After boldly stating on CNN's D. L. Hughley show recently that conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was nothing more than "an entertainer" and that the talk show-hosts comments were "incendiary and ugly," GOP Chairman Michael Steele went on to counter-claim with a hint of cockiness and his chest slightly puffed that he, not Limbaugh, was the leader of the Republican party.
Limbaugh then fired back with a slap on the wrist as a reminder of who really wears the pants in the GOP family:
A day later, Steele did a 180 degree about-face, and with tail tucked between legs, apologized to Rush Limbaugh, stating via an interview with
Limbaugh is “a very valuable conservative voice for our party.”
Steele went on to say to Politico: “He brings a very important message to the American people to wake up and pay attention to what the administration is doing; number two, there are those out there who want to look at what he’s saying as incendiary and divisive and ugly. That’s what I was trying to say. It didn’t come out that way. … He does what he does best, which is provoke: He provokes thought, he provokes the left. And they’re clearly the ones who are most excited about him.”
Here's what I think really happened: Steele got caught-up in the moment. D.L. Hughley is a moderately known former King of Comedy and star of the ABC/UPN sitcom The Hughleys, who is currently the host of CNN's recently launched new program, D.L. Hughley Breaks the News. On this particular day, Hughley had on as a guest author/producer, American Muslim, and oh by the way, prolific leader of political and socially conscious rap rap group, Public Enemy. With two intelligent, urban, left-wing liberal African-Americans putting his feet to the fire and testing his metal as not only an African-American conservative Republican, but Chairman of the GOP, Steele wanted to "flex" and prove that he was nobody's puppet.
I can't say that I blame Steele for trying to impress, given the platform (CNN) and the audience (Hughley, Chuck D, CNN liberal audience), but as was bound to happen reality stepped-in and Steele was quickly reminded of his place in the GOP food chain. Limbaugh did little more than give Steele a slap on the wrist, but it was enough to serve as a reminder that "those that giveth can taketh away" and given the apparent vacuum that currently exists at the helm of the GOP by qualified leaders (ie: Eric Cantor, Jewish Republican Whip for the 111th Congress), due to the all too public blunders of the likes of Romney, MCain, Palin, and Jindal - Rush Limbaugh - for better or worse and at least for the time being, serves as the de facto voice of the GOP.