Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 21, 2009

AND THEN THERE WERE FIVE.... Last week, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R) of Kansas was asked whether Rush Limbaugh was the "de facto leader of the GOP." Tiahrt rejected the idea out of hand, telling the Kansas City Star, "No, no, he's just an entertainer."

This is, of course, the one line elected Republican officials are not supposed to cross. Limbaugh is to be revered, not dismissed. It took a couple of days, but as Amanda Terkel noted, Tiahrt's office is now anxious to let everyone know how much the congressman loves the right-wing blowhard.

Asked about the episode and resulting Web buzz, Tiahrt spokesman Sam Sackett said Tiahrt was not speaking negatively about Limbaugh but was trying to defend him against the suggestion that Limbaugh could be blamed for the GOP's woes.

"The congressman believes Rush is a great leader of the conservative movement in America -- not a party leader responsible for election losses," Sackett told The Eagle editorial board. "Nothing the congressman said diminished the role Rush has played and continues to play in the conservative movement."

For those keeping score at home, this is reversal #5 for Republicans who've been critical of Limbaugh recently. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) groveled for Rush's forgiveness in late January, and Gov. Mark Sanford's (R-S.C.) office quickly backpedaled after the governor said, "Anyone who wants [President Obama] to fail is an idiot." RNC Chairman Michael Steele, of course, humiliated himself in early March, and a couple of weeks later, Jim Tedisco, the Republican candidate in the special election in New York's 20th, felt compelled to backpedal after saying Limbaugh is "meaningless" to him.

That all five made mild, innocuous comments about the talk-show host is largely irrelevant. This isn't about accuracy; it's about making sure the blowhard and his followers are happy.

It's also a reminder that arguably the three most prominent voices in Republican politics today are Limbaugh, Cheney, and Gingrich. It's quite a motley crew they've put together.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Comments

You guys really can't stop talking about Limbaugh.

Sounds to me like you're jealous that the man leading your party, Rachel Maddow, doesn't have as many followers as Rush.

Posted by: Myke K on April 21, 2009 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

No, Myke K, our party leaders are, you know, busy running the country.

Posted by: Marty B on April 21, 2009 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Y'know, it says something about a political party, when its "myriad voices" all worship a witless, fat babblemonger in a glass AM radio booth. I mean, c'mon---the guy can't even book a late-night spot on a UHF teevee channel? He can't compete against the overnight station signal of an old Indian chief?

He can't even get it on against the early morning Farm Report? He gets beaten into agricultural anonymity by Spring Pigs and Pork Bellies? He gets whacked---by livestock?

With Republicans falling all over themselves to be a collective red carpet for something the likes of Rush, it's no damned wonder that Obama shook Hugo's hand---because Chavez is a good two-to-three notches up the evolutionary chain from the missing "Link-Baugh"....

Posted by: S. Waybright on April 21, 2009 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

when rachel is elected to the highest office in the land, by a landslide with a mandate from the American people, yes, she will be our leader. Until then....

Posted by: the seal on April 21, 2009 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds to me that Myke K thinks Rachel is more of a man than he is. Your envy is unappealing, punk.

Posted by: DJ on April 21, 2009 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Someone needs to photoshop the heads of Limbaugh, Cheney and Gingrich on an old picture of the Three Stooges. Cheney would be Moe with a snarl, and Limbaugh might be Curly.

Posted by: Chris on April 21, 2009 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds to me that Myke K thinks Rachel is more of a man than he is. Your envy is unappealing, punk.

Posted by: DJ

Some of us just live our manhood rather than talking about it all the time.

Posted by: Myke K on April 21, 2009 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Uh, oh... Steve forgot to mention Rove... now he's gonna have to apologize....

Posted by: Disputo on April 21, 2009 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Some of us just live our manhood....

This is a family forum -- keep your GOP sex perversions to yourself.

Posted by: Disputo on April 21, 2009 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Oh the reform we would see if Maddow was president....

...just have to keep dreaming.

Posted by: NicC. on April 21, 2009 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

I can't stop laughing at that thought...the face of the GOOP is Cheney Limbaugh and Gingerich...haaaa haaa haaa haaa haaa. What a party of losers. They are done, and I mean DONE...for a generation. Adios fuckers.

