It looks like in the wake of the election, the uneasy alliance between the conservative base and the moderate GOP leadership is fracturing, and no one person better symbolizes the base than El Rushbo, the conservative blowhard with 20-million conservatives in his radio audience. And now some Republican consultants are call him out specifically as a liability for their electoral chances…
Steve Schmidt, chief strategist for the 2008 McCain campaign, commented on problems with Limbaugh on Meet the Press 11/11 and again during a panel discussion at the University of Delaware last Wednesday:
Romney campaign advisor Mike Murphy chimed in on Meet the Press this past Sunday:
Limbaugh, as expected, went nuts in his latest edition of “broadcast excellence”:
So, which is it? Is there really a “battle for the soul of the Republican party” here, or will they once again kiss and make up once they need each other? In either case, how do you think it will play out?
How instrumental was Steve Schmidt in the selection of Palin? If it was his doing, then the blame for McCain’s defeat could be put on him, imho. At any rate, his quote above makes him sound reasonably lucid.
They won’t be successful ostracizing any portion of the coaltion that maintains them. If they weren’t Republicans they might try countering Rush’s arguments with facts and reason in a folksy manner appealing to Rush’s audience, but they are Republicans, so they won’t. Best bet is they’ll pay him to shut up.
I don’t think it has anything to do with guts or principles. Rush gets you the demographic that helps ensure the GOP nomination, a strategy that simultaneously ensures you’ll lose the general election. That seems to be the current model.
Nobody has yet figured out what the New World Order is, but from what I’m reading and hearing, the shift has begun. Rush will begin to lose his influence, IMO, now that it seems that that way lies defeat. It’s a purely practical issue. When people thought victory was only possible with Rush in their corner, they made sure they didn’t piss him off. Why do so now with a guy that only helps you end up a loser on election day?
Hopefully, when Limbaugh gets the boot, the Republicans will also disavow Grover Norquist. How in the hell does the GOP constituency tolerate their elected officials being beholden to this guy instead of to the people who elected them?
Grover is nearly gone already. He doesn’t have a very big microphone and lots of Republicans are about to okay a tax increase so he’s in no position to make a lot of noise about it. Rush is much less focused on one issue, he’s got plenty to pick from. He’ll just say the Republicans were forced to increase taxes by the Democrats through nefarious means and switch to another issue to harp on. Next election after excoriating the Republican ticket he’ll tell his thralls to step up and vote for the Republicans anyway.
Well, if you actually listen to our old pal Grover, he says that the anti-tax pledge isn’t to him, but to the congressperson’s constituents. He was on 60 Minutes a while back, and was asked directly if he’d release legislators from their pledges. That’s when he made the point that he had no power to release anybody from anything, that the lawmakers could only answer to their voters, not him.
Not that I buy that, but that’s Grover’s stated position. Of course, as a practical matter, any congressperson who does go back on their Norquist-inspired no-tax pledge will find themselves primaried by an opponent well-funded by Mr. Grover himself. Kind of begs the question that Grover isn’t holding these folks over a griddle while he says, “That wasn’t a pledge to ME. I’m just doing my public duty of informing the voters about your flip-floppery.”
If only we had legislators with backbones who didn’t think it a requirement to sign poorly thought-out pledges in the first place …
There is an enormous loophole in the Norquist pledge, however. If the Republicans were suddenly inclined to raise tax rates, all they would have to do to stay in compliance with the pledge is let the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year, and top marginal rates go from 35% to 39% without any vote at all. Then when they convene in January, they can vote to reduce taxes to 38% or 37%, and thump their chests as tax cutting conservatives, while simultaneously increasing revenue to cut the deficit. I am betting that is how this plays out.
Part of it is probably the fact that WDC is a very closed society. Issues that are huge in DC often never get national play, or even emerge past the beltway. Given that small-town politics atmosphere, I can see where something could spin up into a big deal there for no other reason than ‘everybody else is doing it’. At some point, one would think that ethics might kick in, but one would be mistaken in that assumption.
McCain wasn’t going to win in any case. Schmidt had to swing for the fences, and that was the one and only reason he picked Palin. As sad as it is to say this, Palin probably gained McCain more votes than she lost him.