Obama has made a point of taking on far right talkers like Hannity and Limbaugh to a certain extent. During the campaign he said that “hardcore Sean Hannity fans probably wouldn’t want to have a beer with me“. And the other day he told GOP leaders that “you can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done”. Hannity and Limbaugh love this stuff, of course, because going eyeball to eyeball with Obama boosts their ratings.
So, from that perspective, I’m not sure it makes sense for Obama to mention them by name and risk increasing their visibility. On the other hand, Limbaugh wingnuttism has been around now for years, so Obama isn’t exactly giving a national stage to a start-up movement; they say Limbaugh has 20 million listeners. By now that’s probably his max and it’s a lot, but it’s not enough people to win a national election. And I would argue that Limbaugh wingnuttism drives off a lot of folks too. He’s one reason there are zero GOP congressmen in the northeast. So to the extent Obama can identify the GOP with Limbaugh/Hannity he can solidify the Democrats as the more centrist party and keep winning elections as the GOP becomes an ever more regional party.
I think Obama knows what he’s doing.
By the way, a liberal group is tagging along on this idea. They are running radio ads in three states asking, effectively “whose side is our Senator on in the vote for a stimulus package: Rush Limbaugh or President Obama?” The states are Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Ohio and they all have a GOP senator. They are all states Obama won.