In an interview with the Kansas City Star editorial board earlier this week, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) rejected the notion that hate radio host Rush Limbaugh is the foremost Republican leader right now:
U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt of Kansas is a feisty and ardent conservative. But he said something Tuesday that might irritate Rush Limbaugh’s ditto-head followers.
Tiahrt was asked by a Kansas City Star Editorial Board member whether Limbaugh was now the de facto leader of the GOP.
“No, no, he’s just an entertainer,” Tiahrt said.
Tiahrt’s remarks could get him into hot water. Remember that Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) also had the temerity to criticize Limbaugh and other right-wing talkers who are able to “stand back and throw bricks” instead of offering “real leadership.” The next day, Gingrey issued a retraction in response to a “high volume of phone calls and correspondence” in response to his comments, saying that Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Newt Gingrich were “the voices of the conservative movement’s conscience.” He then went on Limbaugh’s show and pledged his allegiance:
GINGREY: Rush, thank you so much. I thank you for the opportunity, of course this is not exactly the way to I wanted to come on. … Mainly, I want to express to you and all your listeners my very sincere regret for those comments I made yesterday to Politico. … I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments. … I regret those stupid comments.
Of course, there was also RNC chairman Michael Steele, whose criticisms of Limbaugh even more closely mirrored Tiahrt’s. “Rush Limbaugh, his whole thing is entertainment. Yes, it’s incendiary. Yes, it’s ugly.” Steele also later backed down, insisting, “My intent was not to go after Rush — I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh.”