Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fighting Rush Limbaugh

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Chairman of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele has angered quite a few people in the Republican Party by some harsh words he uttered about Rush Limbaugh during an interview on CNN.

Michael Steele said of Rush Limbaugh, "Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh—his whole thing is entertainment. Yes, it's incendiary. Yes, it'sMichael Steele Picks a Fight with Rush Limbaugh ugly."

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Rush Limbaugh, who has never allowed an attack to go unanswered, was quick to respond. "The Republican National Committee and Michael Steele need a little leadership ... we're going to have to drag them kicking and screaming back to our core. They are caught up in so much fear because of where they live and work in Washington, DC."

On the surface it would seem to be an act of lunacy for Michael Steele to pick a fight with Rush Limbaugh, who is beloved by the Republican base, Rush Limbaugh's speech before CPAC on Saturday was the hit of the Washington conference.

Michael Steele seems to be reacting to the gibes by Obama administration officials such as Rahm Emanuel that Rush Limbaugh is, in effect, the leader of the Republican Party. The tactic being employed by the Democrats appears to be to tie the Republicans to Rush Limbaugh while vilifying Rush Limbaugh as some kind of bomb throwing extremist. Rush Limbaugh's often stated wish that Barack Obama should fail in his policy initiatives is being depicted as little short of sedition, unlike Democratic attacks on President George W. Bush.

The Democratic tactic appears to be having the effect of driving a wedge between Washington Republicans such as Michael Steele and the Republican base, represented by talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh. The Republican base has already been discontented with many Washington Republicans for their perceived lack of fiscal discipline and their over eagerness to make compromises with Democrats.

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Michael Steele has attempted to heel that rift, as have Congressional Republicans. Clearly Michael Steele's ill considered attack on Rush Limbaugh represents a setback in that effort, angering Republicans in general and Rush Limbaugh in particular. Fortunately there is an easy way to heal the rift. Michael Steele needs to go on Rush Limbaugh's show and offer an explanation and a mea culpa. If Michael Steele can be sincere and not repeat the mistake, all will be well and all will be forgiven. After all, after Al Qaeda and Iran, the Michael Steele Picks a Fight with Rush Limbaugh real enemies are Barack Obama and the Congressional Democrats. Michael Steele needs to direct his fire at them and not at the man who has been called "leader of the opposition" for at least the past fifteen years.