The indomitable Lamorinda Democratic Club President Terry Leach saw one of her blog posts go viral this week after her piece appeared on The Environmentalist about the possible impacts during the Pennsylvania presidential primary of conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos.”
Leach began with a post on The Environmentalist, which got picked up by the Huffington Post and the Chicago Sun-Times. From there, comments and debate started pouring in. The Orinda Democrat says Limbaugh even talked about her on his radio show.
Okay, for non-Limbaugh listeners, what’s “Operation Chaos?”
It’s a code name for Limbaugh’s campaign to persuade Republicans to temporarily re-register as Democrats in some of the later state primaries. On Election Day, his political soldiers were instructed to cast votes for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., not Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
Limbaugh wants to keep the Democratic Party’s nomination process in the political fog and, in theory, help presumptive GOP nominee and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., win the presidency in November. With the GOP nomination settled months ago, Republicans have nothing to lose by jumping into the enemy camp.
Leach theorizes in her piece that Limbaugh’s tactic may have had some success in Pennsylvania on April 22, where an disproportionately high number of Republicans switched parties at the last minute and voted in the Democratic primary.
A lot of Democrats pooh-pooh the notion that one radio host could alter the outcome of an election.
But Leach isn’t so sure.
“Conventional Democratic wisdom discredits the tactics of individuals like Rush,” Leach wrote to me in an e-mail. “My feeling is that while we disavow the tactician, we ignore the tactics at our peril.”