- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 15, 2009

Michael Moore=Rush Limbaugh?

The two gentlemen are as different as Neptune and Uranus, martinis and highballs, Titleist and Callaway, Donzis and Chris-crafts, night crawlers and helgramites — uh-h-h, right? Well, hold on to your foundation undergarments, folks. Mr. Moore and Mr. Limbaugh may have one thing in common, at least for a few nanoseconds.

Both have been vilified by political parties, then manipulated by political strategists. Republicans reviled Mr. Moore, then claimed he was the terrifying face of the Democratic Party to sway vulnerable voters. Democrats did exactly the same with Mr. Limbaugh, and are still doing it. This all yields marginally good political theater, and of course, convenient fodder for this column and others.

But their commonality ends there. Mr. Moore rejected the idea that he is the Democrats’ Rush Limbaugh, and claimed that the strategy backfired on the GOP.

Thanks to the Republican attacks on me, average Joes and Janes started to listen to what I had to say. … Obama and the Democrats going after Rush is a good thing and will not do for him what the Republican attack plan did for me — namely, the majority of Americans will never be sympathetic to him because they simply don’t agree with him, Mr. Moore says.

The days of using my name as a pejorative are now over. The right wing turned me into an accidental spokesperson for the liberal, majority agenda. Thank you, Republican Party. You helped us elect one of the most liberal senators to the presidency of the United States. We couldn’t have done it without you, Mr. Moore concludes.

Mr. Limbaugh, however, does not appear to be an accidental spokesperson. He has embraced the role of articulator in chief, several steps ahead of Democratic strategists. The canny radio host challenged President Obama to a debate. Now, that would be noteworthy political theater, and maybe pay-per-view TV.

Meanwhile, Mr. Limbaugh continues to offer directionals to semi-coherent GOPers — like who really leads the Democratic Party. It’s not Moveon.org, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or even George Soros, he explains.

It’s David Axelrod with a little Rahm Emanuel thrown in, Mr. Limbaugh says. While everybody’s running around trying to figure out who it is that is the leader of the Republican Party, the real interesting question is, who’s running the Democrat show?

Mitt=Sarah?

Mitt Romney — contender, not has-been — has resurfaced in the quicksand of the GOP.

With a more statesmanlike bearing and some measured criticisms of the Obama administration, Romney suddenly seems like the only adult left standing among the 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls, said Peter Canellos of the Boston Globe. It’s early, of course — ridiculously early — for anyone except potential candidates to be thinking about the next presidential race. But there’s been plenty of positioning going on in the now-leaderless GOP.

Maybe the aforementioned equation should read Mitt+Sarah=2012.

Quotes of note

I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time. — Meghan McCain on Ann Coulter, in the Daily Beast.

I happen to like Limbaugh’s program, and have listened to it, on and off, for many years. — Washington Post writer Paul Farhi.

I may run for president of Texas. — Chuck Norris to Fox News’ Glenn Beck.

By the numbers

68 percent of Republican voters say their party has no clear leader.

5 percent name Sen. John McCain and Michael Steele as GOP leaders.

2 percent say Rush Limbaugh is in charge.

1 percent cited Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

17 percent are undecided.

37 percent of Republicans say the Democrats have no clear leader.

Meanwhile, 66 percent of Democrats say President Obama is their leader.

10 percent of Democrats say the party has no clear leader.

4 percent say House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in charge.

2 percent say Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy leads the party.

1 percent name comedian Jon Stewart.

16 percent of Democrats are not sure who leads their party.

86 percent say the Republicans have no clear leader

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted March 6 and 7.

Days of yore

Happy birthday to Old Hickory today; Andrew Jackson was born — yes, in a log cabin — in the Garden of the Waxhaws, S.C. He came to national fame for his prowess in the War of 1812; he was elected president in 1828.

Yes, but were there hanging chads? Today also marks the anniversary of the first automatic ballot voting machine, unveiled in New York in 1892.

Yes, but were there rude reporters? It’s also the anniversary of the very first open presidential press conference, hosted by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913.

Happy birthday to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, born in Brooklyn on March 15,1933. President Clinton nominated her to the mightiest hall of justice in 1993, the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court after Sandra Day O’Connor, nominated in 1981.

And speaking of Mr. Clinton, on this day 11 years ago, CBS’ 60 Minutes aired an interview with former White House volunteer Kathleen Willey, who accused the president of making unwelcome sexual advances toward her in the Oval Office, a charge Mr. Clinton denied.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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