVE!

    Comment by MarkJ — March 4, 2009 @ 10:17 pm - March 4, 2009

  7. Are you kidding? Clinton got away with this kind of stuff for 8 years. The only thing that will dent the ONE is if people start blaming him for their portfolios. Until then, he’ll have so much media screen that he’ll get a pass for everything he does. Case in point: his popularity rating vs. the popularity of his proposals. Huge disconnect.

    Comment by rrr — March 4, 2009 @ 10:24 pm - March 4, 2009

  8. …and suddenly the criticism of Rush in the other thread seems so mindless, so petty — and so unintentionally revealing. I hate to admit this, but being in the minority party can be a hell of a ride.

    Comment by Ignatius — March 4, 2009 @ 10:26 pm - March 4, 2009

  9. The one line missing is:


    I mean, he said he meet essentially all the foreign antagonists of the US without preconditions.

    Comment by Al — March 4, 2009 @ 11:00 pm - March 4, 2009

  10. If it weren’t for the fact that Obama has acted this way during and since the campaign, and the teleprompter thing, one might be suspect that we were dealing with a President “Dave” by way he acts and is protected by his staff.

    That said, maybe Rush should debate “Obama’s brain” instead of President “Dave” Obama

    Comment by Neo — March 4, 2009 @ 11:35 pm - March 4, 2009

  11. […] Also writing: Andrea Shea King: dresses up the invite Ed Driscoll: Rush makes Obama an offer he can’t accept Susan Estrich: Warning Democrats about going after Rush Patterico: The press a dessert topping and a floor wax Melissa Clouthier: Everything will soon stop Gay Patriot: Limbaugh took the White House bait without getting hooked […]

    Pingback by Rush’s Riveting Radio Today | The Anchoress — March 4, 2009 @ 11:55 pm - March 4, 2009

  12. Reading posts on left wing blogs such as Huffpo and Kos I see nothing but idiotic personal attacks. Rush is a Fat yada yada yada. I have yet to find one that actually attacks him on issues.

    Comment by Dennis D — March 5, 2009 @ 12:11 am - March 5, 2009

  13. Good points.

    This strategy of Obama’s will backfire. His policies are tanking the country. People wake up poorer every day he is president. And that’s only based on the passage of his policies, just wait til they actually take effect.

    And people are already turning on him. 49 Democrats in the house have signaled that they will oppose large parts of his agenda, Clinton adviser David Gergen is the latest to wake up to the destruction of Obama’s policies. Obama has managed to do something even George Bush could not — his approval ratings actually went DOWN as a result of his SOTU.

    And the more people realize how incompetent and/or radical Obama is, the less they are going to believe him, and the more they are going to start looking for alternative explanations.

    Obama has ensured that as his policies continue to fail, more and more Americans will be willing to listen to what Rush has to say.

    Comment by American Elephant — March 5, 2009 @ 12:12 am - March 5, 2009

  14. If I ignore Limbaugh’s offer, he’ll have dudes in chicken suits showing up to every g*dd**n speech I give in public.

    Thanks for the idea!

    Let’s roll America!

    Comment by ex-Democrat — March 5, 2009 @ 12:29 am - March 5, 2009

  15. If anyone watches the CPAC Limbaugh speech because of the hoopla that the White House started, they will not be able to equate that Limbaugh with the conservative nutcase they make him out to be. His speech was one of the most elegant defenses of conservatism I’ve heard in a long time. Why bring attention to your opponents’ strengths?

    Comment by Carolynp — March 5, 2009 @ 1:15 am - March 5, 2009

  16. Liberals can’t help it. They’re thin skinned. They can’t take any criticism at all without taking it personally. It’s what drives all of their policies. It’s what drives them to separate people into victim groups.

    All the Obama admin had to do about Rush was…nothing. Just don’t respond. But they can’t help it. And now, it’s going to cost them.

