Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Ron Brynaert Even if it turns out they don't have a big enough boat to capture their whale, Democrats don't appear to be letting this one go anytime soon. "Democrats will continue Wednesday to portray Rush Limbaugh as the spokesman for the Republican Party by launching a Web page that mocks GOP leaders for apologizing to the radio host for criticizing or publicly disagreeing with him," CNN Political Editor Mark Preston reports at the network's political ticker. Preston adds, "The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is hosting the page — www.imsorryrush.com – which allows visitors to create an apology to Limbaugh on behalf of Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Georgia; South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford; or Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele." The top of the site includes a quote by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: "Whenever a Republican criticizes him, they have to run back and apologize to him." "Ever wonder how Republicans are able to tuck their tail between their legs and apologize to Rush Limbaugh so quickly after they've offended their leader? We've uncovered the secret Republican Apology Machine. Give it a try!" Users can choose to "apologize" on behalf of GOP leaders for calling Limbaugh pre-selected insults such as "an opportunistic brick thrower," "ugly," or "an idiot." "You and I both know that in reality, you simply want President Obama to fail in this time of economic collapse," the mocking fake letter reads. "How can I disagree with that? Please accept my sincere apologies, oh great leader of the Republican Party." CQ Politics noted Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was also doing his best to tie the Republican party to the controversial talk radio host, although perhaps not in a completely explicit or over manner. "The Republicans have made a decision just to say no to everything. It’s very clear they’ve made a decision that they want President Obama to fail," Reid told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “And this smoke that they’ve thrown up for this bill is only an effort to kill the bill, not to improve the bill. It’s simply to damage the bill.” CQ's David Natter asks, "How do we know Reid was talking about Limbaugh? Read on: 'I’m not going to name individual Republicans, but I think it’s very clear, as a result of the actions, since Obama was elected, that people want him to fail. Some have said so, others have just acted accordingly. And I think that as a result of what’s been going on in the press the last few days, we know that there’s a significant number of Republicans out there who want the president to fail.'" "What’s been going on in the press for the last few days?" Natter continues. "Oh, right — the CPAC conference where Limbaugh fired up the crowd and told conservatives to stop apologizing for wanting to block Obama’s agenda." DNC chair Tim Kaine quickly took advantage of Steele's apology Monday night: "I was briefly encouraged by the courageous comments made by my counterpart in the Republican Party over the weekend, challenging Rush Limbaugh as the leader of the Republican Party and referring to his show as ‘incendiary’ and ‘ugly.’ However, Chairman Steele’s reversal this evening and his apology to Limbaugh proves the unfortunate point that Limbaugh is the leading force behind the Republican Party, its politics and its obstruction of President Obama’s agenda in Washington." On Tuesday, RAW STORY reported that polls by Gallup in February show that Limbaugh has less favorable ratings from the mainstream public than former President George W. Bush. The most recent Gallup poll of Bush's approval ratings, conducted in early January, showed that his favorably rating had risen to 40, while another poll determined Limbaugh's favorable rating was 28. While Bush's unfavorable rating at 59 crushed Limbaugh's 45, previous Gallup polls show that despite a highly unpopular war, myriad political scandals and a recession, the former president's favorable rating never fell as low as Limbaugh's 28. Politico reports that top Democratic operatives hatched the 'go after Rush' strategy late last year. "The strategy took shape after Democratic strategists Stanley Greenberg and James Carville included Limbaugh’s name in an October poll and learned their longtime tormentor was deeply unpopular with many Americans, especially younger voters," Jonathan Martin writes. "Then the conservative talk-radio host emerged as an unapologetic critic of Barack Obama shortly before his inauguration, when even many Republicans were showering him with praise." Martin continues, "Soon it clicked: Democrats realized they could roll out a new GOP bogeyman for the post-Bush era by turning to an old one in Limbaugh, a polarizing figure since he rose to prominence in the 1990s."