In an interview on CNN, President Obama said that Republicans have admitted in private that they agree with him, but won’t act because they are afraid of Rush Limbaugh.
Transcript from CNN:
CUOMO: Nobody knows better than you that it is a big part of the job of the president to make that happen. How much of the lack of action in Washington do you put on yourself, in terms of blame?
OBAMA: Well, look, ultimately, the buck stops with me. And so any time we are not moving forward on things that should be simple, I get frustrated. And, you know, I’ve said before — and I continue to say — you know, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get Congress — and Republicans in Congress in particular — to think less about politics and party and think more about what’s good for the country.
There is nobody out there who thinks that us not paying bills we’ve already racked up is good for the economy, is appropriate, that America losing its reputation and the full faith and credit of the United States would somehow improve the prospects of working families or businesses around the country. Nobody thinks that. So why are we even talking about? Why aren’t we just getting that done?
When it comes to the budget, we know that we shouldn’t be cutting more on core investments like education that are going to help us grow in the future. And we’ve already seen the deficit cut in half. It’s going down faster than any time in the last 60 years. So why would we make more cuts in education, more cuts in basic research? Nobody thinks that’s a good idea.
And then, finally, now what we’ve got is Republicans talking about the idea that they would shut down the government — bad for the economy, bad for not just people who work for the government, but all the contractors who — and the defense folks and everybody who is impacted by the services that they receive from the federal government, we should shut that down, because Republicans, after having taken 40 votes to try to get rid of Obamacare, see this as their last gasp.
Nobody thinks that’s good for the middle class. So the question is ultimately, if you are putting the American people first, if you are prioritizing them, then this shouldn’t be that difficult. And I’ve made this argument to my Republican friends privately, and, by the way, sometimes they say to me privately, “I agree with you, but I’m worried about a primary from, you know, somebody in the Tea Party back in my district,” or, “I’m worried about what Rush Limbaugh is going to say about me on the radio. And so you got to understand, I’m — it’s really difficult.”
Well, you know what? I can’t force these folks to do what’s right for the American people, because they’re independently elected, it’s a separate branch of government, and I don’t have a vote in Congress. But what I sure as heck can do is stay focused on what I know will be good for the American people.
Republicans are scared of Rush Limbaugh because the right wing talker has an out sized presence in a party that has gotten very small over the last few years. Congressional Republicans are more interested in protecting their own seats than passing legislation. They see working with Obama on anything as the kind of activity that will get them a tea party challenger, and earn the wrath of Limbaugh.
Rush Limbaugh has about 15 million global weekly listeners. 60 million Republicans voted for Mitt Romney. This means that Limbaugh is capable of reaching 1/3 of the Republican Party. If the Republican Party was larger or had stronger leadership, Limbaugh could be kept in his place.
Since Republicans are scared of Limbaugh, this means that the dynamic in Washington isn’t Obama versus the Republicans. It is Obama versus Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and the right wing media.
The good news for Democrats is that Obama is consistently winning this battle. Republicans may have successfully demonized the term Obamacare, but Republicans are also lining up to enjoy the benefits of the ACA. Obama has consistently won the message war. That’s why taxes were increased on the wealthy. Congressional approval ratings are sitting at an all time low, and the Republican agenda has been reduced to 40 votes to repeal Obamacare.
Obama is the president, and the president will always trump a right wing talker sitting in his home studio in Florida spewing hate.
Rush Limbaugh isn’t an agenda. He is political junk food, which is why the president has been able to slice through Republicans like a knife through warm butter when has to.
The difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats have a strong leader with a clear agenda in the president. Republicans have no leader, and are busy kissing the ring of a formerly drug addicted talk show host.
Democrats are rebuilding America. Republicans are living in fear of talk show host whose only goal is to make himself even more money.
Just as love overcomes hate, real leadership always emerges victorious, and a Democrats have all the leaders.
Note: After updating the data, Limbaugh’s total weekly global listener reach is 15 millionish.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association