‘Thought to be relatively unpopular’

‘THOUGHT TO BE RELATIVELY UNPOPULAR’…. Interesting item today from Jerry Taylor at National Review‘s “The Corner.” (via Jon Chait)

There’s nothing strange or mysterious … about President Obama’s political assualts [sic] on Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and other radio voices on the Right. The administration hopes that it can convince the public that these guys are the leaders of the GOP at the moment. Since these guys are thought to be relatively unpopular with non-movement Americans, this holds all sorts of political promise.

Bill Clinton did the same thing in the 1990s by tying the GOP to Newt Gingrich and thereby reviving his political fortunes after the 1994 mid-term debacle. And since the GOP seems more than happy to cede political and intellectual leadership to the likes of Hannity and Limbaugh, it may well prove as politically useful now as it did then.

That last point sounds about right; Republican leaders really do seem willing to cede leadership to Hannity and Limbaugh, which is almost certainly a recipe for failure.

But the rest of this is pretty unpersuasive. For example, there’s the idea that the president is launching “assaults” on conservative radio voices. I can’t think of Obama launching any kind of meaningful attacks against any of these guys, at least in public.

The real gem here, though, is the notion that guys like Limbaugh are “thought to be relatively unpopular with non-movement Americans,” as if it were possible that Rush is actually a widely respected public figure.

There’s no great mystery here. Limbaugh really is widely loathed by the American mainstream. I’ve seen poll putting his favorable rating as low as 19%. (Indeed, one of the oddities of the past couple of days is that Cheney and Limbaugh are teaming up to go after Colin Powell, but Powell’s public support is stronger than both of theirs put together.)

“These guys are thought to be relatively unpopular with non-movement Americans”? It’s not as if the jury is still out on this one.