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Plouffe on Rush: 'Fingernails on a Chalkboard'

David Plouffe, campaign manager for Barack Obama, speaks on day four of the Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field in Denver Colorado. (Keith Bedford/Bloomberg News)

The latest parry from national Democrats seeking to tie conservative talk radio host around the ankles of Republican elected officials came this morning in an opinion piece in the Post penned by David Plouffe, the man who managed Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

The op-ed, entitled "Minority Leader Limbaugh" covers ground familiar to anyone who has watched the Democratic campaign in opposition to Rush take shape over the last few days: Limbaugh is the de facto head of the Republican Party, the one person to whom all GOPers -- elected officials included -- pay obeisance.

Plouffe's broader point is that the Republican strategy of courting its own base (represented by Limbaugh) with its opposition to Obama's economic stimulus plan is a recipe for electoral disaster as it serves to further alienate moderates who are keen on seeing the two political parties work together.

Limbaugh's loud (and repeated) call that he hoped Obama's economic policies would fail is the equivalent of "fingernails on a chalkboard" to these moderates, writes Plouffe, adding: "Independent voters, those who find the ways of Washington particularly toxic, could be forgiven for wondering whether the Republican minority has any clue what is happening in our country."

Is Plouffe right? Are Republicans courting their base at the expense of reaching out to the vast middle? And, if they are, can they turn it around before it's too late?

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 4, 2009; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Republican Party , White House  
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In the absence of ideas or an adequate platform , the GOP has resorted to whinining ranting and raving about the ills of the Obama's administrations handling of the multiple emergencies of America's present situation. The GOphers have really based their Recovery plan on a spending freeze.President Hoover tried these exact policies and thus put the GREAT in DEPRESSION. In 2012 I am voting Dem or Whig !!!

Pretty ironic the Rep's was the party of Lincoln, " Who would have figured !"

Posted by: wave06 | March 7, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Rush Limbaugh: "Just Say No Democrats!"

Rush Limbaugh: "Please pass the illegal drugs!"

The GOP's Great White Hope and Prophet of Failure, the mighty Rush Limbaugh. Follow, lemmings, and charge forth over the clifs for the glory of the party!!!

Posted by: hiberniantears | March 6, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, Republicans swinging way, way right to position themselves as contrast to what they will (in step 2) attempt to convince voters is a power-mad, wild-spending bunch of hated Liberals in charge of the White House and Congress. They're obviously hoping there will not have been sufficient time for things to notably improve by the mid-term elections--and you can bet they will be doing their best to work like a finish-line chute on a drag racer during the interim . . . and that the campaigning will begin as early as possible around the latter part of next year.

In any case, they are over-stepping by encouraging Limbaugh in any way. They'd do better continuing to bet on Fox News, CNN"s Lou Dobbs and the like.

Posted by: TomCamfield | March 6, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

toritto and crookedtoe69 make too much good sense. Actually, lots of interesting comments here today....cynicalismo, jaxas, opp88, others.

And then there are the silly bits from His Zoukiness, who would apparently rather we DON'T discuss Rush Limbaugh. Ah, well. Were I him, I'd probably be embarassed, too.

Posted by: Observer44 | March 6, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I thought the Rush Limbaugh thing was a joke until I heard that Steele apologized. If the Republicans are elevating Limbaugh to the status of a politician just because he claims to be one, they are in serious trouble. We expect our politicians to be somewhat respectable, thoughtful, and not evil-minded hotheads. That sort of leaves Palin out, too. So far we have seen no evidence of leadership in the Republican party.

Posted by: WoofBlitzer | March 6, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Whatever hope I had that Michael Steele was going to get the GOP to actually again start making a positive contribution to the country was lost when he apologized for what he said about Rush.

Until they get rid of embarrassments like Limbaugh, it will be practically impossible for me to take the Republican Party seriously.

The GOP at one time stood for states rights, limited government, lower taxes, etc. things that need to be represented in our government.

Now, their idea of public service is to see how rich they can make themselves and their friends.

Posted by: biggerjake | March 6, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

WillSeattle: "Republican Socialist"; Is that like the National Socialist Workers Party?

