I think we’re reaching consensus that the Rush Limbaugh gambit backfired on the White House. Mara Liasson — hardly a Republican cheerleader –comments on the White House’s Limbaugh antics:
Look, I think the White House was acting like it was in a campaign. . . I think they took it a little too far. You had Robert Gibbs by the end of the week saying he agreed that this was counterproductive, because he lobbed a couple of the hand grenades himself from the podium in the White House briefing. Look, there are serious, serious issues that the president has to be dealing with, and the White House chief of staff, and everybody else there, other than kind of fomenting a big argument about whether a talk show — radio talk show host leads the Republican Party.
And while OpinionWeek can always find a reason to bash Republicans, the gambit is, I think, effective only with the same sort of voter who clings to that publication — those immune to all coverage that departs from White House spin. Meanwhile the White House press secretary is in retreat, MSM publications are pleading for this to stop, and Republicans are delighted for once to be occupying the high ground.
Perhaps if we were not in such dire times, or if the administration seemed to have a handle on the real policy challenges facing it, the maneuver would not have struck people as such a wildly inappropriate stunt. Coupled with moves like grabbing control of the Census, this simply confirms that the Chicago Way is pathetically alive and well in D.C.