First, just a word before the following is dismissed by Democratic readers as partisan, or as being from someone who doesn't know what he is talking about. My polling firm, InsiderAdvantage, is non-partisan. It polled the 2008 presidential race for the red-hot political site Politico, and was in a recent speech at Fordham University named by a guru who even D.C. liberals praise as one of the three most accurate national pollsters for the presidential contest.
This column isn't about partisanship. It's about strategy.
I've only met Rush Limbaugh once. It was back when I was politically active, running Newt Gingrich's campaign. One time in particular I had occasion to sit and casually chat with Limbaugh.
It was enlightening. He was the complete opposite of his persona. He was soft-spoken, extraordinarily polite and clearly not taking himself too seriously. My friends who know him well tell me he is still that way today.
Now for a second big personality, Democratic strategist James Carville. He was revealed just this week by media to have reportedly once said he hoped President Bush would fail -- just as Rush Limbaugh has recently been assailed for hoping the same about President Obama.
To be fair, Carville is much like Limbaugh. Sorry, conservatives, but while James can be nasty and shrill on TV -- and, as I write in my book, a tough political opponent -- he also is in private very polite and unassuming, not to mention kind and funny, too.
I would never make James Carville my target if I were trying to tear down the Democratic Party. Likewise, I would be wary of targeting Rush Limbaugh if I were an Obama strategist.
I can understand why some might suggest otherwise. A recent McClatchy newspaper poll reports that Limbaugh has only a 30 percent approval rating, and a 46 percent disapproval rating.
But that poll needs to be placed into perspective. It's likely that most of the 46 percent who say they view Limbaugh unfavorably have never heard his show. And reports of the survey's details suggest that Limbaugh suffers from weakness with independent voters.
Those two facts could prove dangerous for the Democrats in the future. Here's how: