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Why Doesn't Rush Run for President?

When Rush Limbaugh explained to the Conservative Political Action Conference last Saturday that he wants President Obama to fail for ideological reasons, CNN gave old Rush the same treatment as a president or presidential candidate. For minute after minute after minute, there he was, speaking live, as if his predictable ranting constituted news. Perhaps I missed it, but I don’t recall any liberal talk show host or blogger getting that kind of treatment on the network. So will someone please explain to me why so many on the right claim that CNN is a “liberal” network? Is CNN chasing the Fox News crowd?

I suppose the network’s justification would be that the Obama administration itself is proclaiming Rush as the leading light of the GOP. He’s clearly the most powerful person in the party. Michael Steele, the new Republican national chairman, went after Rush in the wake of the CPAC speech, insisting that Limbaugh didn’t speak for Republicans and that the big guy’s comments could be “ugly” and “incendiary.” That struck me as brave, a sign that Steele really did want to lead the party in a new direction.

The bravery didn’t last two days. By Monday, Steele was apologizing to Limbaugh. "There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership," Steele said. "There are those out there who want to look at what he's saying as incendiary and divisive and ugly. That's what I was trying to say. It didn't come out that way." Steele decided that he could not simply to withdraw his statement. He had to put himself down and declare that he "was maybe a little bit inarticulate."

I suppose someone of my views should be happy to see this kind of internecine warfare on the right, but the episode saddened me -- really. I was sad to see that Steele had to cave immediately to Rush’s power. Steele might as well quit right now. He wasn’t elected primarily to build a better organization for the GOP. He was elected to signal that Republicans were willing to try new ideas, to reach out to new constituencies, to propose solutions. Never mind any of that. We now know the chairman has to take his orders from Rush.

It’s also sad to see that a conservative movement that once boasted great intellectual energy is now handing over its agenda to a talk show host whose views and approach would once have been seen as too far right to be taken seriously by mainstream conservatives. Conservatives once had Bill Buckley. Now they have Rush. Some conservatives, at least, understand what this means for their movement. As David Frum wrote on his New Majority blog, “Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence -- exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party. And we’re cooperating! Those images of crowds of CPACers cheering Rush’s every rancorous word -- we’ll be seeing them rebroadcast for a long time.”

Frum is right: Democrats are happy to see Rush define the GOP and conservatism, as David Plouffe's Post column today makes clear. By backing down, Steele played right into the hands of the Democrats, and their allies at the group "Americans United for Change" went on the air with this ad:

The country needs a conservative movement that will not be feared (or mocked) by non-conservatives. Given their current image, and what so many in their ranks are now selling, the conservatives’ only hope for power is a complete failure by Obama -- which, come to think of it, may help explain why Rush says what he says. If that is what Republicans really want, perhaps, in the name of efficiency, they should cut out the middle man and nominate Rush in 2012. That, at least, would justify all the attention CNN has been showering upon him.

By E.J. Dionne  | March 3, 2009; 10:02 PM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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Next: Obama Sets the Ground Rules


What is really sad to see is that the Democratic Party is now led by people whose views and approach would once have been seen as too far left to be taken seriously by mainstream Democrats. The Democrats once had Moynihan. Now they have Pelosi. They once had Truman. Now they have the Chavez of North America.

Posted by: suegbic | March 4, 2009 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Limbaugh couldn't pass any background checks, and he knows it.
Now, could you ask a difficult question?

Posted by: TerrifiedAmerican | March 4, 2009 4:15 AM | Report abuse

"Conservatives once had Bill Buckley. Now they have Rush."

Well put. As a former Republican, the intellectual drain that has continued in the GOP for decades now is disheartening. But Rush wouldn't run for the Presidency... regardless of what he might say, Rush wants what's good for his ratings and his wallet, not what's good for the country. That is the real reason he wants Obama to fail.. so he can say he told us so.

Posted by: jenzinoh | March 4, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse


Even if he were motivated to give up his money, Rush first earned notariety because he was hired to broadcast some sport and insulted a black player. Since then, he has routinely spread and preached hate against everyone but rich whaite folks.. His largest following are white supremacists. He has offended beyond the point of ever supporting his candidancy women, blacks, hispanics, labor, blue collar workers, the poor, gays and lesbians and democrats.

He says he has 20 million listeners that hear him spread hate against fellow Americans all over the world.

Republicans built him up, and republicans need to own him, or shut him down.

Until they do, he represents 17% without which they cannot win an election unless they make themselves attractive to moderates and independents; and 17% is not enough to win anything.

They are dead in the water until they do something.

