Are Media Focusing on Limbaugh's Operation Chaos to Force Hillary Out?

May 7th, 2008 10:07 AM

Are "Totally in the Tank for Obama" media members focusing on Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" in order to force Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton out of the race?

Consider if you will all of the attention Limbaugh's months-old plan to keep the Democrat nomination process going as long as possible got Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning following Hillary's tough night in North Carolina and Indiana.

Critical update at end of post: El Rushbo sends NewsBusters German article on this subject!

For instance, ABC's Jake Tapper reported the following at his blog late Tuesday evening in a piece called "Is Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos Working?" (emphasis added, picture courtesy Rush

Melanie Kerr is an Indiana voter we met over the weekend at the "Orchard In Bloom" festival.

She was looking forward to casting her ballot for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY.

But she doesn’t like Clinton.

She likes Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

She’s a Republican.

So why was she planning on voting in Indiana’s open Democratic primary?

“I want to keep the primary going as long as possible,” Kerr said. “I want to keep a debate going between the two of them…. Obama would have been untouched in my opinion if she didn't stay in the race. Then her staying in longer and even longer than (her attacks) will be in people's minds in Democratic people's minds when November comes around.”

It isn’t that Kerr thinks Clinton would be easier than Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, for McCain to defeat in the Fall. It’s the idea that with Clinton “in there, that keeps the debate between them going and we get more, uh, more chaos.”

Kerr giggles. “That's the name -- Operation Chaos.”

Chris Suellentrop wrote this last evening at the New York Times Opinionator blog in a piece entitled "Rush to Judgment" (emphasis added):

A reader at The Plank, The New Republic’s staff blog, has done some interesting figuring from the exit polls to come up with a plausible measure of the “Limbaugh effect” (the number of Republican voters who are strategically voting for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama as part of Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos”) in Indiana.

The LA Times' Andrew Malcolm posted this article before the polls opened Tuesday:

Rush Limbaugh, the self-appointed Commander-in-Chief of Operation Chaos, is puffing on his immense cigar and gloating at this very moment in his Florida bunker. And preparing to celebrate two more grand and glorious political victories over Democrats today, no matter who wins the primaries in Indiana and Florida.

This has even become an international issue. The following was reported Wednesday by Australia's The Age in a piece entitled "Operation Chaos 'Hijacks Democratic Primary'" (emphasis added):

Conservative voters have been accused of hijacking today's Democratic presidential primary in Indiana.

There are indications that up to 10% of voters in Indiana were "crossover" voters - Republicans voting in a Democratic primary. Crossover voting is not allowed in North Carolina, where Barack Obama won comfortably.

Crossover voting has been heavily encouraged by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who has been directing his listeners to take part in his "Operation Chaos".

Limbaugh is encouraging Republicans to vote for Senator Clinton to both prolong the Democratic contest and to damage Barack Obama.

Even the Obama campaign is pointing fingers at Operation Chaos according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet (emphasis added):

INDIANAPOLIS, IND.---Here's the official Obama team spin on what is shaping up as a likely Indiana loss: "There really has never been any question that Senator Clinton would win Indiana," said a Obama talking points memo out Tuesday. Team Obama also blames Rush Limbaugh for urging Republicans to infiltrate the primary and vote for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Talking points on Limbaugh Crossovers

Limbaugh has been urging right-wingers to vote against Obama

* There really has never been any question that Senator Clinton would win Indiana, where she has the support of Senator Evan Bayh’s political operation and the demographics heavily favor her. But we saw today that perhaps her strongest asset was that Republicans believe she’ll be an easier opponent to beat in November.

* Right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh has been urging his listeners to cross over and vote in the Democratic primary in Indiana to help Clinton’s chances at becoming the nominee.

* Reports from Indiana polling places confirmed that record numbers of Republicans were taking Democratic ballots to vote against Obama.

Finally, as my colleague Brent Baker reported, MSNBC's Chris Matthews -- you know, the one that gets a thrill up his leg whenever he hears Obama speak! -- ranted Tuesday evening about "anyone who voted to screw up the political system of this country with the purpose of mischief."

What does this all mean?

Well, nothing would make most media members happier than the Democrat nomination process to be over, and Obama to be crowned the victor. They've been in this guy's tank since Day One, and have grown so comfortable with their choice that they now are even admitting how much they hate Hillary.

With this in mind, if media make the argument that the only reason Hillary won in Indiana was because of Operation Chaos, more and more pressure can be put on her to exit this race, and exit soon.

This is especially vital given media's tremendous displeasure with all the fun conservatives -- in particular, Rush Limbaugh -- are having watching the Democrats dissemble.

This has got to be as galling for them as the Grinch watching the Whos sing carols on Christmas morning!

***** Critical Update: Talk about your international exposure, the German website Die Welt wrote about Operation Chaos as well on Wednesday (translation below, emphasis added, h/t El Rushbo himself):

"Operation Chaos Infiltrates Hillary's Voters"

The duel between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is costing the
Democrats energy and money. Republicans are using it to their advantage:
they're secretly voting in the Democratic primaries in order to prolong
the duel - and see themselves as partisans of "Operation Chaos." Their
goal: a disaster at the Democratic Convention.

They see themselves as partisan spoilers who sow confusion behind enemy
: Republican voters who vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic
primaries in order to prolong and take advantage of the energy expending
duel with Barack Obama. Supposedly they played a subversive role in
Clinton's successes in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In Indiana and
North Carolina they were allegedly underhanded with their votes. They
are the soldiers of "Operation Chaos."

The creator and commanding General is Rush Limbaugh, the most
influential talk radio showman of the right in the USA. Three hours as
day, five times a week Limbaugh spouts poison for the edification of
millions of listeners in the entire land against liberal conspirators,
defeatists, war dissidents, traitors. In his book, from the beginning,
Hillary Clinton has the rank of high priestess and first witch of the


*****Update II: More OC media hits: