Most large organizations employ a spokesperson to express the group’s ideology, mission statement and to make important public announcements. The spokesperson should be personable and speak in a manner that represents the character of the specific group, and political parties are no different. For some time now, the de facto spokesman for the Republican party has been controversial figure Rush Limbaugh and considering there are very few Republicans who are apt to contradict or condemn Limbaugh’s inflammatory rhetoric or outrageous statements, it can be assumed that every word he says represents the views, policies, and agenda of the GOP. Two years ago, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Willard Romney said, “I find it hard to disagree with Rush Limbaugh,” and after Limbaugh impugned the character of law student Sandra Fluke, Romney said “it’s not the language I would have used,” but he did not disagree with Limbaugh’s message.
On Monday, in a particularly outrageous attack on President Obama, Limbaugh said, “I think it can now be said, without equivocation — without equivocation — that this man hates this country. He is trying — Barack Obama is trying — to dismantle, brick by brick, the American dream.” It is not the first time Limbaugh accused the President of hating and attempting to destroy America, and it appears that he is reiterating the Romney campaign message that the President is foreign to America. Conservatives have used every means available to portray this President as a foreigner whether it is questioning his birth certificate or his policies the GOP labels as European Socialism. It is noteworthy that Limbaugh’s latest remarks about the President coincided with the Romney campaign’s message on Tuesday that the President is a foreigner.
In the course of two hours, two Romney campaign spokesmen and Willard himself asserted that President Obama and his policies prove he is not an American. Romney has questioned the President’s understanding of what it means to be an American throughout the Republican primary, and he is reiterating the notion that the President is not a real American with renewed enthusiasm. Some pundits claim the Romney camp is trying to distract the voters’ attention away from his refusal to release his tax returns and his separation from Bain Capital, but he is clearly appealing to conservatives by questioning President Obama’s understanding and commitment to America.
In an appearance on Fox News, senior Romney advisor John Sununu said President Obama ”has no idea how the American system functions, and we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia, another set of years in Indonesia, and, frankly, when he came to the U.S. he worked as a community organizer, which is a socialized structure, and then got into politics in Chicago.” Notice how Sununu implied the President came to America after living in foreign countries despite the fact Obama was born in Hawaii which conspiracy theorists still question with high frequency. Sununu also inserted the Republican canard that President Obama is steeped in socialism. Thirty minutes after the Fox appearance and during a Romney campaign conference call, Sununu said, “I wish this President would learn how to be an American” after giving a 12-second lesson on how the American economy works.
During the same conference call, Kyle Koehler said, “it seems to me that the Obama America, there’s no risk but there’s plenty of reward. That’s called socialism to me.” Koehler went on to explain in 15 seconds how capitalism works and how it made America the “greatest nation on the face of the Earth.” Both Sununu and Koehler’s statements were not campaign strategy discussions, but a message to voters that President Obama is a socialist and certainly doesn’t understand America or they would not have released the call to reporters. Within two hours of the conference call, Romney spoke in Pennsylvania and reiterated that the President’s “course is extraordinarily foreign” and that he “attacked success and denigrated making America strong” instead of celebrating success like a good American.
It is unclear why Romney and Limbaugh accuse the President of being a foreigner or how he is attempting to tear America apart “brick by brick” because they never give specific examples of Socialism or the President attacking success, but it has been a constant criticism by Republicans for the President’s entire term. Of course, Willard is doing everything to avert attention away from his own un-American vulture capitalism where making money for investors is more important than building up the middle class or protecting workers’ jobs. However, the “extraordinarily foreign” policies comment is particularly curious in light of the President’s business-friendly record with tax incentives for small and large businesses, inducements and assistance for businesses that hire veterans, and recent news that corporations posted record profits. However, Republicans are not well-known for backing up their accusations and especially when their mouthpiece, Rush Limbaugh, is given free rein to fulminate against the President with impunity and parrot the Republican party line.
Limbaugh’s assaults on the President are not the end of the Romney propaganda policy. He reiterates the Republican anti-woman agenda on his radio program regularly, implies minorities are draining resources from “real Americans,” parroted Romney’s assertion that police officers, firefighters, and school teachers contribute nothing to the economy, and that Planned Parenthood’s existence is un-American. There is no end to Limbaugh’s rants mirroring the Republican party line, but one thing is clear; he is the voice of the GOP and now Willard Romney.
What is interesting is that during the Republican primary, Limbaugh was not an avid supporter of Romney’s and he went out of his way to impugn his conservative credentials every chance he got, but now that Willard is the presumptive candidate, Limbaugh appears to work in concert with Romney’s campaign. Having Limbaugh in his corner may work for Romney with the conservative base, but his credibility with Independents will suffer unless he bifurcates himself from Limbaugh’s toxic rhetoric.
However, Romney’s tax return problems and lies about when he left Bain Capital leave him little room for anything other than assailing the President as a foreigner because he cannot run on his record as Massachusetts’ governor, or defend his outsourcing acumen as head of Bain Capital, so he resorts to orchestrating a campaign built around whether or not the President of the United States understands how America works, and claim he pursues policies that are “extraordinarily foreign.” Chances are that Romney is beginning to feel the heat of a national campaign that will examine every aspect of his political and business life, and as more Americans learn that Willard Romney is little more than a deceptive, tax-avoiding investor, it may be that the safest thing Romney can do is sit back and let Rush Limbaugh do his campaigning for him because Rush knows the party line and he can lie nearly as well as Willard, so maybe the Limbaugh attacks will continue for the duration of the campaign and although they are despicable and pathetic, it appears that Limbaugh is all Romney has.