Obama picks a fight with talk radio – and loses

Political Editor
Washington Examiner
September 10, 2009

Democrats beat Republicans soundly in 2008. But they’re losing the fight with their current opponent – conservatives on the Internet, radio, and television.

It was the wrong battle for President Obama and his party to pick in the first place, but the policy decisions and mistakes made since the Democratic takeover have shifted the battle to even less favorable terrain.
Worse still, the fight is only just beginning.

The strategy early on in the administration was to mock talkers like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Remember the weeks of discussion over whether Limbaugh was the head of the GOP? That was back in the days when the White House was feeling invincible and thought it was a grand idea to make the idea of making Republicans affirm or reject every statement Limbaugh made in 15 hours of weekly pontification.

Conservative outlets were going to fight the president’s initiatives and their millions of listeners, viewers, and clickers were already predisposed to oppose government expansion. But what if elected Republicans could be forced to choose between the popular, young, history-making president and figures who fire up the Republican base but turn off the middle third of the electorate? By Axelrodian reckoning, this could simultaneously hurt the GOP with moderates and dispirit the Right.

Then came Guantanamo.

Dick Cheney didn’t seem to care whether Rush Limbaugh was the head of the party or if Colin Powell felt included. What he did care about was saying that bringing terrorists into the United States was a horrible idea.

Obama slapped back, but the Democratic Congress came down on Cheney’s side. Since then, the administration has been playing musical interrogation rooms.

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