Rush Limbaugh: ‘Thank God for President Obama’

Rush Limbaugh heaps praise on President Obama for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

I believe Limbaugh is being ironic here but it’s always hard to tell:

HuffPo (“Rush Limbaugh: ‘Thank God For President Obama’ (VIDEO)“):

“We need to open the program today by congratulating President Obama,” he said. “President Obama has done something extremely effective, and when he does, this needs to be pointed out.”

The effectiveness, he said, came from President Obama’s decision to send a Special Forces team to kill bin Laden–something he said, citing news reports, that none of the president’s military advisers had thought of doing.

“Our military wanted to go in there and just scorch the earth…but President Obama single-handedly understood what was at stake here. He alone understood the need to get DNA to prove the death…it was President Obama single-handedly and alone who came up with the strategy that brought about the effective assassination of Osama bin Laden,” he said, adding, “thank God for President Obama.”

Limbaugh also said that it was Obama’s continuation of President Bush’s military and detention policies that provided the intelligence which led to bin Laden’s killing. (He also made the by-now-common gaffe of swtiching Obama’s and bin Laden’s names around in his sentences.)

Via Lachlan Markay, who says, “Look who’s NOT trying to score political points today.”  But Limbaugh’s constant reference to Obama doing this “alone” strikes me as ironic. If you watch the video, however, Limbaugh quickly goes on to praising the military and the policies of the Bush administration.

His frequent gaffes confusing Obama and Osama strike me as genuine, rather than intentional. It’s an easy mistake to make; I’ve done it myself even in writing.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. If you listen to the clip, there is little doubt that he is being facetious.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Yeah, that was certainly my take on it. He never quite gives it away–at least not up to the point in the clip–but he’s dripping with condescension.

  3. Herb says:

    he’s dripping with condescension.

    When is he not?

  4. Franklin says:

    I guess I don’t quite get the irony. Would it have been demonstrably better to just blow the place to smithereens with a drone and hope it wasn’t a wedding party like it usually is?

  5. mattb says:

    God… really? Is irony (linguistically defined as “double voicing” – saying something in two voices at once ) really that hard to detect anymore? Especially when it comes to someone who does a radio show that is always inter-textual (each bit and each show relies on knowledge built from previous shows)…

    Limbaugh, since the beginning of Obama’s rise has always played up the fact that Obama is undeserving called “Exceptional” (examples include names like “the anointed one” and “the prince”). This trope/meme is also key to a number of folk’s postings here.

    There’s no way to take “single-handedly” and “alone” other than as a ironic double voicing pointing to how little Obama had to do with this decision — again: even though he made the right choice at 3am it wasn’t really his choice… it was another thing handed to him.

    Of course it’s not surprising that another conservative pundit (Lachlan Markay) would be carrying the water for Limbaugh in that way. It would sort of be funny as a Punk’d if it was actually funny.

  6. mattb says:

    What is particular interesting to me is how this is being used to not only justify Gitmo, but “enhanced interrogation” and “extraordinary rendition” policies (aka torture).

    Is this a transition from “we need to torture in order to stop the immediate threat” (aka the ticking time bomb/24 justification) to now “we need to torture in order to accomplish something ten years down the line?”

    Does anyone else find that more than a little creepy?

  7. @mattb:

    Does anyone else find that more than a little creepy?

    You are not alone on that count.

  8. jukeboxgrad says:

    The update that has been posted makes it clear that he is being facetious:

  9. jwest says:

    I think James, Doug and Steven should all be proud to know that Rush Limbaugh (apparently) reads OTB and takes cues from my comments to form his monolog.

  10. TG Chicago says:

    His frequent gaffes confusing Obama and Osama strike me as genuine, rather than intentional.

    You have a guy who is a very accomplished and smooth extemporaneous speaker who has been talking about bin Laden and Obama for years. But over and over again he switches their names.

    Those “gaffes” were as genuine as his praise for Obama.

  11. I find it hilarious that people are praising George Bush when he said, in 2004, that he wasn’t concerned about Osama bin Laden because he was hiding in a cave somewhere.

    No George, it turns out that he was living in a posh mansion 30 miles from the capital of a “major ally” (to quote Bush).

  12. mattb says:

    BTW — Newsmax (yes that Newsmax) is reporting the following on the Courier intellegence:

    Rumsfeld Exclusive: There Was No Waterboarding of Courier Source

    Monday, 02 May 2011 01:02 PM, By Jim Meyers and Ashley Martella

    Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells Newsmax the information that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden was obtained through “normal interrogation approaches” and says the notion that terrorist suspects were waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay is a “myth.”

    Now, while some people will take issue with the claim that no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo, the larger issue is that a high ranking Bush official who was there when the information came out, has gone on record saying that this was gained by standard interrogation techniques.

    Taking him at his word (and to his credit, one could argue that he had nothing to lose and everything to gain from saying the opposite), this pretty much deflates the Limbaugh argument. We have yet to have had any significant evidence of any *major* information produced under “enhanced interrogation” (torture) that wasn’t also arrived at by different means of interrogation.

  13. Franklin says:

    mattb – As a Limbaugh non-listener, yes the way you describe it makes it more clear.

    So Rush’s meme is that when things go wrong it’s all Obama’s fault, but when they go right it had nothing to do with him? That clears things up.

  14. wr says:

    “I think James, Doug and Steven should all be proud to know that Rush Limbaugh (apparently) reads OTB and takes cues from my comments to form his monolog.”

    The difference between the two, of course, is that Limbaugh acts like a scumbag for fifty million dollars a year, and jwest does it because it’s the only way he can get anyone to pay attention to him.

  15. An Interested Party says:

    …and jwest does it because it’s the only way he can get anyone to pay attention to him.

    Really? I thought he did just because he hates the “Bill Ayers trained socialist” so much…

  16. ad says:

    Who would expect Limbaugh to be anything other than sarcastic about Obama? Of course he pretends to ignore the reports that several scenarios were presented to Obama before he made his decision, and pretends to ignore that Obama and his administration are heaping praise on the cooperative efforts of his top intelligence and military aides who helped formulate a plan, as well as the Seals who carried it out. Limbaugh and his ilk generate higher ratings by gathering the same moronic masses who still believe that professional wrestling is not choreographed.

  17. An Interested Party says:

    Comment in violation of site policies deleted.

  18. An Interested Party says:

    Oops…in future I will have to remember to have more family-friendly terms for Limbaugh…