Posted by: dutchess2 | March 4, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

sueg, Rush makes Pelosi look like the adult she is. Based on your comment, this article should be titled: When did the GOP become the party of parroting idiots?

There is rarely a thoughtful post by someone identifying themselves as a conservative. Most of those come from former or moderate Republicans who are horrified by what this party has been reduced down to. All I see now is "socialist this" or "communist that". The GOP membership is stuck in the first two gears of grief: denial and anger (at everyone else, of course). And like someone first learning to drive stick shift, they go back and forth and are now unable to move forward. There is no indication that this party will ever learn how to rebuild, to expand and become a viable party again.

I am saddened by it, as I am old enough to remember listening to bright conservative voices back in the day.

Posted by: LABC | March 4, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

The amazing thing, and the true measure of how pathetic the GOP has become, is that they are absolutely willing -- even eager -- to allow Rush to become their titular leader in the popular consciousness. They aren't even struggling against it, really. That's a party too lame to survive long. I look forward to a new center-right party arising within the next 20 years to replace an utterly marginalized GOP.

Posted by: nodebris | March 4, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I think he should run for President.

Posted by: JRM2 | March 4, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

There once was a man named Rush
He was the world’s biggest tush
Mouths he had one
But brains he had none
I wish that he would just shush

Posted by: notthatdum | March 4, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Based on what the MSM did to an honorable man like John McCain, I would say it is a liberal columnists fantasy to have Rush Limbaugh run for president. We already have a president with no experience, your guy won. He owns it now. Blaming it on Limbaugh might seem brilliant, but we all know that the Democratic congress elected in 2006 did nothing to help us in our economic situation. In fact, they said nothing was wrong with the subprime mortgage business for two years after being elected while blaming Bush currently. What a bunch of hypocrites.

You keep doing your part promoting the war on capitalism and the investors. You think it is just 'rich' people. 50% of my brother's, the school teacher, pension is gone. How is that punishing the rich?
President Obama is doing everything in his power to keep us in economic turmoil. He has to be able to transform this country as fast as he can before you become aware.

President Obama thinks the economy is a zero-sum gain. If I earn a dollar, I am stealing it from some poor schlub. My reward for great risk, some how hurts your ability to earn a living. How did such an angry uninformed man become president?

Destroying the economy does not equalize anything. Why do it?

Posted by: thelaw1 | March 4, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Why won't Limbaugh run for president?
There are a myriad of reasons, starting with the fact his rather disturbing personal life would not hold up under media glare. All the "values voters" would be totally repulsed if they learned about his background.
He would be like Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich: Appealing to maybe 25 percent of this country, while repelling the rest of America.
I agree with Dionne, though: It's so sad to see that this morally bankrupt, disengenous and laughable comedian would be held up as the best and brightest of conservatism -- which, not too long ago, actually had integrity, intelligence and principles.
David Brooks, George Will, David Frum and (sometimes) Kathleen Parker qualify as the best and brightest. Limbaugh merely represents the ugly, resentful, kneejerk and childish side of it. Unfortunately, he has enough listeners to make him powerful. The Obama admin is wasting its time trying to challenge him to dog fight -- all it will get is fleas.

And to the thelaw1: John McCain wrecked his own chances at winning by selling his soul, and his own tone-deafness on certain issues. The "evil liberal media" had nothing to do with it. (I know that must burst your right-wing fantasy bubble to read anything other than what you hear on Limbaugh's show, but tough luck.)
Please quit the whiny victimizaton act -- it makes you sound like a predictable left-winger. The victim card didn't work for that movement in the long run, and it won't work for yours now.

Posted by: vegasgirl1 | March 4, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"I suppose the network’s justification would be that the Obama administration itself is proclaiming Rush as the leading light of the GOP."

Heck, that's a pretty darn good justification, don't you think? Airing Rush is defensible on those grounds alone. If he's the main voice of the opposition, then he should be covered as such.

Posted by: mypitts2 | March 4, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks the Democrats are "left" has the grasp of perspective of the people who designed the sets for "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari."

To see the Democrats as "left" can only come from someone whose views are skewed so far to the right that everything else looks left; in other words, a dirty little Bush supporter.

Your side lost, nutbar. Go lick your wounds somewhere else and keep your insignificant opinions to yourself

Posted by: chrisfox8 | March 4, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

And memo to Rush: Drop the Johnny Cash black suit -- you're not worthy, and nothing will ever make you stylish, because you have no style (or class, decency, humanity, etc.)
Oh, and it doesn't slim you, either.

Posted by: vegasgirl1 | March 4, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Limbaugh - Palin 2012.
Hahahahahhahaahahaha . ..

