By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House has seen the enemy, and his name is Rush Limbaugh.
President Barack Obama’s team is helping lead an effort to cast Limbaugh, a polarizing, conservative talk radio show host, as the Republican Party’s new face, using campaign-style attacks against a high profile target.
Democrats are taking advantage of a power void within the Republican Party now that George W. Bush has passed from the scene.
The goal is to convince Americans that the popularly known “Grand Old Party” of Abraham Lincoln is a shell of its former self and in the grip of its most narrow, right wing, in hopes of making independents and moderates think twice about switching allegiance.
And Limbaugh, whose three-hour daily show has the largest radio talk show audience in the country, is loving it. He is reveling in the opportunity to generate a wider audience to hear his views, demanding Obama debate him after saying he hoped Obama fails.
“They need a demon to distract and divert from what their agenda is,” he declared on his show. “They need a demon about whom they can lie so as to persuade average Americans that they’re the good guys.
Democrats say Limbaugh, one of the more inflammatory U.S. political commentators, had it coming to him.