Tuesday, January 27, 2009

House GOP member fires back at Rush Limbaugh: "Its easy... to stand back and throw bricks"

I've speculated previously about Rush's future place in conservatism. With the Republican brand hurting and a popular Democratic President holding majorities in both houses, Rush Limbaugh as Conservatism's lead figurehead has all eyes on his next move.

In recent days Rush has distanced himself and undermined GOP leaders in the senate.
As Jonathan Martin of Politico reports:
House GOP member to Rush: Back off
Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., did not take kindly to this assessment in an interview with Politico Tuesday.

"I think that our leadership, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, are taking the right approach," Gingrey said. "I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party. You know you’re just on these talk shows and you’re living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing. But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn’t be or wouldn’t be good leaders, they’re not in that position of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell."
Though Talk Radio has played an integral role in the successes of the GOP, it hasn't always been greeted warmly by their politicians. During the heated immigration debate in 2007, Trent Lott famously said:
Republicans Hearing Static From Conservative Radio Hosts
"I'm sure senators on both sides of the aisle are being pounded by these talk-radio people who don't even know what's in the bill." To the New York Times, he had offered: "Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem."
He was roundly smacked down by a band of prominent conservative pundits from Rush Limbaugh to Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Hugh Hewitt and Michael Savage. Read my original post here - The Pundits VS The Politicans

Michael Harrison, Editor of Talker's magazine offered this diagnosis at the time
Republicans Hearing Static From Conservative Radio Hosts
Republican politicians "assumed they owned conservative talk radio," Harrison said. "But support of conservatives by talk radio was only being borrowed as long as conservatives felt that Republicans served the conservative movement."
The Politicians are between a rock and a hard place. I've stated previously that Pundits are judged only on their rhetoric which allows for more idealism, emotion and ideologically purity. Politicians are ultimately judged on how their delivery matches their rhetoric. Whilst it may serve them at times to dismiss Talk Radio, because of its enormous influence Politicians cannot afford to anger or cut Talk Radio lose.

Update (Jan 28, 2009): Congressman Phil Gingrey rings apologises directly to Rush
Congressman Phil Gingrey to Rush: "I Regret Those Stupid Comments"
GINGREY: Rush, thank you so much. I thank you for the opportunity. Of course, it's not exactly the way I wanted to come on, but I appreciate you giving me the opportunity. Mainly, I want to express to you and all your listeners my very sincere regret for those comments I made yesterday to Politico. Basically the intent of my words to them was to discuss the unique position of congressional Republicans and our leadership, particularly John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments (laughs) and I just wanted to tell you, Rush, and -- and all our conservative giants who help us so much to maintain our base and grow it and get back this majority that I regret those stupid comments.


Ted said...

With the mounting job casualties, here's hoping SCOTUS either finds someone, somewhere, has standing to require BHO's birth certificate or fixes attention on a criminal indictment before he wins his War on Prosperity.

PunditFight said...

TalkRadio may have to take the cause as most people have moved on. A documentary made on it that gets traction maybe the only hope for people fighting that fight.