Posted by: nwsjnky1 | March 6, 2009 3:40 AM | Report abuse

Many believe that Capitalism has reached its Acme,and that it is nothing more than a "rusty nail" economic philsophy. Its capitalist have seen the possibility that their golden goose may be headed for the stewpot. Give up that golden egg? They have been obsessed with this possibiliy since sic. the 1980's. Since then they had to attach this threat like a "junk-yard" dog who would destroy anyone deemed to be a threat to their existence.
Enter Limbaugh, who as a high school graduate who hacked around looking for a niche, was discovered (along with Hannity)
by the right-wing capitalists had him recruited to commence a war against the Democratic liberals.
You know it is well known that the CIA wrote the playbook on stratigies employed to overthrow regimes of any country where they employed their playbook.
I view Rush and Hannity as being like employees of "Radio Free Europe", who, with hugh resources behind their propaganda, was used to be divisive against the Iron Curtain countries in denouncing Communism. Demoralize them and have them accept to a democratic philosophy and way of governance.
Both Rush and Hannity have plied their trade well and developed their skills over the last twenty plus years being divisive against their foes and making it payoff handsomely.
After highschool where did Rush get his training to ply his trade other than the aforementioned? He has no real belief om the philosophy he espouses - he is only plying his trade (and Hannity) to create divisiveness among Democrats. He never formally studied Economics or even read the constitution.
Rush studies and executes his game plan with the tremendous resources of his offensive line and teleprompters, TV clue screens, and "Snerdlly". You mean to say that Rush has Ghost Writers?? He has the best money and conservative Think Tanks can supply.
Rush works for Radio Free Europe propagandists whose only real job is to be able to hold on to the right-wing "rusty nail" philosophy.
Once a country runs out of raw materials and its natural resources it has to become a democratic socialistic society. Until this may happen to America, the "junk-yard" dogs like Rush, will be running roughshod over the decency of the American people spewing their fear and divisiveness.

Posted by: AlLemon | March 5, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Plouffe - who I admit is a genius, of sorts - should know better than to attack's inane.

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 5, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Want to rebuild the GOP. Start here:

1. We will defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies.

2. We will be careful stewards of your money.

3. We will support a government only large enough to do what is necessary.

4. We will not tell you how to live your life.

5. All are welcome in our tent.

A strong two party system is a necessity. Get going GOP. You have a lot of work to do.


Posted by: toritto | March 5, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

More and more people, it seems have come to the conclusion that the wing nuts of both parties are just that. When you scream loud enough and long enough you become a background noise at the expense of your message. Could this signal the end of Rush's 15 minutes? Stay tuned.

Posted by: crookedtoe69 | March 5, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

skinschickindenver got it exactly right:

"Is the failure of our country's economy and position as a long time world leader worth the ego maniacal 'I was right' to these people? No wonder public opinion of Repubs is in the toilet. I've said it before and I'll say it again: NOT a time for partisan politics."

Not the time for party politics.

I'm a moderate, think both Regan and Clinton where great for the country and I cringe at the current republican party ... so sad because I think the country is at it's best when we have two real parties rather than one party and a second group (republicans) howling in the wilderness

Posted by: fjt123 | March 5, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I hold The Limbo and his followers in disdain for their know-nothingness, but there's a big difference between an extreme right-wing ideologue and a fascist. Calling The Limbo a fascist is overreaching. He isn't a fascist, he's just a guy who'd like to be back in a nineteenth century world (but one with radio, of course) where the rich paid no taxes, where they could exploit the working classes without interference from unions and where women and African-Americans had no votes and few rights. "Is that too much to ask?" he says as spouts his venomous rants

Posted by: cynicalismo | March 5, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Anti-government ideologues like Walter Winchell and Westbrook Pegler, Darlings of the Brain Damaged extreme Right of the past had fairly long shelf lives, but in the end they overreached and their followers dumped them.

I'm willing to bet that if we could get a glimpse of The Limbo's posterior we would see his fast-approaching expiration date stamped there. He's reaching out so far that he has almost at the tipping point and is close to falling off the shelf.

