In a recent commentary on the Huffington Post, Hutchinson criticized those who highlighted Rush Limbaugh's role in the Republican Party. Here's what Hutchinson had to say in a commentary entitled Wave the White Flag in the Limbaugh War:
Dated March 28, 2009
President Obama and the Democrats should wave the white flag in their strawman war on Rush Limbaugh. The Media Research Center delivered the grim casualty figures for the Democrats. Since January, the top talk show gabber's ratings have soared off the charts. Radio affiliates that carry Limbaugh's syndicated show call the ratings boost he's gotten from the Democrat's orchestrated attack on him a "dramatic surge." This writer predicted as much when President Obama cracked to Congressional Republicans in late January that they should knock off listening to Limbaugh if they expected to get anything done in Congress and with his administration.
The gabber instantly snatched at the quip and turned it into a multi show bonanza. No matter what topic Limbaugh gassed on, he managed to slide in a reference to Obama's prop up of him as the Democrat's prize punching bag. This did three things. It gave him an even bigger pile of fodder to puff himself up as the emperor of talk radio, claim to be the real kingmaker in the GOP, and in a perverse way paint himself as a credible and thoughtful political critic. It snapped many shell shocked Congressional Republicans out of their post election funk. Now suddenly feisty and combative, they draw a deep line in the sand against any and everything that Obama proposed. And it stiffened the spines of many timid Republicans and made them determined not to be bullied, or at least appear not to be bullied, by a mere talk show host into standing up to Obama.
This should have been the red flag warning to the Democrats to drop Limbaugh from their enemies rolodex. But no, they continued to blunder on. They took out ads, radio spots, and email blasts bashing and trashing bogeyman Limbaugh. The idea was to make sure that when the public thought GOP, they thought Limbaugh.
This was even more grist for Limbaugh. An he went on a tear. In quick succession he picked a fight with Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele, Newt Gingrich, a handful of GOP accomodationists, and the usual suspect to him liberal Democratic interest groups. But the real payoff was that it let him pad his bully pulpit to further whip up the pack to nit pick, poke fun at, and blow up any and every alleged slip or misstep by Obama. This in turn added even more steam to his inflammatory campaign of rumors, half truths, distortions, and flat out lies about Obama, liberals, and just about any other issue he rants on.
Any other time this might be fun and games stuff, a side show distraction that bored reporters and TV talking heads used to fill up column space or a talk cast on off a slow news day, but the Democrats just couldn't let it go. And that insured that the Limbaugh as Democrat's foil ploy would continue to have shelf life.
Limbaugh in a phony self-deprecating moment mockingly minimized his importance as a radio talk show host, feigning puzzlement at why the Democrats were so obsessed with him. He was right. They never should have been. Obama didn't need him to get Congressional Democrats and whipsaw a few Republicans into backing his program and to approve his cabinet appointees. He still doesn't. And that's all the more reason to wave the white flag in the Limbaugh war.
I think that it's great that Progressives are finally starting to fight back and are linking the Republican Party to a leadership figure who is a bigot, a drug addict, and a windbag....an unpopular one as a matter of fact. Progressives should do everything they can to wrap Limbaugh and Co. around the necks of Republicans. Limbaugh and his ilk have been given a pass by the Republicans for years, allowed to say whatever they wanted while being the Spokesmen/Spokeswomen and defacto leaders for the Republican Party. Now the beast has grown so big that even the Republicans have no control over what they started.
Republicans should be forced to either support or reject what these people are saying on their behalf. They should be embarrassed and shamed. Either they support the repugnant behavior of their spokesmen and leaders or they don't. The resulting friction will create a mess within a political Party that is already in distress. That's good news for Progressives. It will further marginalize the GOP. Highlighting their hate speech will also cause them to lose moderates and independents, at a time when they need as many votes as they can get. They are already losing young people and minorities, two growing demographics. Within the next few decades, the U.S. will be a majority minority nation.
Who cares if Limbaugh sees a momentary spike in ratings (which are skewed by the way). Limbaugh is going to make money and have these spikes no matter what. He has been around for over 20 years now. In fact, he has tended to do well in years when there was a Democratic President.
Take a look at my Republican media page (still under construction).
Huffpo readers tended to see my view on this issue. Here are a few of their responses.
To heck with his ratings; Rush has repeatedly and eagerly humiliated himself (even more then usual) in the past several weeks, transforming himself and the party he heads into an ever larger laughingstock. It's been fun to watch the self-immolation. I therefore figure the Democrats are doing an excellent job of driving him straight up the wall. Perhaps they shouldn't stop until he explodes; it's coming, you know.
To those who accuse moderates and liberals of not listening to Rush's filth I say that I have listened to him but don't regularly because he is spiritual poison. I avoid him the same as I avoid tainted water; he's sick and the exposure makes me sick. Same goes for psychopaths at Faux Noise.
Every time a Republican denounced Limbaugh, only to go crawling back to Rush with their tail between their legs... it was a huge win for the White House.
In politics, nothing is more important than making your opponent look weak and impotent. Seeing the so-called "leaders" of the Conservatives run begging Limbaugh for forgiveness made them look more weak and impotent than ANYTHING else ever could. So did presenting a budget with no numbers, or being the "Party of No"... but to a much lesser extent than licking Limbaugh's boots.
Revealing Limbaugh as the leader of the GOP was the smartest thing the Democratic Party, as a whole, has done in decades.
Totally disagree with you on this one Earl. Let Limbaugh have his ratings, and let the Congressional GOP think that Limbaugh is the way. Except for much of the deep south and Utah, most of these states are getting bluer everyday. Rush Limbaugh marginalizes many in his own party let alone Democrats. The Obama Administration should treat him just like Obama did Palin, let the fool keep talking and dig an even bigger ditch for himself. Most intelligent people do not even want to remotely be associated with what Limbaugh has to say. It will become painfully evident next year when even more Repubs are voted out of the house and the senate. Perhaps when there are only 20 house repubs and 10 senators, it will start making sense to them then.
Limbaugh isn't the target. The Republican party was the target.
Yes, Rush got an ego boost when the Democratic party correctly IDed him as the current leader of the GOP. So what? He won't be on any ballot, and people aren't voting for his causes this year.
Totally wrong on this one Earl. The more people listen to his BS the better. As people realize he is nothing but hate and obstruction, the more they will abandon the Republican party. Talk about a great cause and effect.
Why would you wave a white flag when you're winning the war? Expose the hatred and venom that Rush Limbaugh spews - mission accomplished.