Not Understanding The Magnitude Of The Problem

The ability and willingness of so many to engage in pointless discussion of Rush Limbaugh and other silly people gives me the impression that the seriousness of our dire economic situation has not really sunk in to the Media and others. One example is this passage from E.J. Dionne's column today:

Paradoxically, perhaps, [Obama would] rather have citizens thinking about taxes and collapsing banks than about abortion.

They already are of course. But many are mostly thinking about jobs and paying the bills (not "taxes" which is more of a Beltway obsession). It is fascinating to watch the Media stop and cover every detail of this silly Limbaugh stuff. None of this matters politically. What matters politically is if the economy turns around. If it does, Obama and Democrats will dominate. If it does not, Republicans will make a comeback. If it is politics that interest you, then you should be thinking about one thing - will the economy turn around?

Speaking for me only

< When Losing Your Country Leads To "Lunacy" | Applauding That We Once Despised >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Me? (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 07:51:39 AM EST
    [W]ill the economy turn around?

    I hope so.  And you're right - "regular" people do not dwell on "taxes" (except when they have to pay them).  But week to week, people are focused on "Can I pay both the rent and have enough left over to pay the electric bill?"

    Will the economy turn around? (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Fabian on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:30:57 AM EST

    The real question is WHEN?  This year?  Next year?  Ten years from now?

    Financial institutions dug us all a mighty deep hole and we might be able to build a bridge over it, but it won't be a very big bridge or a very strong one and that hole isn't going away any time soon.  If we can walk that narrow, shaky path, we might be able to avoid falling into that gaping hole.  But if we fall into it, we'll be a long, long time climbing out again.


    Playing devil's advocate here (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Demi Moaned on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:17:16 AM EST
    I agree that all-Limbaugh all the time coverage is tiresome. But it does seem to me that there is a valid political point here.
    What matters politically is if the economy turns around.

    Very true. But the ability of the White House to implement the policies that it believes will be effective has to contend with the adamant, united opposition of Congressional Republicans. Tying the Congressional Republicans to Limbaugh is one way to put political pressure on them.

    Yes (none / 0) (#7)
    by AlkalineDave on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:26:52 AM EST
    and it's also a way to unite the party.  They have the party rallying around the banner.  Those who aren't have become vulnerable.  In a recent poll, Specter loses in the primaries as a Republican.  I know it's early, but the rumor mill already has a member of Citizens Against Government Waste looking at taking him on in the primaries and he could win.  The Republicans have thrown their chips in together, and if the economy doesn't rebound, we could see a repeat of 94.

    My belief (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Steve M on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:32:27 AM EST
    is that the Limbaugh thing is generally a successful tactic in terms of branding the Republican Party as extreme and unpopular; the problem is that there is a point of diminishing returns because the GOP was ALREADY extremely unpopular.  So I don't think it was counterproductive or anything, but I sure wish the Dems had engaged in this exercise back when it really was necessary to shift the balance of power.  (I've advocated for this tactic for a long time.)

    The Dems should bear in mind that they didn't retake power because the American people loved them and thought they made a compelling case; they basically won two elections by default because the GOP self-destructed.  At the end of the day, the Dems will be judged more by how well the Dems govern than by how well they manage to demonize the GOP.

    None of this will matter (5.00 / 0) (#12)
    by AlkalineDave on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:36:53 AM EST
    if the democrat leadership cannot provide the leadership to help turn the economy around.  They'll look desperate going after Rush while the Republicans will sing to the high heavens about how the Dems failed.  And who do you think the public is going to listen to?  The party obsessed with a talk show how, or the party speaking about the economy.  Replay the last presidential election and think about which rhetoric won...

    "The democrat leadership"? (none / 0) (#15)
    by Spamlet on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:19:31 AM EST
    Are you a Republican? (Not that there's anything wrong with that . . .)

    Yep and my wife (none / 0) (#16)
    by AlkalineDave on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:25:01 AM EST
    is a democrat ((not that it matters).  I'm liberal on social justice and foreign policy issues, so I would say my leaning is probably more libertarian.  

