Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Spinning the Message

It's interesting to note the careful wordsmithing the White House and other Democrats have hammered out in their ad hominem campaign against Rush Limbaugh. The current, precise phrasing of the indictment against Limbaugh is that Limbaugh "hopes the President's economic policies fail" (to quote Robert Gibbs from yesterday).

Philo-Junius thinks that's artful, because it implies that Obama's policies can succeed if everybody claps their hands and thinks happy thoughts. What Limbaugh has not stated out loud, but needs to make clear, is that what he means is that he wants Obama to fail in his attempts to implement wrongheaded and dangerously ideological policies based on flawed understandings of economics and human nature.

The issue is not whether conservatives or Republicans want Obama to "do well." Many conservatives hope and pray that a blinding light of providential revelation indeed strike Obama on the road to Damascus, or Tehran, or wherever, and he realise the manifold errors of his ways and be converted to the understanding of the inevitable failure of attempts to manage the U.S. economy and finance from above, and that, changing his goals, he leads the American economy to recovery and from strength to strength.

But that is not the course he has set, nor the one which a gambling man would wager Obama would ever undertake. Obama is attempting to implement policies which will impair the prosperity and social fabric of the nation for years to come, even if some believe (as some Democrats believed of G.W. Bush) he does it with the best intentions.

When someone sets about organising a campfire in an old-growth forest in the middle of the worst drought on record, it's not mean-spirited to hope he doesn't pull it off. This distinction is what Limbaugh needs to enunciate to defuse the attacks on him, and it is the distinction that we can expect the White House and its surrogates to most artfully attempt to efface.

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