Limbaugh rips Steele for calling his show “ugly”; Update: Longer excerpt added; Update: Audio added

posted at 3:30 pm on March 2, 2009 by Allahpundit

No transcript or audio yet, but Matt Lewis has bits and pieces. The media’s going to wet itself at the prospect of a conservative civil war, so here’s the first post of doubtless many more to come.

“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.”

There’s more at the link, although you’d benefit from watching the video of Steele criticizing him first if you missed it yesterday. My point then, and Ace’s point today, is that pandering to centrists is a political fact of life for politicians. Steele and Cantor, when forced to choose between criticizing Limbaugh and having to explain his “I hope he fails” rhetoric over and over again, will take the former every time: Right-wing partisans will turn out against Obama anyway in four years but the middle has to be wooed, and defending a sentiment about failure in the current political climate while The One’s busy framing himself as Mr. Nonpartisan does not a winning “moderate” message make. No wonder Gibbs is urging the media to keep asking Republicans whether they agree with Limbaugh. If they say yes, they’re vindictive partisans and if they say no they’ll get hammered by Rush on his show. The upshot:

“Steele is playing with fire,” said one longtime Republican adviser close to House Republicans and both Bush families. Of concern is that Steele, the party’s first black chairman, will be attacked by Limbaugh and other talk show hosts, further splitting the party…

Republicans are concerned that a feud between the national party and conservative talk radio would upset donors, who would stop giving to the party. “One possible outcome is that giving by the base, sickly for the last few years, could get even worse,” said a key GOP donor. Steele’s supporters, however, say that he is not trying to pick a fight with conservative radio and is just trying to counter Democratic charges that Limbaugh—who has engaged in a verbal war with President Obama—is the de facto boss of the party. He is also trying to put the word out there that the GOP is open to other viewpoints.

Exit question via Ace: Why is Rush taking this personally? He knows the political game that’s being played here and why Steele, in his leadership role, has to navigate away from hyperpartisan rhetoric. For that matter, why is he so insistent on challenging Steele’s claim to be the current head of the GOP? Who else is it if not him?

Update: With all due love and respect for the boss, I think she’s in the extreme minority of the conservative base these days if she truly believes “there’s nothing wrong with criticizing Rush Limbaugh.” I’m not sure why she’s reading Steele labeling Rush an “entertainer” so derisively, either. Hugh Hewitt, among others, also calls him that. Steele’s point, I thought, wasn’t that there’s something wrong with entertainers but merely that our expectations of their rhetoric have to be calibrated accordingly. Part of being an entertainer is being provocative or “incendiary.” That’s all he was saying.

Update: The Plum Line has an extended passage from the show. A taste:

When you send those fundraising requests out, Mr. Steele, make sure you say, we — we — we want Obama to succeed. So people understand your compassion. Republicans, conservatives are sick and tired of being talked down to, sick and tired of being lectured to. And until you show some understanding and respect for who they are, you’re going to have a tough time rebuilding your party.

Update: Matt Lewis has the audio.


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If the Republican party is salvagable at all it needs far fewer Michael Steeles, John McCains, Snowes, Collins, Spectors.
Far fewer inside the beltway panderers and more Rush Limbaughs, Sarah Palins, Bobby Jindals, even Mitt Romneys more outside the beltway,successful, problem solvers.

Rush is right and for the good of the country the party should fall in line or continue to die on the vine!

dhunter on March 2, 2009 at 10:55 PM

I had never heard Rush speak until I watched the CPAC clips on here. I am a conservative, but rarely if ever listen to talk radio. I was actually astounded at how well Rush articulated how I feel. When he started talking about how we are not allowed to question the outcome of the policy, just the intention, I was elated. I always ask my liberal/democrat friends this exact question and always get the blank stare.

When I find an affliate here, I will start to listen to him often.

momof2 on March 2, 2009 at 11:07 PM

momof2 on March 2, 2009 at 11:07 PM

mom, you can get him streaming on the internet at 11 AM CST.

http://www.kfab.com/main.html

OmahaConservative on March 2, 2009 at 11:17 PM

http://www.wlsam.com/default.asp

Another link for momof2 to listen to Rush at 11 AM Central Standard Time.

