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ETpro's avatar

Who is the real leader of today's Republican Party?

Asked by ETpro (34469points) August 27th, 2010

Who gets to establish the daily talking points and set the policy agenda the GOP will pursue these days? Some say Rush Limbaugh is the Party Boss, and to a lesser degree Glenn Beck fills in the agenda. Is Rush the GOP Boss?

What Rush says on his radio show does seem to become that day’s GOP talking points. And there certainly doesn’t seem to be anyone in the party leadership willing to tell Rush to pipe down or change his tune. All who have attempted to do so have, within a day, been forced to bow before Rush and beg forgiveness, or as he loves to say, “Bend over and grab their ankles.” RNC Chairman Michael Steele had to do so for the high crime of telling the truth. Likewise the #2 Republican in the House, Eric Cantor. House Minority Leader John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell either agree with everything Rush says or don’t dare challenge him.

When Party faithful and senior statesman Colin Powell refused to acknowledge Rush’s absolute leadership, Rush raged, “What Colin Powell needs to do is close the loop and become a Democrat instead of claiming to be a Republican interested in changing the Republican Party. He’s not. He’s a full-fledged Democrat.”

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26 Answers

Austinlad's avatar

Not one person, in my opinion. Just a lot of wannabes.

filmfann's avatar

The Republicans are in the middle of a power struggle. There is no clear leader.
Sarah Palin is trying to show her leadership skills, but will never be accepted by the Republican majority.
Newt Gingrich is trying to sleeze his way back to power. He has a strong voice, but also too much scandal-potential.
Rush is an idiot-clown. He will never be the true leader.
Neither will Beck, who, until the last few months, seemed to be about to collapse under the weight of his ignorance. I used to think he was an Alan Shore knockoff. With the chalkboard, ranting, and delivery, I really think he is trying to be the Republican Dr. Gene Scott

Qingu's avatar

Rush commands the allegiance of the “willfully ignorant angry white asshole” wing of the Republican party, which seems to be a plurality if not a majority.

Cruiser's avatar

Rush is the furthest thing from a leader of anything other than infotainment radio. His job is ratings and nothing more. He is like a loud mouthed MIL and no one wants to own up to being related to. He is never on the A list of any Republican functions. The more bombastic he is the more people will pay attention….he is like a bad car accident and every body slows down to take a look. Move along people.

SundayKittens's avatar

@Cruiser MMMMHMMMMMM!!!!!!

Qingu's avatar

Doesn’t Rush have like 20 million listeners? That is certainly a major base of the Republican party.

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu I listen to Bill Press and Norman Goldman everyday and does that automatically make me a Democrat?? I’d rather listen to them than Rush any day…much more entertaining.

ETpro's avatar

@filmfann & @Cruiser I agree Rush is a terrible choice of leader. But the facts are that he sets the party’s talking points. What airs on hos show in the morning hits the House and Senate floor that afternoon. And all who have dared to challenge his being Boss have been forced to grovel at his feet and beg forgiveness or have been marginalized and denied any further voice in setting the future course for the GOP. That sounds like a Boss to me.

@Qingu Yes, Rush reaches about 20 million very committed right-wingers. That’s the reason he has so much clout. Those voters are the ones who are sure to turn out in GOP primaries. Curry Rush’s favor, or die in a primary challenge seems to be the new GOP order.

Qingu's avatar

47% (or so) of Republicans believe Barack Obama is a Muslim.

It would be interesting to construct a Venn diagram of these idiots compared to Limbaugh listeners.

ipso's avatar

Early Rush Limbaugh was brilliant.

He “jumped the shark” many years ago though – right before he imploded like a rock star, from the millions and fame, as so many do.

Not unlike how a band can have two GREAT albums and then 10 pieces of crap comprising a kind of long tale of mojo.

Cruiser's avatar

@ipso I kinda agree…plus no fault of his own the material has become really redundant…there is only so many times you can sling mud and beat a dead horse before it loses relevance and my interest.

BoBo1946's avatar

Limbo, Fig-Newt, and Tricky Dick! Sarah think she is!

aprilsimnel's avatar

I think it’s Karl Rove. I’m dead serious. I wouldn’t put anything past that cunning sonuvabitch.

ragingloli's avatar

The Satan.

ETpro's avatar

@aprilsimnel He may well be a behind-the-scenes mover, but the party has moved far from where he took it when he was in the Bush Administration.

@ragingloli Ha!

filmfann's avatar

I like the bumper sticker: Republicans For Voldemort!

mammal's avatar

is Glen Beck really Satan’s mentally challenged younger brother…? Anyways, one thing i like about England is Rush Limbaugh and his ilk would be utterly destroyed here. People more or less, aren’t openly evil in our country, they tend to keep it to themselves as much as possible.. it is considered bad manners.

JLeslie's avatar

I was thinking about this very thing recently, and I thought to myself that the party that does not have the Executive Office generally doesn’t have a specific leader, does it? There are some loud voices out there, but I don’t think there is a real leader right now. I think the people who love Limbaugh for instance are going to follow him before they follow the next candidate who wins the primaries for president. The media is more influential, it’s scary.

To be honest I never think in terms of one leader for my party. It’s not like agree with everything the president says even though I am a democrat, I listen to several voices, a collective of voices you might say.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie Parties when out of power generally turn to the senior statesman or Party Chairman for their marching orders. But right now, there is no leader in the Republican Party willing to cross el Rushbo. Any who try have to publicly kneel before him and beg forgiveness, swearing they misspoke and never meant what they said, even when we all know every word of it was true.

David Frum took him to task quite properly, but nobody within the party paid any attention to the truth Frum spoke.