Posted by: rlampe | March 4, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

And to thelaw1: What exactly did the GOP-controlled Congress ever do for this country, other than bend over for George W. Bush and allow a huge spending orgy -- just like the one you're taking Obama to task for now?
Who's the hypocrite now, poster? You, perhaps?

Posted by: vegasgirl1 | March 4, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I love it. The GOP is now full prisoner to its extremist white-sheet-wearing crowd. I have a feeling the fun is only beginning for those of us in the bleachers.

Posted by: B2O2 | March 4, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Rush ought to spend a little more time at the salad bar - and it probably wouldn't hurt if he kept up that jumping thing he did at the convention.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | March 4, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Good idea. He'd get clobbered by the liberal media, and then we'd be done with him and the dumbasz republican party once and for all.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | March 4, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

If you conclude that we need to do something about providing some sort of reasonable health care, and if you conclude that we need to restructure our energy use, especially gasoline, then you have to spend money. As well, these two things, especially energy, are going to have a huge impact on our economic well being in the coming century. What I wonder is why some in the republican party seem to be talking in code? Be truthful, and simply say that you think there is no need to reform healthcare, and that there is no need to stop using oil and other fossil fuels.

I don't much care for the democrats either, but if you say that those two agendas are among the most important, then the money must be spent. If you think it is foolish to provide affordable health care to people, or to do anything to change our energy usage have the strength of your convictions and say it!

Calling affordable health care and renewable energy socialist and implying that those things destroy capitalism and individual liberty is nonsense - simply say you don't believe in them, and build your platform around keeping health care for the wealthy and well connected and tell people that blowing the top half off a mountain for coal is a great idea, and anyone who does not believe that does not believe in the American way!

Posted by: arumph01 | March 4, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I need an explanation - exactly how did the current administration punish "your brother the school teacher"? The bottom dropped out of the market well prior to President Obama taking office, and even before he was elected.

Are you that insistent that conservative voices are the only ones with solutions that you have to make up something so egregious to attack the current administration?

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | March 4, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Im amazed to see Bill Buckleys name, this is the same guy who after his son had an affair and had a child out of the affair he being the dotting grandfather never saw the child and then cut the child out of his will. What a nice person............

Posted by: rharring | March 4, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Rush Limbaugh, the grossly obese drug addict for Repugnican't President in 2012? What are you smoking?

Posted by: sailorflat | March 4, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Well done ad by Change to Win.

Posted by: JPRS | March 4, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"Wise enemy is better than a foolish friend",like the old saying. It's very healthy to have a strong opposition Otherwise kings become dictators.

Posted by: suemurty | March 4, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

He doesn't run for president for the same reason a professional wrestler doesn't compete in the Olympics. He's an entertaining fake.

And thelaw1...since when is it the president's job to prop up the stock market? Whatever happened to good conservative values like savings, thrift, and financial independence? If your relative us down 50%, why didn't he get out when he was up? Many people did. We didn't wait for stock tips from a government official. That's how it works.

Posted by: Attucks | March 4, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand how he can run under the conservative heading. Hasn't he been married three times? Did he not have a drug problem for a while? This is why I never ever watch the news networks. Can't trust what they are showing. I will however - watch Cspan. Constantly.

Posted by: KEK2 | March 4, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

RE: "Wise enemy is better than a foolish friend" is a pretty apt description of Limbaugh in relation to the GOP. Where exactly is the wisdom in his self-promotion? It's entirely self-serving.

As far as strong opposition goes, kings traditionally have been dictators.

Only a few cases of constitutionally limited kings have existed. Effectively Divine Right Kings exercise their power the same as Dictators.

Final point, strong opposition is healthy -- especially in a democracy. That's one of the tragedies of the modern GOP. The GOP has completely discredited itself -- and only continues to do so by failing to get distance from people like Limbaugh.

This talk too about "returning to principles" is a joke as well. Effectively the GOP had a chance to test its principles, and those principles failed the electorate. The GOP's principles by definition reward the most privileged at the expense of opportunities for the many (and for the many in future generations). We are living a world right now where GOP principles were given the full-range of expression. Unregulated markets; low rates of taxation; neutered labor.

Posted by: JPRS | March 4, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Michael Steele's self assessment as Head of RNC after 30 days on the Job.

After his head but'n with self claimed Conservative Radical Republican 'radio shock jock' Rush Limbaugh.

When asked how he was doing as RNC head? Steele, replied..quote "hey! I have been on the job for 30 days".

Can you imagine trying to run this Country?

Memo to Steele...

Managing the RNC is equivalent to maintaining Jed Clampetts 4 wheel jalopy. Making sure Grannies rocking chair don't fall off the truck.

When will Steele realize that he was chosen for the RNC to be a shoe shine boy?

