Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Who's the Boss?

Michael Steele may be the head of the Republican National Committee, but apparently he's outranked by bombastic radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh. In an interview on CNN in February, shortly after his election to the post, Steele sought to downplay Limbaugh's influence in the party, calling him an "entertainer" whose style was "incendiary" and "ugly." But in politics, important titles don't always carry the power to match, and soon Steele was eating his words. "I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh," he promptly told Politico. "I wasn't trying to slam him or anything." Steele was not the first prominent Republican to retreat after speaking ill of "El Rushbo," who commands an audience of an estimated 14 million listeners a week. Georgia Republican Representative Phil Gingrey apologized in January a day after suggesting that Limbaugh and other commentators simply "stand back and throw bricks." And in April, an aide to Kansas Congressman Todd Tiahrt scrambled to smooth feathers after the Representative also called Limbaugh "just an entertainer." Said Tiahrt's spokesman: "Nothing the Congressman said diminished the role Rush has played and continues to play in the conservative movement."