KEEP ON TALKING, RUSH…. When Americans United for Change and AFSCME unveiled its new television ad this week, the groups not only went after congressional Republicans as the “party of ‘no,’” they also emphasized an even more potent message: the GOP is beholden to Rush Limbaugh.

As Greg Sargent reported yesterday, we can expect to hear a lot more of this.

Top Democratic operatives are planning a stepped up campaign to promote Rush Limbaugh as the public face of the GOP — an effort that will include recruiting Dem governors to make this case on talk shows, getting elected officials to pen Op eds arguing it, and running more ads pushing it, a senior Democratic operative says.

Key leadership staff in the House and Senate, and in all the political committees, have been encouraged by senior Dem operatives to push this message wherever possible, the operative says.

Paul Begala told Greg, “I’m encouraging every Democrat, every progressive, to be pointing out this powerful but painful truth: The party of Lincoln is now the Party of Limbaugh,” Begala continued. “We should make every Republican answer this: Why do they want our president to fail?”

It’s a strategy with all kinds of appeal. Limbaugh is not exactly a respected public figure (drug-addled shock-jock who’s actively rooting for America’s decline), but Republicans continue to hold him in high regard. With that in mind, Democrats and Limbaugh, oddly enough, have the same goal: convince the general public that he’s the ostensible head of the Republican Party.

It’s ironic, in a way, that every time Limbaugh makes another disgusting comment — which happens with some regularity — Democrats grit their teeth and quietly thank the host for making their job easier.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.