    The democrats control congress and the presidency.   They have a great opportunity to provide the change they believe will make this country better.  If they focus on that and are successful, they will keep their seats. If they focus on Limbaugh and fail in their policies, people won't care about the Rush issue anymore.


    OK, thanks--and a question (none / 0) (#17)
    by Spamlet on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:51:09 AM EST
    My theory is that Republicans say "the Democrat leadership" instead of "the Democratic leadership" because they know that Anericans have a positive subliminal response to the word "Democratic," hearing it as "democratic." Is that your understanding of this (to me) highly irritating Republican tactic? If not, how would you explain it?

    For me (none / 0) (#18)
    by AlkalineDave on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 10:59:45 AM EST
    it was a type.  For the Republicans who us it intentionally, it's probably mainly to get under the skin of Democrats.  Sure there could be other reasons e.g. feeling that it's high jacking the original word democratic, they heard someone else use it (probably Rush), or they just don't know any better.  Bottom line, they're probably  trying to pi$$ you off.

    and by type (none / 0) (#19)
    by AlkalineDave on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:00:29 AM EST
    I mean typo.  My ability to type this morning is being highly hampered by too much coffee.

    No worries, Dave (none / 0) (#23)
    by Spamlet on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 01:06:07 PM EST
    After all, I referred to "Anericans." I wonder where they live, and whether they prefer the Republican or the Democrat leadership.

    lol (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by AlkalineDave on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 01:33:00 PM EST
    They probably live in the "real" America.

    For Heavens Sake (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by samsguy18 on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:35:06 AM EST
    This Limbaugh situation is a deliberate distraction. Rahm E. is famous for playing these games. Enough...... they need to stop playing games and pay attention to our sinking economy.They need to grow up!!!!!!!

    I agree (none / 0) (#27)
    by Mikeb302000 on Fri Mar 06, 2009 at 05:00:23 AM EST
    I agree with the "distraction" theory.  But it's sometimes hard to determine who's behind the distraction and who is just taking advantage of the moment. I also agree that it's the economy we need to be worried about.

    "Politics" or "policy"? (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:56:29 AM EST
    If it is politics that interest you, then you should be thinking about one thing - will the economy turn around?

    Seems to me that the latest Limbaugh lunacy is exactly the type of thing most people are interested in when they say they're interested in politics.

    Others? (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:00:31 PM EST

    The ability and willingness of so many to engage in pointless discussion of Rush Limbaugh and other silly people gives me the impression that the seriousness of our dire economic situation has not really sunk in to the Media and others.

    Others?  Do you mean those at the White House that are directing this show.  It speaks poorly of them as they should have more important activities to keep themselves busy.

    Yes and no. (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by oldpro on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 12:44:02 PM EST
    Yes.  It's STILL 'the economy, stupid!'

    No.  Democrats should not ignore the opportunity to brand the Rs as failures...the folks who DID fail you when they were in charge of the government and the same folks go so far as to say they actually want Obama to fail now.  How far will the Rs go to make sure he does?!?

    In a 24/7 media environment, a lot of propaganda will fill the air.  Democrats should make sure their message(s) get a more-than-fair-share of the exposure.  And they should bring every message and every effort back to problem-solving re the economy.

    Nothing else will matter if Dems are seen as failures on the economy...which is, I agree, far worse than people seem to credit (to use a loaded word).

    The media has been in the business (none / 0) (#2)
    by ai002h on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:29:28 AM EST
    of covering the side-show for a while now. Think about the campaign, did you ever hear analysis of actual policy proposals or did you hear analysis of ads and Britney. I'm ok with democrats playing the Limbaugh card because if the media will talk about sideshows regardless, let it happen on our terms.

    The only one (none / 0) (#4)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:50:04 AM EST
    the Dems help by "playing the Limbaugh" card is Rush Limbaugh himself.  Don't you know how THRILLED he is that Barack Obama got elected and not John McCain?? Add to that, that Obama actually named him in an off the cuff press conference remark, and that just helped him more.  Rush was a forgotten and ignored man during the Bush years - oh sure, he still had his regular audience, but he couldn't do tons of criticizing of Bush or his BFF Cheney, but since Obama personally named him, and now Emanuel has put out the talking point that Rush is the head of the GOP, plus this little spat with Michael Steele, and well, that's great for ratings.

