REJECTING THE PREMISE…. Greg Sargent sent a note to Rush Limbaugh’s producer this morning, hoping to get a point clarified, and ended up getting a response from the radio personality himself. Greg was then able to engage Limbaugh in some email discussion, asking him some of the questions many of us have wondered about over the last couple of weeks.

As Limbaugh sees it, he’d like to see the country “succeed,” but he’d also like to see the country’s president “fail.” How he arrives at this conclusion is, well, a little complicated.

For normal, reasonable people, it’s a straightforward proposition: Obama is trying to improve the economy. Maybe his agenda has merit, maybe not. Maybe his ideas will be effective, maybe not. But if Obama fails, the economy won’t improve, more Americans will suffer, and the country will continue to decline. Therefore, if you hope for Obama’s failure, you’re necessarily rooting for bad things to happen to the country.

Except, Limbaugh doesn’t see it that way, because he’s convinced that Obama isn’t trying to make things better. In fact, he told Greg, “Obama’s policies are NOT designed to help the economy, and they won’t. That is why I want them to fail.”

Why is the president pursuing an economic agenda that isn’t intended to improve the economy? Because, Limbaugh believes, Obama is involved in a conspiratorial initiative to increase the size of government and “attack wealth, producers and achievers.” (Why a president who intends to seek re-election would try to do this seems strange, but ol’ Rush probably isn’t playing with a full deck, so it’s best not to spend too much time pondering his bizarre worldview.)

So, Greg valiantly tried to ask the question in a way that would get a more productive response:

I understand that you don’t think Obama’s policies are destined to succeed. Reasonable people can disagree about that. However, putting aside the question of what the policies are destined to do, is it true that if they succeed in their stated goal of righting the economy — however far-fetched that may be to you and others — then would that be good for the country?

Or, alternatively put, putting aside the question of what the policies are in your view destined to do, is it true that if they fail in their stated goal of righting the economy, won’t the country suffer further as a result?

Limbaugh responded, “I reject your premise.”

Got it. To summarize, Limbaugh won’t say whether it would be good for the country to have Obama’s policies succeed, because as far as Limbaugh is concerned, Obama doesn’t want his own policies to succeed.

What a strange man. The Republican Party sure has picked an odd one as their leader.

Steve Benen

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.