At least they are going down in flames. Yesterday, despite overwhelming popular support for the economic stimulus package that Obama is pushing through Congress, not a single Republican congressman voted for it. So at the next election, what are they going to say when voters ask them what they did to help the economy? Is their answer going to be that they wanted more tax cuts for the wealthy?
Second, look who seems to be in charge of the Republican Party now. Despite Obama’s overwhelming popularity, Rush Limbaugh declared that he wants Obama to fail. That puts Limbaugh squarely in the same camp as Osama bin Laden, not to mention lingering racists who would cut off their own nose to spite his race.
But Limbaugh didn’t just attack Obama, he also made rude noises about the Republican leadership. So on Tuesday, Republican congressman Phil Gengrey offered a relatively mild rebuke:
I think that our leadership, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, are taking the right approach. I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party. You know you’re just on these talk shows and you’re living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing. But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn’t be or wouldn’t be good leaders, they’re not in that position of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell.
It took less than 24 hours for Gengrey to tuck his tail between his legs for daring to attack the holy one. Gengrey’s office released the following statement:
Because of the high volume of phone calls and correspondence received by my office since the Politico article ran, I wanted to take a moment to speak directly to grassroots conservatives. Let me assure you, I am one of you… As long as I am in the Congress, I will continue to fight for and defend our sacred values. I have actively opposed every bailout, every rebate check, every so called “stimulus.” And on so many of these things, I see eye-to-eye with Rush Limbaugh. Regardless of what yesterday’s headline may have read, I never told Rush to back off. I regret and apologize for the fact that my comments have offended and upset my fellow conservatives — that was not my intent. I am also sorry to see that my comments in defense of our Republican Leadership read much harsher than they actually were intended, but I recognize it is my responsibility to clarify my own comments.
Now more than ever, we need to articulate a clear conservative message that distinguishes our values and our approach from those of liberal Democrats who are seeking to move our nation in the wrong direction. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and other conservative giants are the voices of the conservative movement’s conscience. Everyday, millions and millions of Americans — myself included — turn on their radios and televisions to listen to what they have to say, and we are inspired by their words and by their determination.
And Gengrey even called Limbaugh’s radio show to abjectly apologize:
I want to express to you and all your listeners my very sincere regret for those comments I made yesterday … I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth … I regret those stupid comments.
From Electoral Vote.
UPDATE: See also conservative David Frum’s article on this whole mess.