Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Holy crap -- via Applesauce, I see that even one of the saints of the right (albeit a minor saint) has had to grovel before Rush Limbaugh:

Last week in an interview with the Kansas City Star editorial board, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) risked alienating thousands of ditto-heads by giving his honest opinion of whether Rush Limbaugh was the "de facto leader of the GOP." "No, no, he's just an entertainer," Tiahrt said.

According to the Wichita Eagle (via Kansas Jackass), Tiahrt's office is now also rushing to apologize:

Asked about the episode and resulting Web buzz, Tiahrt spokesman Sam Sackett said Tiahrt was not speaking negatively about Limbaugh but was trying to defend him against the suggestion that Limbaugh could be blamed for the GOP's woes. "The congressman believes Rush is a great leader of the conservative movement in America -- not a party leader responsible for election losses," Sackett told The Eagle editorial board. "Nothing the congressman said diminished the role Rush has played and continues to play in the conservative movement."

Tiahrt? Todd Tiahrt has to kiss the ring?

Todd Tiahrt wrote the Tiahrt Amendment, fer crissakes!

Tiahrt is the author of the Tiahrt Amendment, which prohibits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) from releasing information from its firearms trace database to anyone other than a law enforcement agency or prosecutor in connection with a criminal investigation. Additionally, any data so released is inadmissible in a civil lawsuit. Some groups, including the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, believe that having further access to the BATFE database would help municipal police departments track down sellers of illegal guns and curb crime. These groups are trying to undo the Tiahrt Amendment.

Not even that exempts you from the Wrath of Rush? Not even authoring one of the sacred texts of the gun religion?


This makes me think about a Politico piece that appeared yesterday, in which Jeremy Mayer of George Mason University argued that Sarah Palin now is like Jesse Jackson a generation ago -- incapable of winning the presidency in a general election, but impossible to attack within her own party:

... Like Palin, Jesse Jackson was the best crowd rouser in his party.

... every white Democrat in the race knew that to attack Jackson head-on risked losing the black vote.

... For the same reason, if Palin chooses to run in 2012, no Republican will be able to go negative on her without losing the right-wing Christian populists who flocked to her rallies in 2008....

I think this greatly overstates Jackson's position in the 1980s -- Michael Dukakis could have won the '88 election easily (he was well ahead in the polls after a convention in which Jackson made multiple appearances), but he didn't know how to fight off the Willie Horton/ACLU back-alley mugging he got from the GOP, which had nothing to do with Jackson.

But I also think the notion that Palin is sacrosanct isn't quite right. What's sacrosanct is Limbaughism -- or whatever you'd call the Taliban conservatism that dominates the GOP. Palin is certainly beatable for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination -- Mark Sanford or Newt Gingrich or whoever wants to beat her will just have to out-Limbaugh her, or find a way to suggest that she's not quite Limbaugh-worthy. She's not exalted -- the Cause and the Way and the Truth are. A meaner, crazier Defender of the Truth can certainly beat her.

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