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Right Turn
Posted at 08:45 AM ET, 03/07/2012

Romney should avoid the Limbaugh bait

The prolonged and ludicrous feeding frenzy over Rush Limbaugh, post-apology, has now become a strained effort to tie the likely Republican presidential nominee to the radio talk show host. My lefty blogger colleague Greg Sargent writes: “It’s hard to overstate what a huge gift Rush Limbaugh handed Democrats when he labeled Sandra Fluke a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute,’ and Dems will do all they can to ensure that Limbaugh continues to loom large over the presidential race.” Actually, it is easy to overstate, but the Dems, with the left’s blogosphere in tow, will try this gambit.

Yawn. This is not unlike the effort of the left-wing front groups and the liberal pundits to tie Republicans to the Koch brothers. “Evil guys. Republicans. Connection. See? See!” No, actually.

As a preliminary matter, I am struck by how far afield from anything relevant the Obama team and liberal media must go to attack the likely Republican presidential nominee who is supposedly so weak. Really, Rush Limbaugh is the best the Dems can do?

Contrary to liberal punditry, “fear” does not explain the reluctance of Republicans to weigh in on this non-issue. There are three compelling reasons for Romney to say nothing about this, and in fact, to turn the tables on Obama.

First, if Romney were to take the bait, he’d soon find himself with the full-time gig of media critic. Every day, talk show hosts and bloggers pop off about things using ill-chosen language. Romney is running for president, not for family-friendly ratings chieftain.

Second, this is a one-sided game with zero intellectual honesty. As Kirsten Powers has argued, the left has it share of miscreants. And we certainly know the Democrats have an anti-Jewish and anti-Israel issue on the hard left. None of this raises an eyebrow. When left-leaning pundits start calling for the president to distance himself from the grab-bag of unsavory rhetoric on his side I will take them seriously. Until then, not.

And finally, this is one big and obvious misdirection. Romney would be foolish to spend one moment directing his fire at radio entertainers rather than the president. Yesterday, Obama committed Michael Kinsley gaffe (caught telling the truth, namely his support for Israel is as substantive as cotton candy). The administration rolled out an incoherent and useless housing plan. The president’s lead-from-behind Syria policy revealed itself to be embarrassingly late and half-hearted. No wonder the left wants to talk about Rush Limbaugh.

Romney when asked about this should be blunt: The president has 8.3-percent unemployment, a huge debt, no entitlement reform plans and a floundering foreign policy. All he knows and wants to talk about are gimmicks. Shame on him.

And by the way, this is the sort of issue that may thrill the liberal base, but I really doubt this is going to impress swing voters, the ones who abhor partisanship and are sick of politics as usual.

By  |  08:45 AM ET, 03/07/2012

 
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