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March 4th, 2009
12:56 PM ET

Minority Leader Limbaugh

The Washington Post
David Plouffe

The 2008 election sent many messages. At the top: Americans wanted to turn the page on the politics of division and partisan pettiness, and they wanted a government - and country - that would put the middle class first.

Watching the Republicans operate this past month, it would appear that they missed that unmistakable signal.

Instead, Rush Limbaugh has become their leader.

Limbaugh, of course, told his radio listeners that he's rooting for President Obama to fail - and hoping the president's ideas for bolstering our economy fail with him. For many Americans, hungry for leadership and cooperation, this sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard. When Limbaugh reiterated the sentiment this weekend, hundreds of Republican conservatives cheered him on. But instead of rebuking the radio personality or charting their own course, Republican leaders in Washington are paralyzed with fear of crossing their leader. Less than 24 hours after committing the unforgivable sin of criticizing Limbaugh, RNC Chairman Michael Steele felt compelled to publicly apologize. He was not the first and will certainly not be the last.

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soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. gia

    Michael Steele was right when he said Rush is a joke, a comedian, an entertainer. No one, certainly no one in the Obama administration takes in seriously, although he's certainly been really useful as an entertaining diversion. If anyone actually takes Rush and the drivel he preaches seriously, well...ROFL!

    March 4, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  2. BEHINDMANNERS

    Lets all agree with the president and just stay in la la land. Lets just spend money we don't have, rescue millions of people who are looking for a free ride and then when anybody doesn't agree with that plan we can just say they are in denial... or they are mean or stupid. The fact is all Liberals think they are smart and if you don't agree with them then you are not. I remember my two teenagers talking like that but then they grew up. some people never do.

    Glad I didn't vote for Obama

    March 4, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  3. JIM FALLBROOK CA

    Rush Limbaugh is a conservative talk show host. He is not the leader of the Republican party. It seems that the Democrats like Barack Hussein Obama, James Carville, Roland S Martin Bill Clinton and others love to attack Limbaugh from the sidelines.. If I were a Liberal like them, I would go on his show and straighten Limbaugh out. With that said, they won't do that because in the words of Eric Holder, they are cowards. Limbaugh has already offered Obama to debate him and will pay all the travel expenses so there won't be any burden on the taxpayer. If I were a liberal, I would jump at the opportunity. With Obama being the coward that he is, he would not accept.

    March 4, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  4. in LA

    Mr. Plouffe, when you misrepresent what other people say you are, in fact, lying and slandering them. I know Rush is used to this kind of thing from people who hate him as much (more?) than Hitler, but it's so shameful I wonder how you can call yourself a journalist.

    Anyone who has listened to more than a couple of isolated soundbytes knows that Rush does not believe Obama's economic plan will work. He believes wholeheartedly that it will eventually destroy what's left of our economy. This reason, and this reason alone, is why he wants Obama to "fail". He's gone to great lengths to clarify that if he thought Obama had created a plan that had any hope of bolstering the eonomy, he would want him to succeed. Apparently you missed all that. Shocker? Not really.

    Don't you have any facts in your corner? Do you really have to stoop to misrepresentations to try and make your point?

    March 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  5. lampe

    What is nice about Our Wonderful Country is this. you are Free to Speak your own mind, you are Free to have your own thoughts and beliefs. That is what makes us so Great. so if Rush doesn't like Obama, he is Free not too. I am very sure there was alot of Democrats, that wanted GWB to fail.

    March 4, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  6. Mike, Zephyrhills, FL

    Rush makes 4 million a year, he laughs all the way to the bank!! What putzs the news is to keep him it.

    He is very dis-respectful to the office of President. He used to call Prs Clinton, Bill, and then count upi the days he was in office. All a stunt!!

    Here in FL we know him for who he really is. A rich guy who got out of a serious crime because he is , who he is! Any other guy woul dhave gotten much more and jail!! Plus a record!!

    He is trash!! Would like to have the pick of litter between him and Palin!! LOL!!

    March 4, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  7. Ray Delgado

    Rush is the only person in the republican party who has a voice that everyone will listen too. Fortunate enough he's not a politician or else we would all be in a worse whole then we are in now!

    March 4, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  8. mary Frost

    TO ALL THAT READ THIS-Truth matters and in all things, seek truth. If your opinions and actions are based on false "facts", that can lead our country to a place that we do not want to go. PLEASE SEEK TRUTH AND FACTS and only then act. Is that too much to ask.

