Having pronounced herself proud of her country for the first time in decades at several campaign rallies, Michelle Obama (now with fabulous new eyebrows!) explained her surge of patriotic zeal: “What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback.” Her husband repeatedly implored voters to reject the “politics of fear” that had been so fiendishly foisted upon the country after 9/11. The November election marked a dramatic and historic departure from the old way of doing things, as hope had vanquished fear. But with Democrats firmly ensconced behind the levers of power in Washington, fear is making a comeback of its own.
It all started with the silly Rush Limbaugh kerfuffle. During one of their daily conference calls, an elite group of liberals—James Carville, Paul Begala, Rahm Emmanuel, and George Stephanopoulos—concluded that a public campaign to caricature Rush and brand him as the head of the Republican Party would pay political dividends. The Left, desperate for a new post-Bush enemy, promptly fell in line.
First, the President of the United States warned GOP Congressman to ignore the talk show host. Days later, CNN “analysts” Begala and Carville began pounding away at their freshly minted meme. Stephanopoulos dutifully put Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) on the spot during a Sunday morning interview, asking him about Rush’s influence over the party. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs then began taking regular potshots at Rush from the press room podium, and Left-wing media stooges piled on. Liberal talk show host Ed Schultz played clips from Rush’s CPAC speech on his show, interspersed with audio of Hitler speeches. Likening the conservative bogeyman du jour to Hitler? How creative, Ed! And courageous, of course. Schultz was rewarded with his own MSNBC program.
Although the strategy largely backfired by making the White House look petty while driving up Limbaugh’s ratings to all-time peaks, one must not does not discount the fact that a coordinated demonization effort had been launched—from the top down—against a private citizen.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography