With George W. Bush now off the stage, it may be that Obama and some of his fellow Democrats view Limbaugh, and not John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, or any other elected official, as the true leader of the Republican opposition.York doesn't deal with the obviousness of Obama's argument that the Republicans won't be able to participate in the stimulus package legislation if they listen to Limbaugh. That's because Limbaugh is opposed to anything like an 800 billion stimulus package. Limbaugh's a small government Republican. He doesn't believe that government intervention to address the recession is appropriate, or that government intervention work. Assuming that Obama himself doesn't believe his own stimulus package will work, Limbaugh thinks that Obama is using the stimulus bill to further Democratic political goals.
To make the argument about me instead of his plan makes sense from his perspective. Obama's plan would buy votes for the Democrat Party, in the same way FDR's New Deal established majority power for 50 years of Democrat rule, and it would also simultaneously seriously damage any hope of future tax cuts. It would allow a majority of American voters to guarantee no taxes for themselves going forward. It would burden the private sector and put the public sector in permanent and firm control of the economy. Put simply, I believe his stimulus is aimed at re-establishing "eternal" power for the Democrat Party rather than stimulating the economy because anyone with a brain knows this is NOT how you stimulate the economy. If I can be made to serve as a distraction, then there is that much less time debating the merits of this TRILLION dollar debacle.
Literally speaking, Obama's right. The Republicans can't meaningfully participate in stimulus negotiations if they "just listen to Rush Limbaugh."
So why did Obama make the comment?
My opinion is that Obama mostly likes to throw a sharp elbow at the Republicans every once in a while just to show that they're not going to push him around.
But if Obama's comment did have a deep political connotation, I think it would be the opposite of what York says. Instead of viewing Limbaugh as the "true leader of the Republican opposition," Obama might be trying to give Limbaugh more exposure as a way to weaken the Republicans. It's important to emphasize that non-conservative America largely perceives Limbaugh as a combination of moron and racist buffoon. No surprise there. Whether Limbaugh is using "Barack the Magic Negro," making comments about the Baltimore Ravens, or talking about bending over for Obama, there's no doubt that he's America's most prominent racist buffoon as well as an important Republican leader.
Limbaugh himself recognizes the extent to which moderates hate him.
Perhaps recognizing this, Obama might be referring to Limbaugh as a way to undermine the Republican leadership. If McConnell and Boehner are going to be recalcitrant, Obama is going to remind them that they're being just like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity and that such right-wing extremism is a political loser.
And I think it's a great idea. The more national audiences see and here of conservative extremists like Limbaugh, the less they're going to be attracted to the Republican Party.