Democrats like Rahm Emanuel keep trying to say that Rush Limbaugh now serves as the de facto head of the Republican party, which completely ignores the true leaders like what's his name, the tanned gangster in the pinstriped suit.
But it's true that Limbaugh's radio show boasts a national reach unrivaled by mere politicians with their puny constituent mailing lists and occasional chances to give a sound bite on cable news shows. So let's just say for the sake of argument that Limbaugh does indeed operate as both intellectual and spiritual guide for a whole generation of wandering angry Republicans.
What, then, is House Minority Whip Eric Cantor doing on a prominent Sunday morning talk show taking issue with party leadership?
Some background: Limbaugh said earlier this week that he wanted Barack Obama's stimulus plan to fail. The logic goes like this: if you see the stimulus bill as nothing but terrible rampant spending and socialism and you don't like rampant spending or socialism, you'll want those strategies to fail. The only problem is that if those strategies fail, a lot of people -- including some Limbaugh listeners, probably -- will be even more financially desperate and demoralized than they are today.
And that is sort of a weird thing, huh? Wanting millions of people to go homeless and unemployed and hungry because, uh, Barack Obama wanted the opposite doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense. But, whatever, this is Rush Limbaugh we're talking about. He's a very clever man who intentionally says clownish things to make millions of dollars every year, and if he did not say something occasionally inflammatory it would be like a day without sunshine.
The media have finally caught onto this habit of Limbaugh's, and have made a fun game out of asking random Republicans if they agree with the latest outrageous thing Rush Limbaugh uttered. If the Republican in question does not, they are quietly "disappeared" and replaced with a lifelike, animatronic figurine that apologizes for their temporary apostasy (for details, see Gingrey, Phil).
Thus it's only a matter of time before the real Rep. Eric Cantor vanishes and the party wheels out a custom-made Cantorbot programmed to disavow this little tidbit from Sunday's This Week:
STEPHANOPOULOS: So the Rush Limbaugh approach of hoping the president fails is not the Eric Cantor, House Republican approach?
CANTOR: George, absolutely not. And I don’t -- I don’t think anyone wants anything to fail right now. We have such challenges.
Too bad for Cantor -- he was another one of those rumored "rising stars" of the party. The robot will probably do just as well, though, as long as it just votes against every piece of legislation it sees for the next two years.