The Limbo and Sarah Palin have this in common: they both do a lot of heavy nodding to accentuate what they consider to be a very telling bit of oratory (usually something unoriginal or inane like The Limbo's misattribution of a Declaration of Independence phrase to the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America.) Neither The Limbo nor Palin is a dolt, but seen in person they sure look like dolts, the one licking his lips and bobbing up and down, the other nodding her head vigorously and beaming in self-congratulatory self-satisfaction.

Posted by: cynicalismo | March 5, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Graveyard humor from mascmen7 who says that Obama's 58% approval rating is not much different from W's outgoing approval rating of 37%. That's like saying there's not much difference between a one inch firecracker and a two ton bomb. They both make noise when they explode. But that's the kind of mathematically challenged thinking you get from people who are whistling as they walk through the graveyard of Republican prospects under the leadership of the Limbo.

Posted by: cynicalismo | March 5, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I used to think that fascism in America would come looking like young blond mormon types - carrying the bible and a flag, with that distant look in their eyes as they gaze at the mountains.

Instead it is the face of a fat, pasty old white crank.......


Posted by: toritto | March 5, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama's positives are crashing. He s down to 58% approval. Bush II ran out with 37% approval. Not much difference. Rush is only Rep dealing with Obama's communism that will destroy dollar. Rep in Congress are clueless as they support THE ONE who is bringing about their demise. Republicans in Congress WAKE UP DODOS!!!!!!

Posted by: mascmen7 | March 5, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The best case scenario would be a debate between Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore. We are challenging you Rush - challenge Moore. ...........

Posted by: glclark4750 | March 5, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

will the minority wake up before it's too late? That would be hard to pin-down, now, wouldn't it?

Chris, you need to get yerself on Jon Stewart's show, last night ( 4 March ) he played tapes showing ALL the wall-street stock "experts" were and are so far from having any knowledge whatsoever...even had a tape of the Brit guy and his Ponzi-scheme.

It's all so incredible, Russ Limbo is a mere malignant-pimple on the ass of the GOP.

Posted by: Hub2 | March 5, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

If nothing else, this entire media obsession with Limbaugh has brought to mainstream America just how far out he really is. Look. He is not just some "entertainer". Limbaugh has often referred to himself as "America's Anchorman", "America's Doctor of Democracy".

Well America has gotten a bit of a bellyful of just what this cranky old man really stands for: Economic freedom (translate: A license for corporate America, the bankers and Wall Street manipulators to rape and pillage America's middle class with impunity); limited government (translate: a deregulated wimp of a government that neglects basic services, allows America's infrastructure to decay and the social safety net to go unfunded); low taxes (translate: more tax cuts for the very people who engineered this financial collapse); individual liberty (the sort of liberty that weakens our gun laws to the extent that any terrorist or schizoid maniac can run over to Walmart (Limbaugh's favorite store) and pick up the latest M1000B assault cannon that shoots 1000rounds in a nanosecond).

You see, you have to translate all of that oversimplified, overgeneralized gibberish that Limbaugh and the right define as their hard-rock "principles".

Posted by: jaxas | March 5, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

thar he blows again!

Rush is in all his glory. I'm going to miss his fat, bloated face when he finally has his inevitable heart seizure.

Poor Rush can't go to the beach anymore.
People keep trying to roll him back into the water, or harpoon him.

Posted by: seemstome | March 5, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

As the Great One used to say: "HOW SWEET IT IS !"

Posted by: tobeimeanpeter | March 5, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

First the White House takes shots at Limbaugh, then the DNC runs anti-Limbaugh ads (even some in Spanish), then the press drills every GOP official about Limbaugh, then the left-leaning press takes the worst reactions and tries to create a false crisis out of it... wherever could such a strategy have sprung from?
Obama mentor Saul Alinsky’s handbook Rules for Radicals outlines the techniques used by this administration to try and break any link between Rush Limbaugh’s influence and the GOP- it’s basically a divide-and-conquer approach:
Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.
Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.
According to Alinsky, the main job of the organizer is to bait an opponent into reacting. “The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.” __________________________________________

Now that we know what the underhanded control-freak Obama is up to, conservatives, Limbaugh, and the GOP would be well-advised to ignore these malicious hypocrites, and don’t take the bait.
The narcissist Obama looks desperate and insecure going after Rush, so just let him go down with his ill-advised policies… shouldn’t take long now.

