March 12, 2009


President Obama continues to make news, nearly on a daily basis,  from shifts in policy on stem cell research to merit pay for teachers. His political counterparts are still searching for a way to regain their voice. The 2008 election was a big “NO MORE” on the policies that gave us an unnecessary “war”, soaring deficit spending, invasion of personal rights and privacy, unfunded education mandates, torture, complete de-regulation of our financial industry, and so much more. I could go on but I have to get to the reason for the title.

As I watch all this unfold, it occurs to me our new President is playing Chess while the Republicans are playing Checkers. Chess requires thinking several moves ahead (in other words, “a strategy”) while Checkers requires trying to get one of the board pieces “kinged.”

Since the Republicans don’t currently have a “king,” the Obama administration suggested that maybe conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh is the newly “kinged” piece for the RNC. It worked. Rush’s ego cannot resist assuming the role of “King.” His pompous rhetoric fits perfectly with his Jabba-the-Hutt posture as seen on the “Ditto Cam” of his radio show. (I couldn’t resist creating the image.)


Pundit World predictably took the bait. No sooner than Rush finished addressing the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) Convention in Washington D.C. as the featured speaker, on February 28th, media was asking, “Is Rush Limbaugh the head of the Republican Party?”

rahmcbsRahm Emanuel, the Whitehouse Chief of Staff, executed the administration’s plan the next day on CBS’s “Face the Nation” by saying “…whenever a Republican criticizes him, they have to run back and apologize to him and say they were misunderstood. He is the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party. He has been up front about what he views and hasn’t stepped back from that, which is he hopes for failure. He said it and I compliment him for his honesty. But that’s their philosophy that is enunciated by Rush Limbaugh…” and later, “I do think he’s an intellectual force, which is why the Republicans pay such attention to him.”

Rahm’s words are true. (BTW – Kudos to Rahm for being able to keep a straight face while calling Limbaugh an “intellectual force.”)


On January 27th, Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-GA said “I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party. You know you’re just on these talk shows and you’re living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing.”

The next day…

“I regret and apologize for the fact that my comments have offended and upset my fellow conservatives. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and other conservative giants are the voices of the conservative movement’s conscience. Everyday, millions and millions of Americans-myself included-turn on their radios and televisions to listen to what they have to say, and we are inspired by their words and by their determination.”

The newly elected RNC chair, Michael Steele, apologized to Rush after saying that Rush’s words were “..incendiary…” and “…ugly..” on CNN’s “D.L. Hughley Breaks the News.”


He then “apologized” on FOX News.


“I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren’t what I was thinking,” Steele said. “It was one of those things where I thinking I was saying one thing, and it came out differently. What I was trying to say was a lot of people … want to make Rush the scapegoat, the boogeyman, and he’s not.”

I don’t expect the new leader to maintain his position with the RNC much longer.

Now back to Checkers and Chess. Our President is showing us that he is, more often than not, several steps ahead of us. His political opponents see a board with sixty-four squares and continue to assume the game is Checkers. It is not. We went through eight years of “Checkers thinking,” when the issues and challenges facing our country required a much higher level of intellectual discernment and long term strategic planning.

Now more than at any time in the last seven decades, leadership must step up to the plate on many issues, quickly. We do not have the luxury of “…choosing our battles…” At this moment, the economy is the “battle” on all of our minds. What “Checkers thinkers” do not (or, choose not to) understand is that in order to solidify the economy, there are several things that have to happen simultaneously.

The opposition continues to insist that the President is trying to do too much at one time. I strongly disagree.

Keep playing chess, Mr. President. Your instincts are serving you well.







  1. […] with the personality of a rake and his Jabba-the-Hut posture as seen on  his “Ditto Cam“ and you have the buffoon that conservatives are inexplicably afraid to […]

  2. […] head-to-head with media, pundits, and his political opposition. As I’ve written before in Checkers and Chess, No Beef and Faith Trumps Fear, they keep underestimating his ability to size up the debate, learn […]

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