Before President-elect Barack Obama has taken the oath of office; before he offered up his election-night speech in which he focused on how he intends to lead the country, conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh began his criticism.
“He [newly appointed Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel] is a good old-fashioned Chicago thug just like Obama is a good old-fashioned Chicago thug.”
This is what passes for well-reasoned, civil disagreement on national radio.
“So many people have been fooled! So many people have just been swamped by what has happened here… I eagerly anticipate the day where the lights of realization go on inside the dimwit skulls of so many of these people who unwittingly and for the stupidest of reasons, voted for Obama.”
This is what passes for “Excellence in Broadcasting.”
The only thing Mr. Limbaugh excels at is stirring up negative partisanship, not to mention demeaning the majority of American voters.
At a time when we need it least, Mr. Limbaugh has become the “Rage-aholic-in-Chief.” All this before Mr. Obama has taken office, or implemented a single plan of action!
In contrast, we have President-elect Obama’s first news conference yesterday in which he addresses the current economic crisis.
He starts by sharing his conversation with President Bush.
“I’ve spoken to President Bush. I appreciate his commitment to ensuring that his economic policy team keeps us fully informed as developments unfold.”
He introduces us to the members of his team of advisors.
“…this morning, I met with members of my Transition Economic Advisory Board, who are standing behind me…”
He sketches some basics regarding his plans for the economy.
“We discussed in the earlier meeting several of the most immediate challenges facing our economy and key priorities on which to focus on in the days and weeks ahead.”
He is focused and transparent.
“Some of the choices that we make are going to be difficult. And I have said before and I will repeat again: It is not going to be quick, and it is not going to be easy for us to dig ourselves out of the hole that we are in.”
He is calm and realistic.
“But America is a strong and resilient country. And I know we will succeed, if we put aside partisanship and politics and work together as one nation. That’s what I intend to do.”
He is confident and reassuring.
What we need now, is for Americans to stand behind and support our new president.
At such a critical time, we need to get past the doubts and denigrations and encourage our incoming president to succeed, not only in turning the economy around, but in successfully dealing with the rest of his “to-do” list for America.
Along the way, there will be differences of opinion and that’s okay.
What we don’t need is hostile, exaggerated rhetoric that onlyserves to inflame rather than inform.
“Now is a good time for us to set politics aside for awhile,” Mr. Obama said, “and think practically about what will actually work to move the economy forward.”
Now is a good time for Mr. Limbaugh to set partisan anger aside and start practicing “Country First.”