Talk radio kingpin Rush Limbaugh is not overwhelmed by requests to appear on TV news and opinion shows. But he is the centerpiece of their discussions most days — and talked about nonstop. Pundits, analysts, commentators and anchors constantly claim that Mr. Limbaugh is conferring with President Trump about policy and strategy — and is thus running the country.
Or something like that.
It is a repeat narrative, day in, day out — and it happens so much that Mr. Limbaugh has compiled a collection of high-profile news folk making this claim which sounds like they’re all reading from the same set of talking points. But something is missing here.
“If these people in the media really thought that I was telling Trump what to do, they’d be asking me about it. They would want to get down to the dirty details. I haven’t had one call. I haven’t had one inquiry,” Mr. Limbaugh said in an on-camera interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.
Ah, but they have a motive.
“It’s just another effort to continue to try to diminish the president, to diminish Trump as somebody that doesn’t know what he’s doing — can’t do it without guidance from the so-called ‘wacko right.’ That’s not at all the way he’s governing. And there isn’t anybody doing what I do, who has a thing to do with actually making policy for this president,” Mr. Limbaugh declared.
But one has to wonder. Why don’t the network’s seek him out? There’s a likely reason why all those bookers and producers shy away.
Mr. Limbaugh has 14 million listeners each day — and they hang on his every word, seeking to make sense of a caustic, alarming political landscape. They listen because Mr. Limbaugh has institutional knowledge of the forces that drive politics for better or worse. His predictions are often right, as is his insight into strategy or why elected officials do crafty things. He is a formidable, unflinching media presence, particularly when talking of the southern U.S. border.
“We have an emergency. This is an invasion. The very existence and definition of American culture, American society, the rule of law — why does nobody talk about the fact that millions and millions and millions of people are breaking the law coming here illegally and that the Democratic Party wants that to happen? We can’t have the breakdown of rule of law, and law and order this way,” Mr. Limbaugh told Mr. Wallace.
Yes, well. There may be another reason why the network bookers don’t call Mr. Limbaugh.
They’re afraid to.
245 NON-PRESIDENTIAL RALLIES
Happy Presidents Day on Monday? Not for those who are attending 249 “Fake National Emergency” protest rallies organized in major cities and smaller towns alike by the progressive activists of MoveOn.org. They remain upset with President Trump’s determination to secure the porous border between the U.S. and Mexico and have already garnered 85,000 signatures on a public petition to be delivered to none other than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“There is no national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border and Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to address this false crisis is an illegal, unconstitutional power grab that undermines American democracy to advance his racist agenda,” reads the invitation for the event planned in Homer, Alaska.
There are similar rallies in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House, Key West, Florida; Shelbyville, Tennessee; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Alpine, Texas, and Port Angeles, Washington.
ON PAR WITH NORTH KOREA
So will Americans pay attention to the aforementioned protests on Monday, or finish household projects and find a good Presidents Day sale? Despite persistent chatter from President Trump’s critics about the “fake national emergency,” voters appear to agree that the border issue is serious business, not a manufactured crisis.
“Most voters rate border control as a national security concern on the level with North Korea and want to secure the border before dealing with the illegal immigrants who are already here,” says a new Rasmussen Reports survey.
It found that 6-out-of-10 likely voters — 59 percent — say border security is a vital national security interest for the nation. The survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters was conducted on February 7-10.
In January, a Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,989 registered voters found that 42 percent agreed the U.S. is facing a “crisis of illegal immigration” along the southern border; another 37 percent overall say the U.S. is facing a “problem with illegal immigration.” Only 12 percent said the nation is not facing a problem or crisis in the matter.
“I support wholly what you’re doing for America, concerning the crisis there at the border. I’m involved a lot with human trafficking and gang violence with the police department in Las Vegas, and we know there’s a crisis. And we want to tell you thank you for everything that you’re doing, and we support all that you’re doing,” Pasqual Urrabazo, pastor of the International Church of Las Vegas, told Mr. Trump during the president’s recent meeting with Hispanic clergy.
CELEBRATING THE REAL WASHINGTON
Not to be overlooked no Monday: Mount Vernon, the ancestral home of George Washington, has big doings planned for Presidents Day. The site debuts a newly renovated front parlor which boasts “Saxon blue” upholstery — a surprising bright turquoise which was used on Washington’s personal furnishings, according to a newly discovered family ledger.
There will be a formal wreath laying, a 21-gun salute, all manner of patriotic music, a designated #PoseLikethePrez selfie spot for dedicated fans, birthday cake, syrup tastings. One more feature is due to debut later this week. “Mount Vernon in AR” — that’s “augmented reality” — features immersive 3D imagery and holograms of George and Martha Washington, and is meant, the organizers advise, to “celebrate Washington’s love of emerging technologies.”
POLL DU JOUR
• 41 percent of Americans have heard “nothing at all” about the Green New Deal introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat: For Republicans, it’s 32 percent; for Democrats, 38 percent; independents, 48 percent.
• 39 percent overall are not sure how they feel about the Green New Deal; 29 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of independents and 35 percent of Democrats agree.
• 24 percent overall oppose the legislation; 54 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 4 percent of Democrats agree.
• 23 percent overall support the legislation; 8 percent of Republicans, 17 percent of independents and 42 percent of Democrats agree.
• 14 percent overall neither support or oppose the legislation; 10 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 10-12.
Have a pleasant and productive Presidents Day and thanks for reading Inside the Beltway.
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