American Left Foolishly Underestimates Limbaugh Essay: He's dismissed as a 'buffoon,' which only backfires By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Feb 8, 2011 3:42 PM CST 253 comments Comments Rush Limbaugh speaks during a news conference at The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, Friday, Jan. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (Newser) – Looking back at the Obama administration's early attempt to portray Rush Limbaugh as Public Enemy No. 1, Wilfred M. McClay can only conclude: Big mistake. The strategy backfired in ways that culminated in the midterm shellacking. "Limbaugh had goaded them into elevating his own importance; and in focusing on him and other putative 'leaders,' they blinded themselves to the spontaneous and broad-based popular revolt that was rising against them," McClay writes in Commentary. Limbaugh is genius at this—flipping his opponents' ire to his own benefit—and a master of talk radio, but the American left has "a stubborn unwillingness, both wishful and self-defeating, to recognize Limbaugh for what he is, take him seriously, and grant him his legitimate due." He's neither the "comic buffoon" nor the "apostle of hate" he's made out to be, writes McClay. "Unless you make an effort to hear voices outside the echo chamber of the mainstream media, you won’t have any inkling of what Limbaugh is all about or of how widely his reach and appeal extend." Click for the entire essay.