Mort Kondracke, a man of the moderate center left writes, “How can the Republican Party rebound? The first step would be to quit letting Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham set its agenda.”
John Hawkins notes correctly that in terms of the GOP’s candidate in 2008, talk radio didn’t set the agenda:
Then there’s the perfectly ridiculous idea that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham set the agenda of the Republican Party. Really? That’s funny, because I remember a guy named Bush in the White House — who bent over backwards to cooperate with the Democrats, expanded the size of government, ran large deficits, and tried to push the Dubai Port Deal, Harriet Miers, and amnesty for illegal immigrants — over the loud protests of people like Limbaugh, Hannity, and Ingraham.
I also seem to remember a fellow by the name of McCain — you know, older gentleman, served in Vietnam, white hair — who won the nomination even though people like Limbaugh, Hannity, and Ingraham said it would be a disaster. You know who did like him though? The Mort Kondracke and David Brooks wing of the Republican Party that was thrilled that they finally had their champion running as the party’s nominee. Then, after eight years of big government Republicanism and John McCain, these same people want to blame the very people who pointed out the political pitfalls the GOP was stepping into almost every step of the way?
Please. Give. Us. A. Break.
McCain and Rush have had a pretty vocal Louella Parsons/Hedda Hopper feud for ages (or a Tom Wolfe/Norman Mailer-style feud for something more macho sounding); when McCain was nominated, my first thought was, “This should be interesting to watch: how does a Republican win the White House when he hates Rush Limbaugh–and the feeling’s mutual?”
The answer of course was that he couldn’t. And as John writes, it’s quite a stretch that believe that Rush is what’s wrong with the GOP when he had zero impact on whom the party chose for its nominee.