    They have elevated Rush to the de facto leadership of the Republican party. They can’t now claim the Office of the President does not engage in this kind of debate. They put him up as the head of the party – declaring him unworthy of debate makes them look either stupid (for elevating him) or scared (for not debating him)

    Their decision to target Rush now also means they can’t go after talk radio without it showing what that would be – the silencing of critics.

    All they had to do was….nothing. Instead, they got played into a corner by a talk show host.

    I’d say it’s Bush league stuff….but Bush never made that mistake.

    Comment by Scott — March 5, 2009 @ 1:44 am - March 5, 2009

  17. A great indicator of just how badly this has backfired on Obama, was Alan Colmes on Orielly tonight.

    Colmes key point in the face of the fact that Obama and his inner circle planned to establish Rush as the leader of the GOP with the intent of discrediting both the GOP and Rush, and now Rush has so perfectly turned the tables on them, is that Rush is just an “entertainer”.

    So Rush has now gone from the leader of the GOP to a simple “entertainer” overnight.

    Does that sound like the Obama team in full desperate, holy cow we are screwed, flight to anyone but me?

    Comment by ward — March 5, 2009 @ 2:30 am - March 5, 2009

  18. “From the standpoint of what we have to do, folks, this is not about taking a policy or a process that the Democrats have put forward and fighting around the edges. If we’re going to convince the minds and hearts of the American people that what’s about to happen to them is as disastrous as anything in their lives in peacetime, we’re going to have to discuss philosophy with them. We are going to have to talk about principles…”


    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — March 5, 2009 @ 2:53 am - March 5, 2009

  19. All the Obama admin had to do about Rush was…nothing. Just don’t respond.

    A real leader wouldn’t have concerned himself with the “lies” told about Obama.

    Conversely, Obama started out with idiotic speeches, like the one where he threw Rev. Wright and his racist grandmother under the bus. Then he went on to start a website to address the “lies”. Then he decided to mobilize the nutroots and the Storm Truthers to attack anybody who didn’t genuflect. Not to mention the Bill Burket style attacks on Palin and Joe the Plumber.

    What’s more, a real leader wouldn’t have said “Call me if you need me”. But then America has become so pussified that they have no idea what a real leader is. All that matters now is if you “use your toungue purtier than a $2 whore”.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — March 5, 2009 @ 4:50 am - March 5, 2009

  20. […] 5 Gay Patriot: It’s almost been amusing these past few days watching the Emanuel/Carville/Begala White […]

    Pingback by The great Rush debate offer Bumped to top « DaTechguy’s Blog — March 5, 2009 @ 6:16 am - March 5, 2009

  21. 19

    I agree in theory. Rush wins (I’m not sure what to make of the “lies” designation) because the leader of the free world is concerned with a damn talk show host instead of, I don’t know, fixing this economy he’s wrecking

    Pelosi has more grace, at least she ignores him.

    Comment by Hawkins — March 5, 2009 @ 8:16 am - March 5, 2009

  22. LOL. Why should the President of the United States put himself in a debate with this loud-mouthed, over-blown entertainer? It’s ludicrously laughable, because Limbaugh built his entire career telling people “the way things ought to be”. In Rush’s world, there is no room for debate or exchange of ideas: It’s just how he sees things and that is that. You’re all just licking your chops over a fantasy scenario of Rush attacking the President in person. I can imagine the response if someone like Al Franken had challenged Bush to an on-air debate (talk about someone who’d have a big problem without teleprompters or note cards)

    President Obama was elected in a solid a majority after the complete failure of Republicans, has been in office for less than 2 months and (whether you agree or not) is moving ahead with the change he promised. At this point, he doesn’t have to debate anyone; he can work as the President and save the debating for the next election. I didn’t see anyone demanding Bush having to debate his critics after he began tanking shortly into his second term. Additionally, you constantly underestimate the power of having an intelligent, well-spoken, thoughtful person now in the White House. I can bet anything that you will never see President Obama dancing a jig with an idiotic smirk on his face to vamp for time or try to give an unwanted back-rub to the leader of another country.