Posted by: opp88 | March 4, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah...Michael Steele say's being the head of the RNC is a JOB!

Quote. "hey! I have been on the job for 30 day's"

I don't understand something here..does Michael Steele have a job?

Posted by: opp88 | March 4, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Dionne has either reached the silly age or he is following Obama's marching orders or both. Rather than focus on the consequences of the actions of the most unprepared and incompetent president in memory, Dionne changes the subject to write about someone named Limbaugh. The issue is the economy, stupid. Now even Democrats like Bayh and Feingold oppose this massive budget of a radical president. That is the issue, Dionne. Not the personal pique of your political messiah.

Posted by: mhr614 | March 4, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: opp88 | March 4, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

For myself, I'm giddy with gratitude that Limbaugh has become the front man for the Republican Party.

After all, this is a grossly overweight, middle-aged hypocrite who slips down to those countries in Latin America that specialize in supplying teen-age prostitutes to grossly overweight, middle-aged hypocrites; who uses his (Latina) maid to buy his extra (and thus illegal) Vicodin; and who has never met a black man (or a woman) he couldn't attack.

Yes, he is the perfect face of the GOP. Anybody who attended a McCain rally would have run into his ilk over and over and over.

There are lower forms of life than conservative Republicans; they're found on slides in bio-hazard laboratories.

Posted by: ArrigoBeyle | March 4, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Ho, Ho, Ho
Off to catch a buzz I go
To meet Rush Slimeball to score
Oxycotin and more
A party boss fool
Is just another Uncle Tom tool
That Rush blows off
While another Latina he pays off

Posted by: tniederberger | March 4, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh, E.J., are you really that dense? CNN covered the CPAC speech just like they daily cover the ongoing "conflict" between Rush and the White House. Carville and Begala are both minor architects in the Rahm-bo plan to focus attention on Rush Limbaugh. The Dems always need a demon to attack-- their policies of vast spending and rising taxes simply can't stand on their own.

It's true that there are Rush-following drones on the right. It's also true that there are Obamatrons on the left, bought with rising entitlements and tax refunds for non-taxpayers. For the POTUS and his direct surrogates to engage Rush Limbaugh, a private citizen, is pretty pathetic.

Posted by: but_seriously | March 4, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe that Limbpall was born legally in the United States. He could not legally be President.

Posted by: sperrico | March 4, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Republicans tried for a dozen years to make Michael Moore the voice of the Democrat party--to no avail. While Democrats looked on incredulously the GOP installed this blowhard by standing ovation. Good grief!

Posted by: slim2 | March 4, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse


What in gods name are you talking about? Republicans like Nixon and Democrats like FDR make Obama look conservative.

Both presidents employed massive deficit spending, price controls, and massive increases in regulation to combat economic crises. Compared to these presidents, Obama is painfully moderate.

The claim that Obama is somehow liberal compared to politicians in either party of the past is either incredibly short-sited or just plain wrong.

Posted by: zosima | March 4, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

President Obama is a....



Socialist ....No Way !!

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dennis Praeger, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and Joe The Plumber Bull-Spit...

Will Never Stick

Keep Repeating that Socialist Bull...Rush Limbaugh...

Obama is a Nationalist, Protectionst and Preservationist..

Did you Low Life's not Hear his Address to Congress Last Tuesday Night and that is why His Approval Numbers Jumped Wednesday...

The President Speaks of Making Our Own Products, once more and it Starts Here at Home, as it was before Corporate America, NAFTA and Free Trade...

Sold out the American Factory Workers and Gave thier Jobs to Communist Socialist China and Viet Nam...

India, Canada, Mexico and Other Foreign Countries...

I Love that Sound, made In America, once Again....

Yet it is Rush Limbaugh and Low Life's like some of You...

That call this Nationalist President a..


That's Borderline Bull-Spit !!

Posted by: omaarsblade | March 4, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Rush Limbaugh for President !!


Sean Hannity for Vice President !!

They are the Voice and Face of the Republican Party, are they Not ?

The are Fully Vetted, Honorable, Trustful, Truthful, Moral, Honorable Tax Payers, Devoted Family Men, Morally Straight, They own One Home, like Most Americans...

They pay their Taxes and Operate Honorable Businesses, Honest, Law Abiding Citizens and Devoted Husbands...

Yep, These Two Men, should be the Republican Ticket, for 2012 !!

Now if You think I'm serious, about any of the Baloney I just Pecked above...

PS: I also Own a Large Oil Field and Oil Refinery in Texas and I'm a Near and Dear Friend of George W. Bush !!