Posted by: ReaganiteRepublican | March 5, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse






No time to fix the banks. Busy, busy attacking rush. Where did anyone get the idea that libs could govern

Posted by: opp88 | March 4, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Quick libs. Find something trivial to suck up some air time. The utter ineptitude of the messiah and gang is showing.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 4, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: opp88 | March 4, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele now says the sparring between himself and conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh was a "sideshow distraction."

Steele told NBC's "Today" that there are disagreements among conservative leaders, but said:


"My job is to try to balance that. I wasn't that effective at it this week."

In an interview on CNN on Saturday, Steele called Limbaugh's talk show "incendiary" and "ugly." Steele apologized on Monday, calling Limbaugh a "national conservative leader."

Steele says, "There's a lot of popcorn going around for folks who are watching this and enjoying it."

But the party chairman says he's going to concentrate on moving the GOP forward.

WHAT A BUNCH OF CLOWNS...............

Posted by: opp88 | March 4, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Keep talking, Rush. I am a moderate liberal, and many of my friends are either independent or moderate conservatives. We all have much more in common than the moderate conservatives have with this type of talk. Even my stepfather, a staunch Republican, wishes the Obama Presidency nothing but success. Is the failure of our country's economy and position as a long time world leader worth the ego maniacal 'I was right' to these people? No wonder public opinion of Repubs is in the toilet. I've said it before and I'll say it again: NOT a time for partisan politics.

Posted by: skinschickindenver |
Obviously you either don't listen to Rush or you are disingenuous. This sleight of hand only distracts (this is probably it's purpose) and accomplishes nothing.Rush's statement was taken out of context, a standard political ploy.

Posted by: saw1 | March 4, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

"I think the D party is caught between a rock and a hard place here. Their base is very small, yet extremely leftwing and rigid. if the leadership wants to appeal to the moderates they need to win, they must repudiate Rahm’s negativity and hatred, and alienate the base. And then they have to grovel to him -- so they look like cringing drindlwimps."

Which is why they can't win elections and have no power in Washington....

See, if you're going to parody somebody, it needs to either be funny or make sense.


"Let's what other country does the government openly attack the media?..Yes, Venezuela. "

Because no Republican administration would EVER criticize the media....

Sad, really, just plain sad.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | March 4, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

leapin - it's called a drivlberry. It orbits your

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 4, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

I think the D party is caught between a rock and a hard place here. Their base is very small, yet extremely leftwing and rigid. if the leadership wants to appeal to the moderates they need to win, they must repudiate Rahm’s negativity and hatred, and alienate the base. And then they have to grovel to him -- so they look like cringing drindlwimps.

Posted by: leapin | March 4, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Let's what other country does the government openly attack the media?..Yes, Venezuela.

BHO you are in great company, another socialist first for our country.

I wanna be a Ceasar, I wanna be a socialist..but I wanna live in a big white house..with expensive beef and vodka martinis..I wanna be a man of the people...but I don't want my kids to go to school with the people...I wanna find a target...I need to find a target

Posted by: leapin | March 4, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse



The following item ran in this space on February 6th. The writer suggests that President Obama order an independent scientific investigation into whether EMF (electromagnetic field) radiation, i.e., low-powered or high-powered microwave radiation, could be responsible for premature graying of hair, premature aging and other physical symptoms such as headaches, and mood changes and skin changes... possibly posing a health risk to White House occupants.





It is a known scientific fact that radiation emanating from electromagnetic fields (or electromagnetic-emitting devices) can cause headaches, mood and behavioral changes, even adverse physical effects such as the induction of illness or injury.

Is it possible that such of the high-tech communications (or security protection) devices or weaponry in the vicinity of POTUS are causing physiological effects that could be affecting his sense of well-being -- or perhaps even endangering his health?

Given the advanced state of White House telecommunications and security technology, President Obama and his key staff should give this issue their serious and immediate attention.