    March 4, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  9. mary Frost

    I'd like to set the record straight–Rush Limbaugh is NOT the head of the Rebublican party–Michael Steel IS. Another fact is that CNN and the other liberal people and stations report Rush's statement on President Obama failing totally out of context. Rush SAID that he wanted President Obama's liberal policies to fail–he said that he'd very much like him to succeed if he'd adopt policies that would put our country back on the right tract.(paraphrasing) If anyone reading this do doubt what I say, please find his comments to Sean Hannity and you'll find that what I say is true. I also want President Obama to fail if he keeps with his liberal policies that will put our country on a socialist path.

    March 4, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  10. mary Frost

    Rush Limbaugh said today that he would debate President Obama on TV, will President Obama take him up on the offer? I know that Rush said that he did want President Obama to fail on his liberal agenda, but he also said that he would want him to succeed on a different type agenda. Seems like the media never report the full quote of Rush.

    March 4, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  11. mike

    serves 'em right.

    conservatives madly piled onto the rush-wagon circa 1990, tickled he was saying things on radio they only thought & fumed about.

    the sideshow expanded with prof. gingrich and the "con-tract with america" chicanery that turned nice americans into rabid militants.

    those faithful fueled fox news, which helped fuel the republican revolution, which saddled us with the prodigal bush – who screwed, blued and tattooed all of us.

    now the original barker, agitmaster and shlock-flogger is the most eminent republican? goldwater and reagan must surely be spinning in their graves at this fascist takeover of their beloved party!

    March 4, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  12. KAZ

    the democrats made a huge calculated mistake. ANyone who has a brain knows that Rush is not the head nor will he be the head of The republican party, Rahm Emanuel had an agenda, he got Carville, Bagalia, Stephanopoulus, which he has daily morning briefings withand tells them how to spin the news for the day. He wanted Rush to pay he can't stand Rush. He specifically mentions him every chance he gets along with Obama. So this has all been planned and all of you have bought into it.

    March 4, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  13. Melissa

    Limbaugh is only making things worse for his party. He needs to shut up.

    March 4, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  14. penny

    """"IT is not nice to talk about special education individuals such as "RUSH LIMBAUGH, because they have limited ability. The REpublicans should enroll him in an educational facility to help him improve his IQ. Why woud Steele even want that job because of all the ignorant BABBLE in the Repubican party. Steele continues to embarass himself by even associating himself with Lumpy Lumbaugh. '

    March 4, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  15. Lisa in CA

    Well, I guess Mr. Cantor finally learned to say No. Too bad it came, oh, about 6 years too late. While I don't mind them just saying no, I wish they would actually offer up some viable alternatives.

    And while they may wish to thumb their noses at the middle class, without us working to make their products they wouldn't have their wealth. They need as us just as we need them. You can't have one without the other. Biting the hand that feeds you doesn't help either side.

    Meanwhile, while I respect Limbaugh's right to voice his opinion, I wonder how he would feel if, as a result, he were called "unpatriotic" as those of us who dared voice our opposition to many of Bush's policies were called. Afterall, is not unpatriotic to not support your president and your country? That's what Limbaugh and his followers told us for the last 8 years.

    March 4, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  16. Pat Matassarin

    The contention by the "media" is that America voted in the last election for a bi-partisan approach and for leadership. So far, there is neither, When the stimulus was promoted , the comments from Nancy Pelosi as well as the President were "we won so we write the package". Bi-partisan? No. The "leadership" so far has resulted in a 30% reduction in the stock market since the innaguration. Good leadership? No. The Democrats are striking a fatal blow to the party. They think that bankrupting individuals and the country will create prosperity and security for the masses. Well, think again. Middle class Americans - who have seen their retirements go down the tubes will not vote for a repeat performance - say two years from now. There must be employed, successful and secure taxpayers to pay for programs for those in need. The middle class Baby Boomers are seeing their work and security destroyed - after years of scraping , saving and tax paying. We still are a significant voting block. This "in your face" reckless spending will generate nothing but a Republican Congress.

    March 4, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  17. Rupa

    Rush Limbaugh is such an embarassment for this Great country. Its such a waste of time to even talk about him at this critical moment.
    I am not ready to undermine the smartness of those Republican politicians, so I question their patriotism, no one can achieve anything listening to Rush. Seriuosly, I tried, its total junk.

