The ‘idiot’ strikes back

THE ‘IDIOT’ STRIKES BACK…. About a month ago, Rush Limbaugh proudly boasted that he hopes President Obama “fails” in office. More recently, Limbaugh added, “I want the stimulus package to fail.” This sparked a fair amount of controversy, since it’s odd for high-profile Americans to publicly root against the country.

Yesterday, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R), without mentioning Limbaugh’s name, said, “Anybody who wants [the president] to fail is an idiot, because it means we’re all in trouble.”

Today, the “idiot” responded.

“I am told that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford called me an idiot, not by name. But he said, ‘Anybody who wants Obama to fail is an idiot.’ Well, I don’t know anybody else who said it, so I guess he’s talking about [me]…. [P]oliticians have different audiences than I do and they’ve got to say things in different ways. So, after he said, ‘Anybody who wants Obama to fail is an idiot,’ then went on in his own way to say, ‘Gosh, I hope this doesn’t work.’ … He just had to say, ‘We don’t want the president to fail.’

“Hell we don’t! We want something to blow up here politically. We want something to not go right…. We’re talking about freedom that is under assault!”

Ryan Powers added that Sanford’s communications director said the governor wasn’t “referring to anyone” in specific when he talked about “idiots,” and was not aware of Limbaugh’s comments on the issue.

That’s certainly possible. The question Sanford was referring to didn’t mention Limbaugh by name, and maybe the governor missed the hullabaloo over Limbaugh’s anti-American sentiment. As responses go, the rejoinder from Sanford’s spokesperson is plausible.

But it does, however, lead to a follow-up question. Now that Sanford knows what Limbaugh has said, and now that Limbaugh has called the governor out on the air, does Sanford still believe those who want Obama to fail are idiots or not?

Inquiring minds want to know.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.