Posted by: omaarsblade | March 4, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Two Fat & Very Rich Capitalist getting Paid to Spew Garbage and Preach to the Ozarks, Great Plains, Southern, Mid West, Mountainous and Appalachian Lowly...

Like Sarah Palin said...

"The Real America"

Rush Limbaugh & Sean Hannity..

Two [[Decadent Capitalist]]

Not Republican, but are "Paid to Play" Republican Bull Horns..

Whose Main Interest are to let One thing Happen, that Serves their Bottom Line Interest...

"Letting The Bush Tax Cuts For The Rich.. Expire"

Oppose to Obama Putting an Immediate Stop to the...

"Bush Tax Cuts For The Rich"

Note: Rush is a Capitalist Preservationist, who has Gotten People that don't have a Pot to Piss in, Moreover, these Same People can't Afford Scott Brand Tissue Paper, to Wipe their Backside's Off...

But think Rush is Standing up for them !!!

Rush Limbaugh lives in a Gated Community or Various Gated Communities, Flown in Private Jets, Travels the World in Style, Eats and Sleeps at the Very Best 5 Star Hotels & Restaurants and these Low Life's who Listen to him Daily are..

Living the Lifestyles of the Poor, Shut In and Shut Out...Society !!

Rush is David Copperfield, because...

He has Tricked these People with his Slight Of Hand, Pen & Teller...

Capitalist Magic !!

Robin Leach, has Nothing, Absolutely Nothing on ...

The Fat Boy

Note: Yesterday, Limbaugh said that ABC News's

"Jake Tapper was Not Obama's Butt Boy"...

Of course not...

Jake is getting it from Both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity !!

Jake Tapper is Too Busy Bending Over to those Two Fat A!! Capitalist, to Squeeze in Time for Obama & Biden !!

Posted by: omaarsblade | March 4, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Who is this articulate conservative that Dionne is waiting for, like the Messiah or the Great White Hope?

Hopefully the time has blessedly passed that there is an articulate way to defend trickle down economics, which have created the greatest economic inequality since the onset of the Great Depression, under the camouflage of sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant racism, militarism, anti-immigrant hysteria, faux feminism, homophobia, and defense of that nebulous, undefined term: traditional family values.

Is there a human being alive who can articulately and creditably communicate that position? Rush? Sean? Newt? Savage? Krauthammer? Gerson? Parker? Steele? Rove? The ghosts of Goebbels and Hitler?

In a nation with a healthy political spectrum the articulate, responsible voice of conservatism would probably be . . . Bill Clinton.

Posted by: bfieldk | March 5, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

This Obama horror show is really getting scary!

We were concerned with the Russians and Chinese taking over the country.

Looks like the Socialist Agenda is taking us over from within!

Our whole way of life is collapsing with every new step and appointment the Left makes.

Now the White House is going to war with a radio talk show host ( Rush Limbaugh ).

Is he a distraction to take our eyes off the Socialist Agenda?

Or is it that he is one of only a handful crying out the warning!

Is he the new Paul Revere ridding thru the airwaves trying to warn us of the danger coming our way.

They must REALL BE SCARED to go after A RADIO GUY!

Ask yourself why the Left Wing Spin Machine, getting it's talking points and marching orders from the White House are spending such money and time going after Limbaugh!

What's Limbaugh saying that's so scary to the White House that they must shut down Limbaugh"s message to the American people?

He's only a talk radio Guy!

Not a Politician!

Hmmmmmm! Maybe he's letting the Cat Out of the Bag! By telling the truth!

Boy is that scary to the White House!

The British are coming, The Socialists are here. Hope that Rush is not to late!

Posted by: Acornisascam | March 5, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

It is a mistake for the White House to publicly take on Rush. While they may have right on their side, Rush has a daily megaphone where he can spew garbage for hours every day with no one caring what is factual or what is "entertainingly" inaccurate, slanderous, or just false.

It would be better to marginalize him by simply saying he is an political "info-tainer" with the bad information and the wrong temperament needed in this critical time.

Posted by: frjim | March 5, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

What if we Democrats had, as our defacto leader, Michael Moore, and CNN covered the spectacle as they cover Rush Limbaugh? That's how ridiculous it is for conservatives to allow the extremist blowhard Rush to rule the airwaves on their behalf. Where is the calm, intellectual side of the GOP hiding out?

Rush is absolutely nothing but an entertainer, at best. At worst, he's a demogogue and hate-monger. I hope the GOP does shoot itself in the foot and come up with a Rush-Palin ticket. What a sideshow! It would be worth all the laughs.

Posted by: cturtle1 | March 5, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Why doesn't Rush run for President? Because they would have to butter his hips just to get them through the door.

