Responding to a question from Harry Smith on the CBS “Early Show,” Barack Obama said he’s not surprised that he is being fiercely attacked over the radio, and mentioned Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck in particular. He added that he didn’t buy the positive hype that came in the days following his inauguration.
Smith wanted to know what Obama thought of the extreme terms used to describe him, ranging from socialist to Nazi.
He responded, “Well, I think that when you listen to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, it’s pretty apparent, and it’s troublesome, but keep in mind that there have been periods in American history where this kind of vitriol comes out. It happens often when you’ve got an economy that is making people more anxious, and people are feeling like there is a lot of change that needs to take place. But that’s not the vast majority of Americans. I think the vast majority of Americans know that we’re trying hard, that I want what’s best for the country.”
He added, “I didn’t buy all the hype, right after inauguration, where everybody was only saying nice things about me. And I don’t get too worried when things aren’t going as well because I know that over time these things turn.”
Limbaugh was not without a response, in an email published by Politico’s Ben Smith. Limbaugh said, “I and most Americans do not believe President Obama is trying to do what’s best for the country. Never in my life have I seen a regime like this, governing against the will of the people, purposely. I have never seen the media so supportive of a regime amassing so much power. And I have never known as many people who literally fear for the future of the country.”
RBR-TVBR observation: It’s been pretty quiet between Obama and Limbaugh of late, and in our humble opinion this incident really falls into the mere skirmish category.
However, the playbook for the person in power has two options for dealing with persistent critics. One, the more commonly used, is to simply ignore the critic. Pretend the critic doesn’t exist, and deny the critic the extra notoriety that comes with being mentioned by a person in power.
The Obama administration is clearly taking a more aggressive stance. They seem to have decided that the followers of Limbaugh and others may be loud and loyal, but they are also a minority of the public at large, and it is more than happy to mix it up with them.
This open dialog between Obama and conservative broadcasters could get really interesting in 2012.