Saturday, February 28, 2009

Party of Rush

The Plum Line (Greg Sargent)

Top Democratic operatives are planning a stepped up campaign to promote Rush Limbaugh as the public face of the GOP — an effort that will include recruiting Dem governors to make this case on talk shows, getting elected officials to pen Op eds arguing it, and running more ads pushing it, a senior Democratic operative says.

Key leadership staff in the House and Senate, and in all the political committees, have been encouraged by senior Dem operatives to push this message wherever possible, the operative says.

“I’m encouraging everybody to go out and say this,” Paul Begala, the well-known Dem strategist, just told me by phone. “I’m hot for this. Let’s get this out every way we can.”

Begala is emerging as a major cheerleader and public face for this effort, though he says he’s not formally directing it. He described the effort as “organic” right now, though senior Democrats are discussing ways to formalize it.

Another sign that Dems will be amping up efforts to stamp Rush’s face on the GOP is the fact that Brad Woodhouse, a major proponent of this strategy, will soon take over as communications director at the Democratic National Committee. Woodhouse’s current group, Americans United for Change, just launched a new ad pressing the Rush-owns-the-GOP message.

“I’m encouraging every Democrat, every progressive, to be pointing out this powerful but painful truth: The party of Lincoln is now the Party of Limbaugh,” Begala continued. “We should make every Republican answer this: Why do they want our president to fail?”

Begala’s partner on CNN, James Carville, who first articulated the Rush message in early February, is also pushing Dems to blare this message, he confirms. “He is the embodiment of the Republican party, circa 2009,” Carville said.

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2009.03.03 TPM
"If GOPers are put on the spot and agree with Rush, they're taking an unpopular position about the direction of the country. If they disagree, they're immediately forced to grovel and look weak doing it. [I]t's sort of like the bitch-slap theory combined with jujitsu, because the Dems are actually getting Rush to administer the slaps. I'm about [40], and I'm not sure I've ever seen the Dems have the confidence to make Republicans look weak like this."

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