    March 4, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  18. vintij

    If the GOP actually allows this man to take the reigns for 2012 nomination, I feel sorrow for their desperation. It could be the fall of the party entirely; this being the last attempt at holding on the the base voters interest. What an embarrasment, out of all the bright leaders they harbor, Rush is the most compelling? Also, McCain needs to get over his hatred for Obama; not only do about a dozen republicans agree with the presidents budget, but nearly 60 percent of Americans follow in the consensus. The outrage over this is not an agreement with the American people, it was created by McCain and the republican base itself.

    March 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  19. toadman

    It would behoove republicans to distance themselves from people like Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, Coulter, and others. Their brand of divisive name calling and incendiary commentary is not what this country needs. By the same token, liberals would do well to keep their Olberman's and their Maddow's at arms length as well. We need less snark, and more substance.

    Even with the context of Limbaugh's comment intact, though the blow is lessened, the impact is still felt. Any failure of policy, is a failure for us as a nation. Limbaugh says he wants everyone to be successful. I believe him. What I think Limbaugh needs to do, is re-define his idea of what is "success" by opening his mind to the possibility that some of the President's policies may actually work. Instead of tearing them down without looking at them closely, belies his inability to think rationally about the world around him. It portrays him as a reactionary talker with no substance.

    I don't know if all of the President's policies or spending is going to help the economy. But what I do know, is that we could use less anger in our policy debates, and more constructive, rational, fact-based criticisms. Let's not let a few sour talk-show apples destroy civil discourse in our society.

    March 4, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  20. Heidi

    Rush signed a $100 million contract last fall. You can't tell me he wasn't told to ramp up his criticisms in order to earn his keep.

    This whole thing smells, but Rahm is handling it brilliantly.

    March 4, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  21. Ranjan Thandeep

    Cap-and-trade, nationalized healthcare, massive spending, bailouts for everyone except honest homeowners, onerous regulations ... Who is going to pay for it?

    I want the economy to recover soon. That will happen only if Obama fails.

    March 4, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  22. Sandra

    When CNN continues to post that comment out of context, it only proves that CNN is very biased against the truth. CNN I wish you really could be the "most trusted place for news", post Rush's entire comment, not the just excerpts you choose.

    March 4, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  23. Isabel, Brazil

    Some Republicans, more reasonable, seem to want distance from Limbaugh, although, sometimes, they need a dog to attack, like him, to stir the base.

    And the time to stir the base, perhaps, is now, because if President Obama goes well, success will convert the US in the greatest nation on earth and was once the opposition.

    Mr. Limbaugh seemed to me a man confused by the different socio-cultural and scared with the complexities of life, after all America has a black president and of opposition.

    March 4, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  24. Michael C. McHugh

    Far from trying to destroy capitalism, President Obama is working overtime to try to save it–far more than I'd ever do if it were left to me. I mean, he inherited a capitalist system that collpased due to its own corruption and mismanagement. I'm convinced now that these banks and financial institutions were just completely unregulated in recent ddcades, but now Obama is trying to re-regulate capitalism so it will at least have a chance of surviving. Smarter capitalists have always realized that the unregulated free market is bad for the system as a whole.

    Limbaugh and the Republicans can't comprehend this. Nor do thez understand that John Maynard Keynes favored budget deficits in a depression to stimulate the economy and save capiatlism from collapse.

    Basically, Limbaugh and the Republicans are unable to save their own beloved capitalist system from itself. They tend to see socialists where those of us who really are supporters of the "s" world could only dream of. I'd be happy to see the Obama administration go further left, although poor Rush would probably have a stroke if he had to deal with the real thing instead of imaginary socialists!

    March 4, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  25. paulernestshow

    With a microphone and a big mouth, Rush Limbaugh has grabbed the Republicans in choke-holds and held them in captivity. He has forced them to sing the "Rush songs", in a free nation like ours. And Republicans are weeping in silence, remembering those old days when Ronald Reagan was in charge. Their chairman has apologized to "King Rush" for misspeaking and they are all good now. The king has decreed that he go behind to divide and capture all minority votes.
    The Democrats are rejoicing and watching their opponents in disorder. All hail King Limbaugh. May his kingdom last forever.

    March 4, 2009 at 1:28 pm |