Radiation-emitting devices and weaponry have been linked to adverse physical effects. Here is some source material:

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 4, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

No time to fix the banks. Busy, busy attacking rush. Where did anyone get the idea that libs could govern.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 4, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

One assertion that keeps being made is that Limbaugh is being "portrayed" as the intellectual core of the Republican Party, with people insisting that the Obama White House is at least half-responsible for "elevating" him to this position, and some like Kathleen Parker claiming that it's pretty much entirely the White House's doing.

What's being spun out of existence is the fact that this all started because Limbaugh IS pretty much the intellectual force behind the current Republican Party. In addition to whatever that means about Limbaugh's stature, no pun intended, it means that the GOP has become more like him, they've changed, not him. It's not very hard to see that the current GOP, shrunken to its remainder of hard core extreme right wing members, holds views on the whole more like Rush Limbaugh than say like David Gergen or even David Brooks.

Anyone who thinks that the Limbaugh-worshipping CPAC is just some fringe group should remember who the actual GOP nominee for Vice President was last year: Sarah Palin.

That's not fringe, that's the party picking a potential President. That's also a party gone to the extreme right.

The White House loves this and will make political hay from it, to be sure. However the idea that they've just invented it as political spin is nonsense.

Posted by: BillEPilgrim | March 4, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse


Do something -- tell your story to the American Civil Liberties Union (link below).

Then demand that ACLU renew its free speech fight by filing a class-action suit against unconstitutional, rogue government surveillance operations.

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 4, 2009 6:39 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 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Why does the Democratic/Obama Party pay any attentiont to the losing squad?

I find any back and forth with Rush to be ridiculous...what the hey?

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 4, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DDAWD | March 4, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone EVER apologize to Michael Moore?

It’s a rather twisted and bizarre relationship the GOP and Rush have. It’s probably not healthy, but it makes great entertainment.

I guess the first sign that the GOP is serious about coming in from the wilderness will be visible when policy makers are able to withstand criticism from an entertainer.

Posted by: DonJasper | March 4, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Rush. Steele. Blago. Burris. All distractions.




Scribes, correspondents and producers:

Still-secret Bush Justice Department memos are believed to have approved the covert use of classified, silent microwave radiation weapons on U.S. citizens -- "targeted" under the pretext of the "war on terror" as "undesirables" and "dissidents."

Victims, including the journalist who authored the articles linked below, say these painful, debilitating and illness-inducing microwave assaults constitute torture and "slow-kill" (a military descriptive) homicide -- what could be described as an American genocide.

Victims of these assaults say their family finances are decimated by an array of secret "programs of personal financial destruction" that involve the forced cooperation of private enterprise; surveillance and interception of mail and telecommunications; and the forging of billing, utility, banking and mortgage statements -- what they charge is a process of expropriation and theft by deception.

Sources say these covert programs were justified by the Bush Justice Department under legal theories that are said to include a suspected "nexus to terrorism" and, according to a source, the legal theory that weapons and/or medical experimentation on U.S. citizens is permissible if subjects are under federal investigation for suspected offenses.

These microwave weapons assaults have continued under the Obama administration, and are facilitated by an "extrajudicial punishment network" enabled by federal agencies; local police nationwide; and "community gang stalker" citizen vigilantes fronted by government-funded community policing and volunteer organizations.


Victims have asked the FBI/Justice Department to launch a civil rights investigation. They say officials have told them they see nothing to investigate, refuse to run down leads, and hint that victim accounts are delusional.

Victims maintain that marginalizing the persecuted as "unstable" or "mentally ill" is a tactic being used to cover up crimes against humanity, a highly organized and well-funded social genocide.



• Silent, covert microwave radiation weapons assaults on innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens;

• Terroristic vigilante community gang stalking, surreptitious home entry, police-tolerated vandalism;

• Secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction."

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 4, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats are in a great position right now. The Republicans are tearing themselves apart and their chief spokesman is the poster boy for all that's wrong with conservatism.

Not only that, but any Republican who dares speak out against Mush has to recant immediately or face excommunication.

It ought to make every last R hide in shame. I mean, this penny-ante radio tyrant has all of them running scared? That's just pathetic. And the more the Democrats tie him around the Republicans' collective neck, the worse 2010 looks...

Posted by: dbitt | March 4, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

It's a beautiful thing, one of two things will happen; either Rush will completely bring down his party, or his party will bring him down.

