Who’s afraid of the big, bad Rush? Not some conservative commentators.
Several, including MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and S.E. Cupp, are lashing out at the conservative shock jock, suggesting that he’s partially to blame for the GOP’s battered image.
“Since Rush Limbaugh went on the air and became a national figure, Republicans have lost five out of the last six presidential elections in the popular vote,” Scarborough pointed out on Morning Joe.
And in an op-ed for Politico, Scarborough charged that Limbaugh’s negative effect played a role in George H.W. Bush’s failed reelection bid. He wrote: “Two decades of losing should be evidence enough that simply talking to ourselves is not a winning strategy if we ever want to run the country again.” According to Scarborough, Limbaugh and other far-right pundits are “distorting political reality” and inadvertently helping Democratic candidates.
The Cycle’s S.E. Cupp echoed that criticism, arguing that some “undisciplined candidates” have been allowed to define the Republican message, keeping the party from broadening their constituency. “The impulse to defend anything and everything that a party heavyweight says—to the death—has the deleterious effect of making conservatives seem irrational and herd-like. No one is right all the time, and no one is above reproach. Limbaugh … knows this better than anyone” said Cupp.
Limbaugh has not commented on Cupp and Scarborough’s criticism. But it may not be long before he does.
When GOP strategists Mike Murphy and Steve Schmidt spoke out against Limbaugh, arguing the party needs to steer clear of his far-right and factually inaccurate vision of America, Limbaugh jumped right in. “It’s quite natural to blame somebody else,” he said on his show, after Mitt Romney’s loss in November. “Obama got away with it. Obama blamed Bush and he got away with it, people bought it. So now these guys want to blame me.”