Today, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has a Washington Post op-ed entitled "Democrats' Diversionary Tactics":
In the first two months of 2009, the Democratic Congress and the White House have spent more money than the combined cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the response to Hurricane Katrina. After they doled out taxpayer dollars at such a blistering pace, the instinct of many inside the Beltway is to do what's most convenient: desperately try to change the subject by creating straw men — called "the party of no" — to rally against.
And in a carefully calculated campaign, operatives and allies of the Obama administration are seeking to divert attention toward radio host Rush Limbaugh, and away from a debate about our alternative solutions on the economy and the irresponsible spending binge they are presiding over. This diversionary tactic will not create a single job or help a single family struggling in today's economic crisis. And that is where our focus should be.
At the risk of being obvious, a couple of things need to be pointed out to Boehner.
(1) As I mentioned in a post yesterday, it strains credulity to pin the Limbaugh-as-de-facto-GOP-leader on Democrats. The power vacuum in the Republican Party was not created by the Democrats, save for the fact that the American public overwhelming supported Democrats in the last election. Nor did Democrats somehow compel Limbaugh to fill that vacuum (anyone with even a passing knowledge of Limbaugh knows that he grabbed the limelight and nobody put a gun to his head). Nor did Democrats make Limbaugh say that he hopes Obama fails. Nor did they invite Limbaugh to be the keynote speaker at CPAC where he rallied the conservative troops with incidiary language. Nor did Democrats have any role in the repeated ring-kissing and apologies that noted Republicans have given to Limbaugh these past few weeks.
Sure, Rahm Emanuel and other Democrats have been asked by the media to weigh in on the Limbaugh prominence, and that has in a small way helped to keep the story alive. But Republicans, like Michael Steele, are talking and debating about Limbaugh just as much, if not more, than Democrats. So the idea of it being a successful "carefully calculated campaign" is giving far too much credit to Democrats, and too little credit to Limbaugh's self-aggrandizing nature.
(2) As the Boehner sees it, Democrats don't want to talk about their economic policies, so they're talking about Limbaugh instead. Ridiculous. First of all, Americans largely approve Obama and his economic policies. Why then, would Democrats want to cast the spotlight on Limbaugh, who clearly doesn't approve of those policies?
Until people like Boehner understand that they have a problem, offer something other than being the "party of no", and start looking in the mirror instead of blaming others, they're going to spend a long time in the wilderness.