Yet another Republican politician has gone into damage control mode after answering a reporter’s question about Rush Limbaugh. This time it’s Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS). Tiahrt was asked by members of the Kansas City Star editorial board if he believed that Limbaugh is the de facto leader of the party. He answered “No, no, he’s just an entertainer.” Tiahrt’s office was soon out with an apology.
Limbaugh himself has said he wants nothing to do with a leadership role within the party. He is well aware that his role is on the outside, where he has the freedom to speak his mind without taking political calculus into account.
According to the Wichita Eagle, Tiahrt’s office issued this statement: “The congressman believes Rush is a great leader of the conservative movement in America — not a party leader responsible for election losses. Nothing the congressman said diminished the role Rush has played and continues to play in the conservative movement.”
RNC head Michael Steele and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) are two others who have made mildly negative comments about Limbaugh followed by an apology.
RBR/TVBR observation: It doesn’t appear that Limbaugh himself is demanding anything. But his loyal army of dittoheads apparently doesn’t take kindly to even the most innocuous tiny bit of negativity aimed at El Rushbo. We suspect Tiahrt’s staff just wanted their email unflooded and their phone system relatively peaceful.
Still, it is an amazing thing when a radio talk show host is afforded this kind of deferential treatment. It’s not necessarily good for the Republican Party – staying in line with Limbaugh restricts their agility when it comes to adjusting policy to fit shifting political realities and damages their ability to compromise and at least get something during its time in the minority. And Limbaugh has proven to be a very popular hard-to-miss target for the opposition.
But you just can’t buy this kind of promotion. The benefit to the Rush Limbaugh Show is incalculable.