So if nobody that has any influence dares opposes him, and they all step to it and repeat his talking points, it sure sounds to me like he’s the de facto Boss of the GOP.

Jabe73's avatar

@ETpro asked Who gets to establish the daily talking points and set the policy agenda the GOP will pursue these days? Politicians are only doing what the people who continue to vote for them expect them to do. Politicians are no more powerful than the voters who put them in office to begin with. Rush has alot of influence because he appeals to a very large portion of America (whether you choose to believe this or not). Unfortunately, the GOP today does not allow for too much flexibilty with issues and agenda. This allows the mainstream of the GOP to attack other Republicans who jump ship on certain issues. This is why individuals such as Ron Paul are a tough sell within the Republican Party today. There are no individuals who “set the standards” for the policies of the GOP. If Rush Limbaugh started chanting pro-choice, pro-gay marriage and pro-gun control (among other issues) than do you think he would be accepted by the voters who agree with these policies to begin with? No! He (and anybody else) would be considered traitors to the cause and another radio guru would replace Rush to carry on the original agenda/propaganda. Radio/conservative personalities and politicians all play their part to appeal to that segment of voters.

@ETpro Here is your answer: The majority of Americans voters who live in rural/suburban areas that are very conservative.

mammal's avatar

Look it isn’t Rush Limbaugh is it? he is just employed to further the agenda as set out by Clear channel corporations, who by the looks of the Wikipedia article i glanced at, have their pudgy fingers in every pie, including direct involvement with the Political top brass.

Conservatism and Capitalism are hand in glove. As i said before, as soon as Homophobia, pro-war, anti-abortion, christian fundamentalism become bad for business, Rush Limbaugh gets the bullet. Money is the real leader of the Republican party; capital acquisition, corporate greed, business expansion, formulate GOP policy.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jabe73 so you are saying it is the people, the people of the far Christian right who are the leaders of the party?

ETpro's avatar

@Jabe73 Rush has an audience of 20 million according to his own claims. I will take him at his word, even though he is know to be a shameless self promoter and braggart who is obsessed with his own grandeur. But granting that 20 million tune in, that leaves 290 million Americans who do not. A recent CBS News poll found that 19% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Rush. 40% have an unfavorable opinion. And 41% (sorry, Rush) don’t really know who he is. So does that make him the right choice of party Boss? Because spin as you like, the loudest voice out there, the guy who writes the next day’s talking points, the guy who not even the bravest Republican dares to cross, is the Republican Party Boss.

Jabe73's avatar

@JLeslie The Christian right has more pull than you think. Maybe my answer should have been Pat Robertson.

@ETpro Yes I’m aware of those numbers you put up but lets face it. Being labeled with the “L” word is still not considered a great thing for a politician today. Even with those numbers you posted W still won 2 straight terms. Even Bill Clinton went out of his way to not be labeled under the big bad “L” category. Just like W, McCain won most of the votes in the rural areas of most states. McCain/Palin won overwhelmingly in the rural counties of my state (PA, including my area) even though he still lost the state overall. No one I know of ever openly admitted to supporting Obama where I live, not one guy. Not even in my local newspaper was there anything good to say about Obama (not my own opinions) but this is the normal attitude in the majority of the rural areas in most states which are very conservative. Anyone here on Fluther that lives in a rural area of most states can probally agree with what I am saying.

Yes, Rush has alot of pull with the GOP. This is only true because the large portion of rural America is very conservative (depite Rush’s ratings/numbers). In the end it is not the elite top 1% of the wealthiests Americans who put the GOP in office (though they have alot of power and influence) but the large amount of conservative Americans because in the end it is their votes that put them in office. Like I said, if any conservative politician/personality would stray too far from the mainstream agenda then someone else would appeal to these conservative voters and thus be replaced. A Product is only as good as the people who buy it. Same with politics, the mainstream agenda of neoconservatism is only as powerful as the people who allow this to happen by voting these candidates in office to begin with. Not just Rush but many other personalities also appeal to this segment of American society. I stick by my original answer, the majority of Americans voters who live in rural/suburban areas that are very conservative.

ETpro's avatar

@Jabe73 Stupid liberals to have let a bunch of fascist propagandists demonize a perfectly good word like liberal. FDR wouldn’t have just stood by and let that happen.

Like it or not, we are all Real Americans—country and city, North and South, East, West and in between. I’m sick of the constant puking in our ears to divide and conquer. It’s destroying the very nation that its practitioners are trying to grab control of using it.

But look, if you are determined to use divisiveness to carve out the rural majority, you will fail because as the last election showed, that leaves you about 10 million votes short.

I’ve never said the elite 1% vote the GOP in office. Never thought it. They just pay to put them in office and tell them what to do for them once they are there. They pay for conservative think tanks with teams of psychologists, PhDs and writers to come up with strategies to divide and conquer. They must figure out how to dupe enough of the 90% who whose money will be redistributed up to them into voting against their own economic interests. And it works again and again, no matter how often the economy crashes because of right-wing policies.

It’s worked beautifully for the elite 1%. They are back to where they were in 1928, owning over ⅓rd of all the wealth of the nation. The bottom 60% have actually lost ground in the last 30 years in terms of real, inflation adjusted wages. And while the economy grew massively, the next 30% have just held their own. The money has all flowed to the top. It has worked just as voodoo economics was intended to work.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jabe73 I was not questioning the validity of your answer or disagreeing, I was just clarifying that I understood what you meant. I agree it is the Christian right, and the republicans are fools to let it happen in my opinion, but it has been working for them for many years so I guess they are hanging on. As the population continues to change, not only in ethnicity, but also as people die off in the south and the younger generation become of voting age, the Christian right should shrink. Although, religion in American is surprisingly strong and seems to continue to flourish, so who knows.

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