Funny how the world turns. Hannity had on Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to blast the stimulus plan. As always on Thursday, I was bouncing in and out of my car, so I may have missed something that made Grassley sound better than he sounded to me. But he sounded to me like he was swallowing Hannity's line with mouth wide open: The stimulus won't work; it's a plot to destroy capitalism; it'll bankrupt the country; Republicans have to hold the line, etc.
A couple of hours later, Grassley was on NPR, and he sounded like an entirely different fellow. He said Republicans had legitimate concerns about the plan, but he was confident that he could work in a bipartisan fashion with his friend Max Baucus to come up with something that would pass both houses, most likely by stripping the bill of items that don't really have much to with stimulus but properly belong in appropriations.
This made perfect sense to me, and it gave me hope that we might actually succeed in getting past partisan barriers, at least in the Senate. What I heard on Hannity made no sense and gave me no hope.
Hannity keeps wondering why Obama mentions him and Rush Limbaugh so often. He thinks it's because Obama is afraid of him or is trying to set the stage to reimpose the Fairness Doctrine. I think it's because Obama is a whole lot smarter than him and is perfectly willing to paint the GOP as the party of Hannity and Limbaugh. If the November election told us anything, it is that the public isn't buying what Hannity and Limbaugh are selling. From their perspective, voters picked the worst possible Democrat (of those with any chance to win) and the worst possible Republican, and appeared to do so for exactly the reasons that Hannity and Limbaugh hate the most.
It was striking on Thursday to listen to "To the Point" on NPR and hear a thorough, nuanced discussion on what, if anything, should be done about global warming, followed by Hannity, who dismissed the whole issue in a handful of sentences and essentially called it a hoax. You can believe what you want about global warming, but if you think that it isn't even worthy of discussion and that all the scientists who are working on the problem are liars and cheats, then you really have no place in the national discourse. You are a loser.
Which is where Hannity and Limbaugh are. And Republicans are afraid to cross them. And that, I suspect, is just fine with Obama.