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Poking the Cobra

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Now is the time for all good men to put their hands together, pull them apart and rapidly put them back together again, and repeat, to give props to the President for not curling up into a fetal position with a "Kick Me" sign taped to his butt. You know. Like a Democrat.

He's taking it straight to his perceived enemy, calling both Fox News and Rush Limbaugh radical and out of the mainstream, making the two crazier than a preacher at a whorehouse with a parishioner working the door. Because that is exactly what they say about him. Methinks there may be a bad case of "can dish it out but not take it" going around.

Conservative commentators are retaliating by lobbing charges of extreme partisanship at the President. Claiming he totally ignored his campaign promise to be "a uniter, not a divider." Oh wait, that wasn't him. That was the other guy. Sorry. You remember the last guy. Now there was someone who reeked of non- partisanship. At least I think that's what it was.

No idea what the right-wing radio dudes expected Barack to do in response to their incessant taunting and baiting: clap his hands over his ears and make la- la- la noises until the bad people stop talking nasty about him? Lie down on a fire resistant humanely braided Persian rug and whimper himself to sleep? Or pull a John Kerry, who while being swift boated in August 04, spent the entire month on his back waiting for a big old tummy rub. You know. Like a Democrat.

Though he lacks military service, Barack Obama seems to grasp the concept of "target acquired." Obviously, this sustained adversarial offensive is all part of a choreographed campaign to marginalize critics. An effort to paint the GOP as a wee bit of a sliver of a party, chock full of pro-rape, white, Southern ditto-heads and fringe licking extremists. Following the script perfected by that fabled wartime tactician: Karl Rove. If you're going to steal, take from the best.

It must be said that refusing to appear on Fox News does seem to fly in the face of the President's official policy to open a dialogue with all evil-doers. Which normally, he does. Iran. Hamas. North Korea. Syria. Everyone it seems, except Rupert Murdoch. "If we want fair & balanced, we'll get our fair and balanced from MSNBC thank you very much." Not very Peace Prize-ish if you ask me.

Its a tricky game this riling the rabble that Obama is playing. You got to be awfully careful when you poke the cobra. Fortunately he's got the extra long pointy sticks that are David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel to do the dirty work. Another problem is both sides know that as the rhetoric ratchets up, so do the ratings. But studies prove helping Limbaugh hurts Republicans with Independents, so it's a calculated gamble. On the order of picking the Raiders to cover, on the road.

A final concern is all this fresh flummery could cause Rush to bloat up to dirigible size and then explode, which some experts say may force the evacuation of the entire Eastern Seaboard due to fears of Oxycontin contamination. But most importantly, Obama needs to keep in mind the advice my father regularly spouted after his third six pack: never get in a fight with an ugly person, he's got nothing to lose. You know. Like a Republican.

Will Durst is a San Francisco based political comic who writes sometimes. This is one of them.

Catch his new one man show "The Lieutenant Governor from the State of Confusion," appearing at a performing arts center near you.