I'm pulling for Rush. When I saw Rush speak at the CPAC a couple of weeks ago, the whole scene triggered what I can only describe as a political epiphany for me. Think about it. There was Rush looking like Tony Soprano, black silk shirt opened at the chest; black silk sport coat; gold chains and all. As I watched Rush demagogue his way through an angry political manifesto tailored for that easily excitable crowd, I saw the possibility of a new political party emerging in America. More importantly, I saw a way for the GOP to save itself from that Rush image that is like a ball and chain around their neck.
I believe RNC chairman Michael Steele saw the same thing before he began growing feathers around his legs. Steele saw the potential for a clean break from the fringe that is driving the GOP to a place of political and social irrelevance. Steele should urge Rush to launch a breakaway party.
The analysis on Rush is easy. Historically, he has had zero impact on the outcome of elections. Every day during the 2008 presidential primaries, he attacked John McCain and predicted McCain would never win in the primaries. All the anti-McCain hate talk Rush could dish out had no effect on the outcome. Next, Rush tried to show that he had political muscle by calling Barack Obama a communist and a Kenyan illegal immigrant. Rush was certain that his vast political influence would end Obama's presidential hopes. But the truth is Limbaugh's political influence is not vast at all.
Obama won by a landslide and made the GOP look like a flailing regional political party.
Let's buy the spin and assume that 13 million people at some time during a week listen to Rush's rants. If every one of those listeners does exactly what Rush begs them to do, as they march off the cliff they will have zero impact on elections. In the last presidential election 125 million people voted, and the Democrats whom Rush vilifies daily pulled off sweeping victories all over America. Rush has an approval rating with the general public that is even more dismal than the one W. left behind when he left office. Gallup puts Raging Rush's favorables at around 28%. An entire generation of young voters tuned Rush out years ago. Instead, they tune into places like Jon Stewart's Daily Show or the Colbert Report to follow politics. Those are places where viewers are not laughing with Rush. They are laughing at Rush. Timing is everything, and now is the time for Steele to urge Rush to launch his very own new political party. The GOP deserves better than Limbaugh. There should never be a day when the name Limbaugh will be spoken in the same breath as Lincoln or Reagan.
History has shown us that the fringe of both major political parties have predictably emerged as new American political organizations. Unhappy extremists who were out of touch with mainstream gave birth to the Constitution Party, the American Fascists Party, and the Freedom Party. Mr. Limbaugh, I hear opportunity knocking, and the GOP desperately needs you to open that door.