    Perhaps you should all read Henry Rollins commentary on CNN today, he hits it all right on the head of why Republicans are wrong: it’s not about how the message is being delivered or perceived; it’s all about the fact the Republicans put forth bad ideas that the public didn’t want to hear and they can’t come with anything better.

    Comment by Kevin — March 5, 2009 @ 8:24 am - March 5, 2009

  23. 13: Your sentiments are probably cold comfort to those who woke up poor and unemployed since Bush was president. I think it’s incredible that Republicans and supporters here spent years defending Bush by using the excuse of “well Clinton did that”, yet with President Obama in office less than 2 months, you’re more than eager to lay all these problems as being his fault and as if he was the one who created this situation. puh-lease.

    Comment by Kevin — March 5, 2009 @ 8:27 am - March 5, 2009

  24. Of course Obama wont debate Rush, if you remember correctly he barely had the balls to debate McCain. McCain challenged him to a series of town hall meetings — Obama wouldn’t do it. Then for a while it was reported that Obama was considering no debates at all.

    And Obama bears great responsibility for the situation we are in. Certainly more than Bush, who since 2001, tried over 25 times to pass reforms for Fannie and Freddie that would have averted this whole crisis. But Democrats, including Obama, blocked him every time. (Of course Obama was the #2 all-time recipient of donations from F&F and had the disgraced leader Jim Johnson as an adviser)

    But more than that, Obama got his start as a “community organizer” for ACORN suing lending institutions, using the Community Reinvestment Act, to force them into giving home loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay for them.

    Obama is up to his neck in this financial crisis, and the stock market has been absolutely TANKING since he took office. No, it tanked when he looked like he was going to win (it went up briefly when McCain led the polls) it tanked 4% the day he won the election, it had the biggest inauguration day loss ever the day he was inaugurated, and it has tanked just about every time he or anyone in his administration have announced or passed new policy.

    And still there is no sign of a bottom because Obama refuses –either through incompetence or intentionally radical design — to establish certainty.

    It’s as if we are experiencing some sort of grand cosmic instant kharma and someone up there wants to show all you liberal idiots what a “worst president ever” REALLY looks like.

    Comment by American Elephant — March 5, 2009 @ 8:53 am - March 5, 2009

  25. Kevin,

    It’s President Obama, Mr. “Israel is the best friend of Israel” himself who has led the ‘Rush is the leader of the Republican party’ Meme. So he now has to face that his target has called him out. Clearly he learned nothing from Harry Reid.

    Comment by The Livewire — March 5, 2009 @ 9:01 am - March 5, 2009

  26. I can imagine the response if someone like Al Franken had challenged Bush to an on-air debate.

    The Bush Administration never instigated an attack on Al Franken, you simpering pinhead.

    Comment by Giant Cluebat — March 5, 2009 @ 9:04 am - March 5, 2009

  27. Oh, and ‘Change he promised’? WTF? Please name one promise he kept, besides buying the kids a dog.

    Comment by The Livewire — March 5, 2009 @ 9:13 am - March 5, 2009

  28. Now we will find out if the Cowardly CIC can walk the talk….keep it up, we know that the Narcissism of Obama cannot take anyone calling him out. How will he respond? I bet he will continue to act like any other teenage ChickenSh__!

    Comment by westWright — March 5, 2009 @ 9:50 am - March 5, 2009

  29. Did he every actually get that dog? Last I heard they were still deciding, but I admit I don’t pay too much attention.

    Of course Obama wont’ debate Rush. But he’s the one who’s got his whole office out their saying Rush is the leader of the GOP. Rush is just using that to mess with him. Chicken suits would be fun, though.

    Comment by Lea — March 5, 2009 @ 10:13 am - March 5, 2009

  30. Don’t be so quick to accuse The O off breaking EVERY promise, Livewire. Remember Peggy the Moocher? She gleefully and giddily celebrated The O’s victory, exclaiming that now he (that’s “we,” of course) will pay her mortgage and fill her gas tank, that she helped him, now he’ll (we’ll) help her. Remember how we laughed at her ignorance? Who’s laughing now?

