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Operation Rushbo

Jonathan Martin has a good piece reporting out how and when Democrats realized Rush Limbaugh was their perfect foil. The thing that makes Rush different from past GOP boogeymen--such as Newt and Bush--is that, because his bottom line is ratings (rather than votes), the Dems' demonization of him is actually kind of good for him:

Limbaugh is embracing the line of attack, suggesting a certain symbiosis between him and his political adversaries.

"The administration is enabling me,” he wrote in an e-mail to POLITICO. “They are expanding my profile, expanding my audience and expanding my influence. An ever larger number of people are now being exposed to the antidote to Obamaism: conservatism, as articulated by me. An ever larger number of people are now exposed to substantive warnings, analysis and criticism of Obama's policies and intentions, a ‘story’ I own because the [mainstream media] is largely the Obama Press Office.”

The bigger, the better, agreed Carville. “It’s great for us, great for him, great for the press,” he said of Limbaugh. “The only people he’s not good for are the actual Republicans in Congress.”

Which is why Republicans' best move, at this point, is probably just to ignore Limbaugh: don't denounce him (and then inevitably recant), don't praise him; and don't appear on his show. And maybe hope that Clear Channel--which pays Limbaugh his $50 million a year salary and whose parent company just posted a $5 billion loss--goes broke.

--Jason Zengerle