Andrew Breitbart is the king of online, political media. He helped build the Drudge Report, a staple of conservative commentators since at least the Clinton era, and has gained personal notoriety from his ever expanding array of Big sites. Breitbart is a major force in the Tea Party movement, and an adamant defender of its members. Rush Limbaugh is the paradigm of success in American talk radio. His show averages somewhere around 20,000,000 listeners, a number unparalleled in other markets. Rush is synonymous with Conservative talk.
Both of these men are about as far away from President Obama’s ideology as one can get, so it came as a great shock that Obama—who hasn’t even had time to meet with elected Republicans—has extended an invitation to the White House for both of them. Claiming he wants to better understand the opposition’s ideas, Obama has agreed to a televised discussion on topics said to include Health Care, the economy, and the threat of climate change.
The move represents a vast shift in Obama’s political strategy. The President has typically relied on large Democrat majorities to push his agenda through Congress. Though many analysts are perplexed by the timing, they are also quick to remind us that most President’s tend to moderate their ideological stances as their term progresses. Perhaps Obama has also been swayed by the continued vigor of the Tea Party, and is seeking to win back independent voters by reaching out to the men he perceives as their leaders. Whatever his reasons, many are relieved by the return of some semblance of congenial discourse to a government sharply divided by Democrat partisanship.
While some details remain unclear, the meeting is expected to take place towards the end of April, and the President is said to have agreed to dedicate a minimum of three hours to the event. The latter statement has led to some speculation that the event may be broadcast live on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. Expect more information in the weeks ahead.