Economy goes beyond Limbaugh

Published 1:42 pm Monday, February 2, 2009

By By Tray Smith
Liberals, who have spent the last eight years calling the president arrogant, cocky, and stubborn, showed no concern last week when newly crowned President Obama defended his stimulus plan in a meeting with Congressional Republicans by saying, “I won.” He then proceeded to explain to Republicans, “(You) can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.”
Rush Limbaugh did nothing particularly out of character to deserve this presidential attention, and House Republicans did not identify him in their arguments against the stimulus plan. However, by identifying Limbaugh as his antagonist, Obama created a potentially unpopular target to link with his opposition.
Congressional Democrats then launched an online petition against Rush Limbaugh and and produced an ad asking if Americans are “with Obama or Rush?”
Suddenly, any American with reservations about Congress’ plan to spend $819 billion of their money on an ill thought out economic stimulus plan found themselves having to choose between their democratically elected president and a talk radio host. While this is obviously a false choice, it follows traditional Democratic political strategy. Rather than discuss the substance of an issue, Democrats go on a war path against a false target to drum up a fake controversy and distract Americans from their quirky ideas. Hence the fact they brought Rush Limbaugh out of no where to demonize their opponents on an issue not even remotely related to Rush Limbaugh.
One imagines a hypothetical press conference with Nancy Pelosi going something like this:
Reporter: “Is it true your stimulus proposal will spend over $300 million taxpayer dollars for sexually transmitted disease prevention?”
Nancy Pelosi: “Are you with President Obama or Rush Limbaugh?”
Average American: “WHAT?”
Liberals have been demanding conservatives produce the missing link between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein for years. In that vein, I ask that they produce the link between Rush Limbaugh and their $800 billion boondoggle.
According to their logic (or their lack of logic), because Rush Limbaugh and Republicans oppose the stimulus package, Rush Limbaugh is the reason Republicans oppose the plan. Indeed, incessant liberal complaining about Limbaugh has elevated him to leadership status in the Republican Party, which he is undoubtedly enjoying. Entertaining and intelligent Rush Limbaugh may be, but he is nevertheless a distraction from the debate over the stimulus. Rather than defend him, Republicans should constantly remind their opponents that the issue is not a talk radio host; the issue is the costly monstrosity currently working its way through Congress.
That plan includes $600 million for the federal government to buy new cars, $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and $400 million dollars for global warming research. (Why do we need to research global warming if the evidence is already conclusive?) There is also $20 billion in food stamps and $81 billion for Medicaid, which will not only help states fund health insurance programs during the recession, but will also dramatically expand eligibility. The CBO estimates 1.2 million people will be added to the federal Medicaid roster.
The stimulus plan was intended to be a temporary, targeted boost to the economy. Instead, the Democrats have stuffed it with every pent-up liberal policy prerogative of the last decade. As Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s Chief of Staff, said, “You never let a crisis go to waste.” Democrats in Congress heeded that advice, and have used the current recession as an excuse to loan billions of dollars on behalf of the American people to fund their pet projects. This spending will not go away when the economy recovers. Does anyone actually think that those extra 1.2 million people are going to suddenly get off Medicaid or that food stamp recipients will go back to their previous allocations? No. If this stimulus plan passes, it will build hundreds of billions of dollars into the federal baseline and result in trillion dollar deficits into the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, buying cars for the federal government and researching global warming will do absolutely nothing to stimulate the economy.
And that’s the bottom line.
Tray Smith is a former page in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached at His column appears weekly

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