Rush Limbaugh's now infamous "I hope Obama fails" dictate has touched off a firestorm within the GOP in recent weeks. Critics have lambasted the popular radio host for using such language, including a few Republicans. However, each Republican critique has been quickly followed up by an apology to Limbaugh— beginning with Rep. Phil Gingrey and moving all the way up to the on-going tussle with RNC chairman Michael Steele. With his 20 million listeners sympathetic to the conservative cause, it's probably not good politics for any of them to ruffle Rush's feathers. This all begs the question: Who, exactly, is the leader of the Republican Party?
Newly minted RNC chairman Michael Steele is the latest Republican to get blasted on Rush Limbaugh's radio show, this time for calling the man "an entertainer" whose show is "incendiary" and "ugly."
Here's the video of that exchange between Steele and D.L. Hughley:
Well, Limbaugh did not take kindly to that critique, and responded on his radio show. Then, low and behold, Michael Steele came up with an apology. According to Politico:
"My intent was not to go after Rush — I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh," Steele said in a telephone interview. "I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. ... There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership."
"I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren't what I was thinking," Steele said. "It was one of those things where I thinking I was saying one thing, and it came out differently. What I was trying to say was a lot of people ... want to make Rush the scapegoat, the bogeyman, and he's not."
Then the third "voice of the GOP," Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, threw his hat into the ring. On Larry King Live, Jindal said he was glad Steele had apologized.
With all this in-fighting and back-pedaling, will the Republican Party rise to the challenge of re-making their party— by taking on Democrats— or merely succumb to the pressure?
David Letterman didn't mince words the other night when he welcomed Katie Couric on to his show. Calling Limbaugh a "bonehead," he also made fun of Rush's CPAC appearance, saying he looked like an "East European gangster."