Posted by: Patrick on April 21, 2009 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

$5 says Rachel has gotten more chicks than Myke could've ever dreamed of.

You know, acting like a 5-year-old is fun. Maybe I should join the Republican Party!

Posted by: Tree on April 21, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

I didn't know Tedisco pulled a Mike Steele. That one slipped by me some how. That raced really demonstrates how done the republicans are. That is a conservative republican district and a democrat won EVEN THERE. That party is toast. With young voters breaking dem 2 to 1 and latinos voting dem 3-1 and rising, we are in a good position for a very long time. The only thing those republican losers even do anymore is try to obstruct everything. But Obama's policies are starting to have a good effect on the mood of the country and the economy. Everyone will remember that the Party of No tried to stop him every step of the way. They will be out for our lifetime if they don't get on board and try to get some of the credit. But they are too stupid and too obstinate to do that. They would rather pray for some miacle like 9111 to rescue them again. They are a cancer on our society.

Posted by: Patrick on April 21, 2009 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Myke K, you do a marvelous parody of our right wing troll Doc Mikey K. Amazing how you suck ever so many in by your comments. A little "Norman" or "PR" in you, eh? Graduate from Duke, as well?

Posted by: berttheclock on April 21, 2009 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK


This is what I see happening, but probably not for a few more years:
Limbaugh will prove to be the salvation of the Republican party in the same way that Sister Souljah saved the Democratic party. Someday there will be a Republican leader who will denounce him and stick with it. His base will moan and gnash their teeth, but at the end of the day they aren't going anywhere. This Republican's reputation as a leader who is willing to stand up to the excesses of his base will help carry the independents. From that point on, it will be the Republicans who run from their base, not the Democrats.

Right now, the only person who seems to be doing this is Megan McCain.

Posted by: Capri on April 21, 2009 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

There is no contradiction between saying Limbaugh is "just an entertainer" and saying that he is "a great leader of the conservative movement in America".

The so-called "conservative movement" in America long ago ceased to be a genuine political and ideological movement, and has become an entertainment demographic.

The audience for Limbaugh, Fox News, et al is like the audience for the old Jerry Springer TV show. They enjoy listening to and watching obnoxious clowns bellowing about fake, phony, pseudo-ideological BS.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 21, 2009 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

A couple of weeks ago, representative Zach Wamp (R-TN) criticized El Rushbo and I can't find anything resembling an apology or walkback -- is he the only one who hasn't contritely kissed the ring? Wamp is widely rumored to be running for governor of Tennessee next year.

Posted by: BrklynLibrul on April 21, 2009 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Ok. Rush Limbaugh represents the knuckle breather base. Gingrich represents those who would like to have a thin veneer of thoughtful policy.

Who does Cheney represent? Corporate interests? I don´t know that anyone who listens to Cheney.

Posted by: inkadu on April 21, 2009 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Limbneyrich!
Gingbaughney!
...

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on April 21, 2009 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

"Nothing the congressman said diminished the role Rush has played and continues to play in the conservative movement."

Tiahrt might not have noticed this, but the "conservative movement" has taken a bit of an ass-whooping in the last two election cycles.

Apparently, Rush's role hasn't been helpful.

Posted by: 2Manchu on April 21, 2009 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

"For those keeping score at home, this is reversal #5 for Republicans who've been critical of Limbaugh recently."

Paging Ivan Pavlov... Paging Ivan Pavlov...

Posted by: Joe Friday on April 21, 2009 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Steve,

It is important to note that this is the fifth of five elected officials to have criticized (though all fairly mildly) only to bow and kiss the ring of Limbaugh after their remarks became public.

No one in the Republican party has dared stand their ground against him. Even those being honest...the guy is on the flipping radio!

I'd be embarrassed if my party was led from noon to three daily!

Posted by: TBone on April 21, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

I'd be embarrassed if my party was led from noon to three daily!

Beautiful line.

Posted by: shortstop on April 21, 2009 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

So what, exactly, does Rush do to make all these elected knuckle suckers cave so quickly? What hold does he have over them, what deep secrets does he threaten to reveal if they don't give in?

I mean, they can't *all* be gay, right? Or can they? Hmmmmm.....

Posted by: Curmudgeon on April 21, 2009 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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