Posted by: nysteveo2 | March 5, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Give it up, suegbic. You have the right to make your point, but you're not going to win this argument. The Dems are far more moderate than the Repubs. Psst--THAT'S why they won. You're actually describing YOUR party than mine. Where are all the New England Repub house members? Gone. The Dem's liberal part has far less power than you or your conservative cohorts think. otherwise, President Obama wouldn't have moved to the center on so many issues.

Posted by: SGall23241 | March 5, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

This is really pretty basic. Just go back and compare the rhetoric of conservatism's founders. Recall some of the more stirring speeches of Goldwater and Reagan and you will see that their speeches were chockful of paens to mainstream Americans. And they spoke with a different sort of passion than the anger and hostility that so much characterizes the rhetoric of modern conservatives today.

Reagan and Goldwater did not insult their opponents. They attacked their policies and belief. When Goldwater suggested that "moderation was no virtue and extremism was no vice" he was talking about Soviet expansionism and our reaction to it. When Reagan said government was the problem and not the solution, he was referring to the failures of government in the face of so many failed 1970s experiments in social legilation, like welfare.

Not once do I ever remember the leading conservative voices of old use personal insults of the nature that are being so cavalierly bandied about today. Can you imagine a Reagan calling President Carter a "Stalinist"? Can you imagine Goldwater calling LBJ acommunist? No. These were the sort of vile names that John Birchers back in the 50s were throwing around in calling Ike for example, a communist.

Well fast forward to our present and you will see that Rush Limbaugh, and a goodly share of the conservative intelligentsia have now inherited the old John Birch Society movment, right down to demonizing the United Nations. This is who the conservatives have become. Just ask old timers from the Reagan years like Lou Cannon and they will tell you that they don't care much for the likes of Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by: jaxas | March 5, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Rush should challenges someone of equal stature to a debate. Someone like Michael Moore - Get the two media representatives of the right and the left together - Come on Rush - go for it. ...................

Posted by: glclark4750 | March 5, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Although it is laughable to see the "top" Republicans supplicating to Rush, the fact is that it is a waste of time for the Democrats to talk, report or in any other way pay attention to it. Rush is a joke to all thinking people, and he makes his living by spewing ugly vitriole about everyone not like him (rich, white, male, Republican). Thanks to his Oxy habit he will never qualify for any office, and I doubt even the Republicans would try for a Constitutional Amendment to allow someone with a drug felony to run for president, although if they did it would just make them even less viable than they are now.
SO, please, let's hear less about Rush - why encourage the idiocy?

Posted by: rmcdetal | March 5, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Isn't there anyone in the GOP leadership who remembers that Limbaugh demanded that his listeners support Romney during the 2008 presidential primaries? Romney could not even beat Mike Huckabee.

Limbaugh's influence is really very limited.

Posted by: acrami | March 5, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

"Looks like the Socialist Agenda is taking us over from within!"

Socialist Agenda:

1200: wake-up, watch "The View"

1300: shoot-up marijuana

1400: homosexual intercourse

1500: ride public transportation

1600: proselytize over latte at Starbucks

1700: lite LSD "lunch"....

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Posted by: provo1 | March 5, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Rush says the problem with the GOP is they haven't defined themselves. I think the problem with the GOP is they have spent the last 8 years defining themselves and no one is buying anymore. Rush spent the last 8 years cheer leading for the Bushies and tearing anyone down who had the temerity to challenge their failed reasoning. (on the war in Iraq, the economy, Katrina, etc, etc, etc...)

Posted by: rc53 | March 5, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Such a great idea! I would LOVE to see Rush run for President. Watching him fail early on in the campaign will be GREAT TV!

The truth is that there really is a big difference between a successful politician and a 'successful' radio talk-show host. Both my sound just like blowhards, but the politician has to be more than that.

Rush, OTOH, is nothing more than a blowhard, and a particularly nasty one at that.

Posted by: Syllogizer | March 5, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

One of the problems with the GOP is that they want to re-define themselves, and the past 8 years are getting in the way.

Another problem with the GOP is that they do not know what they want to become, so the redefinition is on hold.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | March 5, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The real worry I have about Rush becoming prominent in the Republican party is not anything like real political power. There's no way he could stand the give-and-take of a political campaign and he knows it - which is why he sits in his little studio and rants. Opposing views threaten him, and so he hides from them, carefully filtering them down to parodies that he can rant about.

I worry about the fringes - the out-there not-on-your-meds kooks who will take what he says as some sort of signal to start their apocalypse - whatever that involves.

The reason that public discourse has a duty to be civil is because of those kooks - witness the surge in death threats to the Obamas after Sarah Palin's "palling around with terrorists" comments.