If this debate keeps up, he will have to start acting like a politician rather than a blowhard radio broadcaster, he will have to start editing himself with a self-imposed fairness doctrine.

Posted by: JRM2 | March 4, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I think the R party is caught between a rock and a hard place here. Their base is very small, yet extremely rightwing and rigid. if the leadership wants to appeal to the moderates they need to win, they must repudiate Rush's negativity and hatred, and alienate the base. And then they have to grovel to him -- so they look like cringing wimps.

Posted by: drindl | March 4, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

The discussion vis-a-vis Rush is an interesting bit of macro-political/media strategy. The cyber-Fix gives it the focus it deserves.

Let Rush battle for the hearts and minds of the Republicans. Obama has solidified the Dems. The real battle worth winning is for the independents and moderates. These voters will rule in 2010 off year elections and in the 2012 big enchilada.

On a "everyone is a critic note" PLEASE avoid playing the buffoon on Countdown. You come across as an Olbermann butt-boy. Far beneath your skill level.

Posted by: tobetv | March 4, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

@mark_in_austin -
Good guess! Yes I'm a former east coast resident, still love my 'skins tho. :)

Posted by: skinschickindenver | March 4, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Chris,

Not on point, but look-- PM Brown had to borrow a tie from Gibbs!

Posted by: mikeinmidland | March 4, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Is a "skinschickindenver" a football fan of the DC franchise dwelling in CO or something quite else?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

What is this? I don't want to work at wapo day? Just a rehash of yesterday.

Posted by: leapin | March 4, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"Are Republicans courting their base at the expense of reaching out to the vast middle? And, if they are, can they turn it around before it's too late?"

Do they have a choice? You've got to win your base before you can do anything else. The problem is the base has become so narrow and extreme that to appeal to the base means necessarily moving away from the center.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 4, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"Are Republicans courting their base at the expense of reaching out to the vast middle? And, if they are, can they turn it around before it's too late?"

The back and forth raises a legitimate question that some of us have been asking for quite some time - who is the leader of the Republican party? RNC chair Steele wants to claim the role, but found himself rendered impotent by Mr Limbaugh.

In a piece in today's Post, Kathleen Parker argues for Mitt Romney as head of the GOP. Like Steele, he might imagine himself in that role, but it certainly doesn't look like anyone in the party is listening to him at this point. Which brings us back to the original question - if not Steele or Romney, who?

To answer the questions posed by The Fix, the Repubs seem to be losing the PR war at the moment. While crying 'socialism' at the top of their lungs, they're being tarred with Limbaugh's stated desire for the President to fail. When they try to distance themselves from such unpatriotic comments - like Steele tried to do - they find themselves under attack as RINOs, liberal sympathizers and worse.

If the GOP wants to appeal to the moderates who are overwhelmingly supporting the President & the Dem agenda (at the moment), they'll need to find a voice of reason that can promote an alternative to the Dem proposals effectively. Thus far, they have none.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 4, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

But Comrade Rush IS the leader of the Socialist Republican party.

Look how they all bow down to him and apologize when they don't worship him as their god ....

Actions speak far louder than Republicant lies.

Posted by: WillSeattle | March 4, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I think in the short term, touting Limbaugh as the head of the Republican party works for the Dems - to moderate Republicans and independents, Rush is bombastic and irrelevant - and they won't want to be associated with him or his policies. But in the long term, this debate seems petty. It’s amusing and tempting, I’m sure, to weigh in, but I think the White House (including anyone closely connected with the Obama campaign) and Democratic elected officials would be smarter to stay out of it and let the kiddies (um...the pundits, news media, RNC) play.

Posted by: -pamela | March 4, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Keep talking, Rush. I am a moderate liberal, and many of my friends are either independent or moderate conservatives. We all have much more in common than the moderate conservatives have with this type of talk. Even my stepfather, a staunch Republican, wishes the Obama Presidency nothing but success. Is the failure of our country's economy and position as a long time world leader worth the ego maniacal 'I was right' to these people? No wonder public opinion of Repubs is in the toilet. I've said it before and I'll say it again: NOT a time for partisan politics.

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

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