OmahaConservative on March 2, 2009 at 11:22 PM

I’ll still listen to Rush. Steele and all the RNC party men can go hang for all I care. The sooner we get some folks with stones enough to fight, the better. I now officially don’t give a damn what kind of man Obama is. He’s a rank partisan, no better than Pelosi or Barney Frank or Clinton. He’s in the White House to make a dime and keep his aparachiks happy. No more no less.

Grovelling will get us nowhere.

spmat on March 3, 2009 at 12:40 AM

IF i ever develop the urge to BLOW the Dimwits i will do it of my own accord. At this time i posses no such urge and until that time occurs i would appreciate if Mr Steele and the RNC would resist the temptation to do it on my behave.

heshtesh on March 3, 2009 at 1:12 AM

IF i ever develop the urge to BLOW the Dimwits i will do it of my own accord. At this time i posses no such urge and until that time occurs i would appreciate if Mr Steele and the RNC would resist the temptation to do it on my behalf.

heshtesh on March 3, 2009 at 1:12 AM

For the anal retenative i felt compelled to make the correction.

heshtesh on March 3, 2009 at 1:19 AM

There are three attributes that Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh exude:

1)conviction for and passion in their conservative beliefs

2)a charismatic eloquence that boasts an air of authenticity

3)the ability to persuade people to take action

For the GOP to prevail in 2010 and 2012 the GOP needs the maximum contribution of both.

technopeasant on March 3, 2009 at 1:51 AM

This troubles me and makes me wonder were the direction of the GOP is going. Bickering and in-fighting ain’t going to get Republicans united.

As far as I’m concerned, both Rush and Chairman Steele need to meet on neutral ground and get everything off the table. You can’t pander to moderate voters and keep the base without scaring both off.

Chuck In Hawaii on March 3, 2009 at 3:35 AM

but the middle has to be wooed, and defending a sentiment about failure in the current political climate while The One’s busy framing himself as Mr. Nonpartisan does not a winning “moderate” message make.

Only if you’re a gutless weenie who hasn’t the courage of any convictions. Maybe it’s time for the “middle” to grow a pair. I, for one, still believe they can. It’s a matter of choice. You choose to be a man or you choose to be a sheep (“sheep” was my second choice).

SKYFOX on March 3, 2009 at 5:47 AM

Republicans are concerned that a feud between the national party and conservative talk radio would upset donors, who would stop giving to the party.

Excuse me, but the “feud” is not what’s driving down GOP donations. It’s things like the gang of 14 (now the gang of 3, Specter/Snowe/Collins), and hearing things like how we need to reach across the aisle and “be more moderate”. These are the very reasons the GOP isn’t getting the votes or the cash.

ErinF on March 3, 2009 at 6:50 AM

IMPEACH STEELE! We need to get new leadership asap. It is still early enough to recover. He is not a voice for conservatives. Let’s learn by our past mistakes and do it quickly.

libertylady on March 3, 2009 at 7:41 AM

IF i ever develop the urge to BLOW the Dimwits i will do it of my own accord. At this time i posses no such urge and until that time occurs i would appreciate if Mr Steele and the RNC would resist the temptation to do it on my behave.
heshtesh on March 3, 2009 at 1:12 AM

To late and many more Monica’s forthcoming from the RNC to the DNC as long as Michael (Hip/Hop) Steele is Chairman…

Great post, by the way! LMAO!

sabbott on March 3, 2009 at 8:00 AM

Steele will throw the 2012 election if he is not removed, just like the RINO McCain.

Jerricho68 on March 3, 2009 at 8:20 AM

PLEASE Mr Steele, grow a set and turn the question around on these pompus asses… Here is the PERFECT way to combat this with the MSM, the Pundits and the American people…

1) Al Gore: “This President betrayed his Country, he played on our fears”.

Question: Did Al Gore want President Bush to suceed?