Limbaugh is toxic because he shows no restraint - he has no sense of responsibility for the effect of his words. Putting him - directly or indirectly - in a position of power could cause things that nobody wants to think about. Leave him in his studio.

Posted by: Rozinante21 | March 5, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Republicans (or conservatives) speaking out now seem to feel that the great threat to the United States is one of liberal social values. The real threats are faltering economy that does not buoy a majority of citizens, endangered international engagement that drains national coffers and limits our ability to encourage peace and prosperity abroad, and an ignored problem of global warming and carbon dioxide emissions. America and the world need to hear positive contributions to the conversation on these issues. Rush Limbaugh seems more worried about the country "looking soft." He misses the point completely and those who "rah-rah" him either miss it also or so want to be part of a crowd that they do not stop to analyze what this buffoon represents.

Posted by: Jazzman7 | March 5, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

LABC wrote:
There is no indication that this party will ever learn how to rebuild, to expand and become a viable party again.

Uhmm...just let Obama continue and the GOP will have no problem. There is so much buyers remorse now. The white guilt has been cured and now people are waking up to the mistake they made. If Obama does for health care reform what he has done to the stock market, then you might as well buy your coffin tommorrow. No really LABC, the democrats couldn't have picked a better loser than the Dear leader to get people thinking smart again. This presidency will be just a litle blip of "incoherent thought" that normally rational thinking people got caught up in...historical, change, etc. Hey first black president will be the worst black president. Let's hope the country can rebound from this huge mistake. OBAMA=One Big A$$ Mistake for America.

Posted by: 65apr | March 5, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Limbaugh puts nothing on your table or mine.
His numbers for his talk show translates into money for him; not this country.

Stop giving him credit and attention; he's nothing. Now I will go and try and find a job.

Posted by: lindarc | March 5, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

I guess along with the GOP card, they now need knee pads. And it'll take a lot of Vaseline too. Maybe if they're lucky Rush will kiss them first.

Posted by: raduodogi | March 5, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

He is a marble God to angry white, fat, balding guys everywhere. Unfortunately, more people watch Desperate Housewives than listen to Limbo while trapped in their cars.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | March 6, 2009 1:58 AM | Report abuse

Rush cannot run for President Why?
1 Drug addiction(despite numerous rehabs/relapse)
2 Would not pass a mental stability exam
3 Would not pass a formal background check

His transgressions like other of his ilk(Hannity's frotting incident(man on the street incident that was covered up) and Hannity's questionable lineage stand in the way of them ever being taken seriously for anything other than the wannabe rock stars they aspire to. There is some growing up to do here in a huge way.

Posted by: NGrunge | March 6, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Yes, let Rush run for president. After G.W. and Sarah Pailin and governor Schwarzenegger, the world will crack up laughing.

Posted by: yrtrtry | March 6, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

The sellout of our industrial base to China by Bubba Clinton and the Bush Family has yet to be told and explained to the country.
Try this, Globalization, The New World Order,
Nafta, Privatization, One World Economy,
just for starters. These terms brought us
Enron, and the financial benefit to
The Carlyle Group. We are in a major depression and it will get worse before it
gets better. We need some honesty by the press and others..

Posted by: umt123 | March 6, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Rush is the highest paid propaganda parrot of the Republican Dodo Party of Extinction. He is too greedy to take a paycut.

He is too fat to run for anything but an grave.

Then he can spend all eternity running... from the Devil!

Worse is WaPooPravda's idiotic, cynically implied suggestion that popularity, or rather in this case, name recognition, is the only qualifying attribute one needs to become president.

Posted by: kevinschmidt | March 7, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Workers rights, health care, education-- THE POOR HAVE TAKEN OVER AMERICA!

Posted by: provo1 | March 7, 2009 2:00 AM | Report abuse

Dionne's point of view is worthy. However, it is a mistake to assign CNN a 'liberal" label. CNN is the moderate cable network. MSNBC is the liberal network. Of course we know that Fox is the right-wing extremist network.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | March 7, 2009 5:13 AM | Report abuse

"He (Steele) wasn’t elected primarily to build a better organization for the GOP. He was elected to signal that Republicans were willing to try new ideas, to reach out to new constituencies, to propose solutions. Never mind any of that. We now know the chairman has to take his orders from Rush."

As I recall, McCain wanted to pick Lieberman as VP (now that would have been a "big-tent" move) but instead chose Palin - so even McCain cowered to Rush. Are there ANY Republicans out there brave enough to stand up to Rush or are they all cowards?

Posted by: fjamidon | March 7, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

How stupid do you have to be to think the media is liberal ? A six year old who watched TV and listen to the radio would quickly realize that the idea of a liberal media is a mirage.

