“The RNC is against Obama’s agenda too, but they’re too afraid to stand up and tell the press that they want Obama to fail. Stop sending me facts and quotes about how bad the Obama agenda and then not stand up against it,” says Rush to Republican National Chairman Michael Steele in response to Michael Steele calling Rush’s words “ugly”.
Rush gives Chairman Steele a smackdown–decrying the hypocrisy of Republican leaders desiring to come on the show and essentially use the alternative media when they need them (Steele went on Rush’s show when he was being targeted in Maryland and when his email got stolen) while distancing themselves from him now, when he’s speaking the truth about wanting Obama’s policies to fail because they’re bad for America.
Republican leadership needs to understand what Rush is saying: “American conservatism is starting a huge awakening.”
I think Rush is right about this. The awakening is starting. “The pressure on the Republican party is to become Democrat-lite, but exactly the opposite is happening and it’s a beautiful thing.”
It’s messy, though. I came away from CPAC with mixed emotions. (I’m not alone.) Nearly every state operative I talked to described a mess at the precinct all the way to the state level. Forget the national Republican organization.
However, the grassroots groups and vendors selling technology were vibrant and motivated. As one man from Florida told me,”I came to CPAC to see what the hell was going to happen to the party.” Well, if something is going to happen, it’s going to happen by the outside putting pressure on the party and the elected officials. It’s going to take a lot of pressure.
Washington insiders are bathed in moderate and liberal group-think. Any idea outside the liberal mainstream is branded as mean, hateful, and base. So Republican leaders find themselves saying,”I’m not a racist! I’m not dispassionate! I care! I do!” And then, they go about working on crap legislation to make it somewhat better. These disgusting half-measures make Republicans look weak and confused ideologically.
Instead of playing defense, the Republicans, including Chairman Steele need to go on offense. We need to demonstrate that we are the party of the little guy, the small business man. We need to have the best ideas on health care, the environment, and the economy. We need to speak these ideas clearly and unequivocally.
And when a man like Rush Limbaugh articulates what millions of Republicans are feeling, the leader of the RNC does not get on the liberally biased station CNN and bash an ally and friend. It’s wrong. He should apologize. And Chairman Steele should go to work doing what he has said he wants done: a changed Republican Party that will win elections by winning in the arena of ideas.
I believe Chairman Steele wants to do this. Now, I want to see evidence that my optimism about the RNC under his leadership isn’t misplaced.
Matt Lewis has more:
“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,” Limbaugh said. “They are caught up in so much fear because of where they live and work in Washington, DC,” he said.
Responding to Steele’s argument that he is the “de facto” head of the GOP, Limbaugh warned: “Michael Steele — you are head of the RNC — you are not head of the Republican Party.” Limbaugh went on to say Steele would have to become President for that to happen. He also noted: “… I’m not in charge of the Republican Party, and I don’t want to be.”
“I hope the RNC Chairman will realize he is not a talking head pundit,” Limbaugh added.
Limbaugh also noted that he had helped Steele out in the past: “Michael Steele was on this program … he got air time on this program … I personally took time to defend Michael Steele … Something has happened. Now, I’m just an ‘entertainer’, and now I’m ‘ugly’ and my program is ‘incendiary’.”
That’s just it. When it comes to modern media, the Republicans on the Hill and who ostensibly lead the party have no problem using the new media for their own purpose, but there’s no reciprocity. A relationship goes two ways.
Further, they worry about integration and looking good but keep old party hacks and the same old consultants giving them the same stupid advice. Meanwhile, Hispanic and Black conservative groups are trying to change the party from within and finding it difficult to find a spot. They are conservatives who know how to put forth a message that will be heard and the people who lose elections cling to their power and seem utterly tone-deaf to new realities.
How many elections do Republicans need to lose in order to realize that they need to change? It’s not in the ways they think, though. They believe a more moderate, liberal party is the way to go. No. A more principled party is the way to go. The part is diverse. The party has room for everyone.
What makes the party strong, though, is core ideals like liberty and freedom and life and the pursuit (not the guarantee) of happiness. Instead, Republicans are mired in bad legislation and worried about looking good to the liberal press who have always and will continue to hate them.
John at Powerline has a must-read about this and says:
The White House’s attack on Rush, on the ground that he “wants President Obama’s economic agenda to fail,” is stupid even by White House Press Secretary standards. What we conservatives want is for America’s economy to succeed. That’s why we oppose President Obama’s economic policies; we think they are poorly conceived and will damage the economy. Thus, for the sake of America’s success, we hope that Obama will fail to implement his misguided policies. How tough was that to follow?
If Michael Steele thinks that the way to respond to the White House’s attack on Rush Limbaugh is to throw Rush under the bus, his understanding of the party’s base and of the current political landscape–not to mention his understanding of Limbaugh–is too weak for him to continue as RNC Chairman.
Michelle Malkin gives Chairman Steele advice:
We need conservative spokespeople who condemn anti-capitalist claptrap, not spokespeople who parrot it.
One more thing: When liberals sit there and accuse the GOP convention of looking like “Nazi Germany,” you might not want to sit there, nodding your head, and respond, “I agree.”
Ace says this:
And no, I can’t say I’m upset that Limbaugh got annoyed by this and chose not to play ball.
However, the media controls the public discourse. This is an issue because they want it to be an issue, and they want it to be an issue because… well, guess. Hint: It’s not because it helps the conservative cause.
If everyone wants to bang on Steele for dealing inartfully with Limbaugh’s own inartful remarks, and play right into the media’s and the Obama Administration’s (but I repeat myself) game of stoking a full-on civil war in the party rather than kissing and making up, fine. What can I do.
The media has made this an issue because it hurts us. Steele is scrambling among several not terribly good options to avoid the media’s use of this against us. The media has fucked us — and everyone buying into the Let’s Burn the Party Down game is letting them fuck us even harder.
I’ve thought of that, too. But you know what? Don’t be a jerk and go on to CNN expecting to be buds with the host. Chairman Steele should know better. Why not go to a blogger or to Rush, himself and have a debate. But no, he goes into enemy territory and surprise! gets used by the
enemy, I mean press. Naivité will kill the party just as soon as division will.
James Joyner (the moderate Republican who kept me in a state of constant amusement during CPAC) says:
Limbaugh played a powerful role in mobilizing the base in 1994 and he’s still a major influencer today. But he’s not the leader of the Republican Party; Steele is. Unfortunately, this was a misstep on the new leader’s part. This wasn’t a Sister Soulja Moment; he was merely attacking a figure popular with his base for no apparent reason. It’s one thing to condemn Limbaugh when he says something that’s actually ugly and incendiary. This, though, was nonsensical.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News