2) Harry Reid: “The war is lost, the surge is failed”.

Question: Did Harry Reid want Bush and America to suceed?

3) John Kerry: “We are bombing civilians and terrorizing villages”.

Question: Did Kerry want America and Bush to suceed?

I have dozens, with Murtha, Reid, Pelosi, Schumer and even The Messiah, all wishing ILL OF PRESIDENT BUSH and AMERICA and our wonderful MILITARY… So did these “leaders” of the Democrat Party, the far left party, want Bush to suceed???

But when Conservatives have one lone voice, calling out the Obamby Liar-In-Chief, clearly stating we want Obama’s POLICIES to fail, our side gets creamed and goes all weak kneed…

I can wait to hear some hack tool trool explaine how it’s different that actual liberal politions wanted Bush and America to fail in Iraq and on the demostic front, but a radio talk sho host is held to a different standard…

I’ll sit and watch this tap dance…

Mark Garnett on March 3, 2009 at 8:42 AM

Someone in the media should ask people like Michele Bachman (sp?) if she would prefer that people who support her send their donations to the RNC or would she rather that they donate directly to her?

The major funding orgs of the GOP have too much power to cut funding to quality candidates and dispense funding to the candidates of their preference. We saw it in October when the RNC cut and run on some conservatives.

I wouldn’t stop funding the RNC because of Steele, I would stop funding it because the whole of the organization has been rotten.

myrenovations on March 3, 2009 at 8:45 AM

When you send those fundraising requests out, Mr. Steele, make sure you say, we — we — we want Obama to succeed. So people understand your compassion.

I just fell in love with Plum Line

hawksruleva on March 3, 2009 at 9:11 AM

Face it, there is a leadership vacuum in the R party. If there are some who think Steele is the leader of the party, it’s time to call it quits. Neither is McConnell or Boehner. They lead their respective areas but not the party. There is a leader on the horizon, and her name is…

Kissmygrits on March 3, 2009 at 10:15 AM

So we as conservatives get fired up after listening to these great speeches, such as Sarah Palin at the convention, and Rush at CPAC only to have the “Republicans” go on the MSM and disagree with the things they said. I am so sick of being told that Rush does not speak for the Republicans, well, maybe not, but he does speak for conservatives and he does speak for me!

Stacey on March 3, 2009 at 10:38 AM

but he does speak for conservatives and he does speak for me!

Stacey on March 3, 2009 at 10:38 AM

+100

OmahaConservative on March 3, 2009 at 10:44 AM

I had never heard Rush speak until I watched the CPAC clips on here. I am a conservative, but rarely if ever listen to talk radio. I was actually astounded at how well Rush articulated how I feel. When he started talking about how we are not allowed to question the outcome of the policy, just the intention, I was elated. I always ask my liberal/democrat friends this exact question and always get the blank stare.

When I find an affliate here, I will start to listen to him often.

momof2 on March 2, 2009 at 11:07 PM

Welcome to the club. You’ll enjoy it, like 20+ million other conservatives around this country. Like someone else said, Rush is Conservatism.

Norwegian on March 3, 2009 at 11:21 AM

If the Republican party is salvagable at all it needs far fewer Michael Steeles, John McCains, Snowes, Collins, Spectors.
Far fewer inside the beltway panderers and more Rush Limbaughs, Sarah Palins, Bobby Jindals, even Mitt Romneys more outside the beltway,successful, problem solvers.

Rush is right and for the good of the country the party should fall in line or continue to die on the vine!

dhunter on March 2, 2009 at 10:55 PM

Less Allah’s; Broder’s; get rid of the fence sitting “moderates” and WIN elections again by standing up for America, proud values and morals, strong local schools, supported Military… fair taxes, rewarding hard work, not welfare… THEN WE WIN… RUSH, as usual, is dead on correct!

Mark Garnett on March 3, 2009 at 11:36 AM

The last time I was proud of the Republican party was when Newt was Speaker. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the party’s success drifted downward upon his departure.

SimplyKimberly on March 3, 2009 at 7:43 PM

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