A response to Rush’s claim that Obama fears him more than he does John Boehner: When you have to worry about reelection, ideological purity is a luxury you can’t afford.

“I think that our leadership, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, are taking the right approach,” [Rep. Tom] Price [Rep. Phil 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.

Asked to respond to Gingrey, Limbaugh, in an email to Politico, wrote: “I’m sure he is doing his best but it does not appear to be good enough. He may not have noticed that the number of Republican colleagues he has in the House has dwindled. And they will dwindle more if he and his friends don’t show more leadership and effectiveness in battling the most left-wing agenda in modern history. And they won’t continue to lose because of me, but because of their relationship with the grassroots, which is hurting. Conservatives want leadership from those who claim to represent them. And we’ll know it when we see it.”

I.e. we’ll know it if they stick to their guns about opposing the stimulus, which Obama’s press secretary told the press corps this afternoon he doesn’t think they’ll do. Neither do I — not all of them, anyway. Let’s settle this.

Update: A botched quote from Politico: It was Phil Gingrey who made the statement about Limbaugh, not Tom Price. I’ve corrected the quote above.