    Looks like he (WE) WILL pay her mortgage. It’s hard to be certain whether or how he’ll fill her gas tank; maybe instead he’ll (we’ll) subsidize her newly-doubled (or more) electricity so that she can re-charge her NEW car?

    Kevin’s right; it’s geniuses like Peggy and Kevin–along with ACORN, the union bosses, and a few self-loathing rich Republicans who saw the Harvard-educated O as highly intelligent and who wanted to assure that taxing and spending was “fair,” and just as importantly, PERCEIVED as fair–who brought The O his victory. One can only hope they “perceive” their dying 401k’s as “fair.” (But surely they secretly hope The O and his henchmen will STOP making public speeches, as each speech or pronouncement drives the Dow down another 200 points!)

    Comment by polly — March 5, 2009 @ 10:43 am - March 5, 2009

  31. Have you heard?

    Rahm Emanuel, James Carville, Paul Begala and George Stephanopoulos have formed a new band. It’s called

    The Raving Chihuahua’s.

    Comment by Bill Nola — March 5, 2009 @ 10:55 am - March 5, 2009

  32. I don´t see Rush as the leader of the Republican Party, but I do acknowledge that he is a spokesman for the Party and for conservative principles. His speech at the

    Comment by Roberto — March 5, 2009 @ 10:59 am - March 5, 2009

  33. (26 continued, I hit the enter button mistake)
    His speech at the CPAC Convention was inspiring and uplifting. I for one would love to see him debate Barak Obama. I believe that he would do what John McCain didn´t do and that is to show the public the socialist that Obama truly is. The President will be mincemeat by time the debate is ended.

    Comment by Roberto — March 5, 2009 @ 11:03 am - March 5, 2009

  34. Obama has a kid in his late 20’s writing his speeches. The Obama wordsmith thinks in Obama cadence, applies the vaseline to the Alinsky bullets, paints the happy faces on the “last eight years” rpg’s, times the soaring rhetoric to distract from the contradiction of promises made twenty two seconds earlier and then blesses America.

    Obama says nothing and therefore has nothing to defend. He votes “present” everytime he speaks, which is about all he does: campaign, campaign campaign. Obama is not a policy wonk, because he has no policy to wonk. He has turned his politburo loose to create the Socialist States of America and to do it without public hearings, discussion, or from out of the cover of darkness. Meanwhile, Obama waxes on about transparency, balancing the budget, cutting the deficit in half and powering America on unicorn farts.

    When all the disparate slings and arrows of politburo turned loose socialist programs start to collide, there will be no source of blame. Obama will vote present and move on to the next campaign speech.

    At some point in the not too distant future, the sharks he swims with will see him bleeding. Will he be able to play the race card? I doubt it.

    Comment by heliotrope — March 5, 2009 @ 11:05 am - March 5, 2009

  35. The posts are coming on rapidly I started out as 26 but the accident posted as 31. Before I had long comments that disappeared in the air today I get an accident posted even before I could cancel. Cést le vie.

    Comment by Roberto — March 5, 2009 @ 11:08 am - March 5, 2009

  36. Heliotrope, “powering America on unicorn farts”??? I really, really like it!

    Comment by polly — March 5, 2009 @ 5:27 pm - March 5, 2009

  37. Good point Polly,

    There’s lots of promises Obama hasn’t broken. He promised his policies would make energy prices skyrocket, and that is one promise he intends to keep. Estimates are that his cap and trade policy will make energy prices jump at least 40% — and that’s just in the short-term.

    Comment by American Elephant — March 5, 2009 @ 7:10 pm - March 5, 2009

  38. […] take over.  Until today, I had thought that the talk of the conspiracy was attempts by the White House-MSM axis to smear Republicans as […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Has Paul Krugman Unmasked the Republican-Martian Conspiracy — June 29, 2009 @ 10:00 pm - June 29, 2009

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