As I’ve written before, one of my favorite quotations from RN is: “Politics is battle, and the best way to fire up your troops is to rally them against a visible opponent on the other side of the field. If a loyal supporter will fight hard for you, he will fight twice as hard against your enemies.”
Until a few weeks ago, Democrats could rally their troops against President Bush. They still hate him, but his departure makes it harder to stoke the fires. Democrats need an enemy, and they have found him. The White House is undertaking an elaborate campaign to demonize Rush Limbaugh and make him the face of the GOP. RN would be familiar with the tactic. In his 1950 Senate race, he linked Helen Gahagan Douglas to left-wing congressman Vito Marcantonio. In his biography of RN, Earl Mazo observed:
In the California election Mrs. Douglas was first tied to Marcantonio by her Democratic primary opponent. When he read ahout it in Washington, Marcantonio went to a friend of Nixon’s and said, chuckling, “Tell Nicky to get on this thing because it is a good idea.” Marcantonio disliked Mrs.
Douglas intensely and normally used an obscene five-letter word when referring to her in private conversations.
Once again, President Obama is channeling the Old Man.