Let the word go forth from this time and place to Republicans everywhere: Rush Limbaugh, the ideological Mother Superior of contemporary conservatism, is not to be crossed. First, he earned the mewling supplication of Congressman Phil "Georgia Peach" Gingrey. That began when Gingrey criticized Rush’s inflammatory locutions as unhelpful, not having to "do what’s best for your people and your party." In response to a "high volume of calls and correspondence to his office," Congressman Gingrey phoned Mr. Limbaugh in "regret" to apologize for saying so.
Now, the microphone-toting unofficial head of the GOP has managed to get its official head to kiss the ring as well. This weekend, Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele derided Limbaugh as "incendiary" and "ugly." Late Monday, Chairman Steele withdrew criticisms of Rush he made over the weekend calling them "inarticulate." This follows closely on the heels of Limbaugh’s Monday broadcast, where he derided Steele as being "obsessed with seeing to it President Obama succeeds."
While the Republican party still has a leadership apparatus comprised of elected officials, it’s pretty clear just who is actually running the show. If Limbaugh manages to squeeze an apology out of Congressman Boehner, the debate is over – the GOP will be the party of the untouchable, unimpeachable Chairman Rush. And then things will really get nasty.