    I guess the next thing the Obama and Emanuel show should do is to say that Ann Coulter is co-chairing the GOP with Rush.  Maybe it will help her sell more books.


    Who care if it helps Rush?? (none / 0) (#6)
    by ai002h on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:26:04 AM EST
    The important thing is is further marginalizes the republican party, look at what happened to Steele, look at the new Politico article where they're all demoralized saying Democrats have pretty much controlled the terms of the debate. It matters to frame the party as beholden to a fringe voice of the party, which is what Rush is. It also helps that, to the public, Obama is not involved in this debate. They still see him on tv talking about the economy and no one has seen him publicly mention Rush Limbaugh even once, so he's managed to stay above the fray.

    When you have (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by AlkalineDave on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:28:22 AM EST
    your press secretary making comments and your chief of staff being implicated in targeting a radio show host it looks bad in my opinion.  The discourse should be about the economy and we have white house staff playing election year politics.  I think it could backfire.

    Obama's comment referencing Limbaugh (none / 0) (#8)
    by ai002h on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:28:06 AM EST
    was leaked from a private meeting with House and Senate republicans, it wasn't on camera. No one has publicly heard Obama mention Limbaugh, which matters.

    Not true (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 09:49:40 AM EST
    he said it to GOP leaders when he threw down the gauntlet and made Limbaugh relevant again. Link

    I think this strategy of tying the GOP to Rush will backfire.  You yourself said, "Who cares if it helps Limbaugh?" Well, I care - he was marginalized, and now he's back and in the news.  And what happens to shows (or movies) or whatever, where most people don't care about it until a controversy is stirred up?  Their ratings go up because people want to tune in to see what happens next.  If Limbaugh gets better ratings, he gets stronger.  

    As was my original point - this does not help the Dems in the long run. Everyone is still in love with Obama, so he can do no wrong.  But in 6 months, a year, maybe, when the glow has faded, people will be looking more critically at him and his policies (especially if the economy is still bad and the effects of the stimulus don't seem to be working), and then stuff like this pi$$ing contest and other small stuff like it in future news cycles will add up, and people will wonder why they wasted time talking about drivel instead of solving the problems they were elected to do.

    The 2010 elections will be based on one thing and one thing only - the economy.  Not who Obama and Rahm say speaks for the GOP, not the stories about the GOP infighting and regrouping, not hope, not change, and not a new puppy.  If people are feeling more secure about the economy, the Dems should have a good year.  If there is any doubt - Dems lose. Period.


    The Media Covers What It ... (none / 0) (#20)
    by santarita on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:21:29 AM EST
    understands and what it thinks will draw viewers.

    The media stars like Matthews don't understand economic issues.  They understand political tactics and strategy.  That's what they talk about.  

    It may be an interesting political tactic to brand GOP.  But it is only interesting and important to political junkies and to those who want their news to be more about personalities than about policies.  Essentially, this is People Magazine type of news rather than Atlantic Monthly or The New Yorker.  

    Big Time Media (none / 0) (#25)
    by cal1942 on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 01:48:34 PM EST
    people are so far not squeezed by the real life of a deteriorating economy.

    It's little wonder they're still fliting around writing nonsense.  That old game is their bread and butter and real life hasn't sunk in.

    Taxes don't mean a damn thing if you're out of work. And if you're still employed but are thoughtful and patriotic you'll pay whatever is necessary to strengthen the country. Media big shots just don't get it and for this generation of pundits they probably never will.

    The economy is ALL I think about (none / 0) (#26)
    by BrassTacks on Fri Mar 06, 2009 at 12:15:33 AM EST
    I couldn't care less about Rush Limbaugh.  Why is the President's spokesman wasting ONE SINGLE WORD on Rush and the others?  No one cares!  Shut up about the goofy entertainers and tell us about the important things, like the ever tanking market and no jobs!