I've been trying to figure out whether the Obama administration's strategy of getting into what I think could fairly be called a "pissing match" is good for the administration or not. I heard a commentator today say that it was good both for the White House and for Limbaugh--for different reasons.
I'm not so sure.
And anyway there are three parties involved here not just two: the Obama administration, Rush Limbaugh, and the Republican Party.
For Limbaugh there are clear benefits: it improves his ratings. Being basically a radio entertainer, that meets his needs. For the Republican Party there are some clear disadvantages, especially for those trying to broaden the party's appeal beyond the conservative base. But those disadvantages are limited, since most politics in this country remains local and what Rush says helps or hurts the national Party. But no one elects a national party.
The Obama administration, on the other hand, although it thinks it is being clever by identifying the Republicans with Limbaugh (an identification that, if the strategy worked, would be forotten by the next election), risks demeaning itself. Rush only feels more important (and rightly so) when the office of the President of the United States spends time and resources calling attention to him.
But does the Obama administration help itself in the eyes of the public by using the credibility of the Presidential Office arguing publicly with a radio entertainer?
I don't think so.