"Marginalize most powerful critics"
President Obama is working systematically to marginalize the most powerful forces behind the Republican Party, setting loose top White House officials to undermine conservatives in the media, business and lobbying worlds.
With a series of private meetings and public taunts, the White House has targeted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest-spending pro-business lobbying group in the country; Rush Limbaugh, the country’s most-listened-to conservative commentator; and now, with a new volley of combative rhetoric in recent days, the insurance industry, Wall Street executives and Fox News.
Obama aides are using their powerful White House platform, combined with techniques honed in the 2008 campaign, to cast some of the most powerful adversaries as out of the mainstream and their criticism as unworthy of serious discussion.
Press secretary Robert Gibbs has mocked Limbaugh from the White House press room podium. White House aides limited access to the Chamber and made top adviser Valerie Jarrett available to reporters to disparage the group. Everyone from White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to White House Communications Director Anita Dunn has piled on Fox News by contending it’s not a legitimate news operation.
All of the techniques are harnessed to a larger purpose: to marginalize not only the individual person or organization but also some of the most important policy and publicity allies of the national Republican Party. . . . .
So is the strategy working? White House officials point to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll to argue the answer is emphatically yes. Only 20 percent of those surveyed identified themselves as Republicans, the lowest in 26 years of asking the question.
As bad as that number is, the news about independents is arguably worse. A staggering 83 percent of all independents surveyed said they don’t trust Republicans to make the right decisions. . . . .
NOTE: I don't believe these last poll numbers, but the administration obviously has no problem pointing to them and Politico also doesn't mind using them uncritically. Hugh Hewitt has a useful discussion of the poll numbers here.