Posted by: timebanded | March 7, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Why doesn't he run for President? Because you, Mr. Dionne, want him to.

Posted by: Compared2What | March 7, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Rush the buff-alo is a free market self-promoting businessman. True conservatives have higher values than Rush has ever lived or spoken of. Three failed marriages. I guess you can call that, "family values gone wild".

Posted by: smithking1 | March 7, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

"So will someone please explain to me why so many on the right claim that CNN is a “liberal” network? Is CNN chasing the Fox News crowd?"

YES. I have thought this for quite a while. I often think I am living in a parallel universe: Get high ratings, don't copy those folks. Instead, copy a dying network. Is it all because of the bosses being money people? If so, wouldn't you want to copy those who get high ratings?

Posted by: shell5960w | March 7, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

First, I am also wondering why Rush Limbaugh got over an hour of interrupted time on CNN. Second, I have no problem with right wing ideas. I am a "Liberal" who pals around with a lot of very conservative people--my neighbor and some of my best friends are way out there--trust me. What I have a problem with is ignorance or at least the appeal to ignorance. Listening to Rush, the incredibly few times I could tolerate doing so, I found him allergic to facts. I found him attracted to spite and hate. I found his arguments harmful. That is not conservatism. Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel, John Warner, Senator Grassley, and on and on with a myriad of intelligent and honorable Americans are what I consider "conservative" if conservative is defined properly. Bull Connor and Jerry Falwell and Rush Limbaugh belong together in a "league of their own" but not in the Republican party. These people are not intelligent enough nor honorable enough to call themselves Republicans.

Posted by: joeparadis | March 9, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

One of the reasons the Republican Party is in such a mess is that it is a corporate, top-down group. The GOP typically finds a message or candidate and coalesces around them. What they are faced with now is, as others have pointed out, a vacuum at the top - making that corporate structure a liability.

The Democrats never have the same problem - being a party of coalitions - in their case there is always another position, another candidate on offer since they have a messier, albeit more flexible party structure.

The real dilemma for the country is that our system only works if there are two viable parties. When one party has all the power it tends to go overboard without the tension from the other party's power balance.

It's too bad the GOP doesn't have a Colin Powell or some other authority figure to lead them. Rush will be a disaster for them and ultimately you may see the Republicans sidelined for 2 or more election cycles.

Posted by: mirrorblue | March 9, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Why doesn't Rush run for President?

A better question: Why don't YOU? Since, apparently, you want to run things your way. You already have a soapbox of your own.

It's so amusing to see all you Liberals pontificating about how Republicans should do things. Be sure to keep the focus on talk show hosts instead of the current criminal in chief.

The economy is going to hell and all you can do is whine, whine, whine about a party that isn't even in power, and some big-mouthed private citizen. Anything to keep the attention away from what really is happening at the White House.

Posted by: dana6 | March 9, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Why does Mr. Dionne feel so compelled to carry the water for such scum bags as Carville, Begala and Emanuel?

Posted by: mesmith40 | March 9, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

While the economy spirals downward, Mr. Dionne and other loyal Obots focus on a loudmouthed ignoramus.

This diverts attention from the administration's lack of a viable plan to deal with our real problems.

Great politics, lousy policy.

Posted by: ljsack | March 10, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

It is a very simple concept. Put your views to the true test of election. If "Rush is Right" and if, as he so often asserts, the majority of Americans are with him, put those ideas he has to the only true test and have him run for office, any office. Maybe he could start with Governor of Florida. After all, Al Franken put his money where is big mouth is and may someday be allowed to finally take office.

Posted by: mischanova | March 10, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Great question.

I have also wondered why Jon Stewart or Jay Matthews have not yet chosen run for president as well.

Go figure.

Posted by: pgould1 | March 10, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

CNN gave in to the amazing spectacle of Rush being chosen as the KEYNOTE speaker of the big Conservative convention. The sight of a roomful of conservatives cheering to the likes of Limbaugh was fantastic and comical! CNN was as astonished as its audience.

It was an incredible sideshow - hardly a sober, thoughtful, serious scene. Never mind the dire straits of the USA, they seemed to say. Never mind the crisis -- brought to us by GOP rule! What is going on in the Republican Party? Disintegration. Disgrace. Disunity.

They should run Rush for Prez. They've tried every other odd choice. Intelligence is no requirement, clearly, nor is integrity. Hypocrisy is rampant, considering the uproar they caused over an obscure associate of Obama's. It's as if the Democrats chose Ayers or Jeremiah Wright as the spokesman at their convention.

Weird, weird, weird.

Posted by: cturtle1 | March 10, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

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