Republicans confront their Rush Limbaugh problem

Updated
Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh
Ron Edmonds/AP

Shaken by Mitt Romney’s decisive loss, Republicans are blaming everybody–even the usually sacrosanct Rush Limbaugh. Top strategists are speaking out against the conservative radio host, saying the party needs to steer clear of his far-right and factually inaccurate vision of America.

Mike Murphy, GOP strategist, said on this week’s Meet the Press that while it’s “very fashionable now to beat up Romney,” it’s important that “we’ve got to get a kind of a party view of America that’s not right out of Rush Limbaugh’s dream journal.” And former John McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt, at a panel at the University of Delaware last week, insisted that Limbaugh’s “white, 65-plus and rural” audience is not what the country looks like anymore and that the radio host was “driving a message of total ludicrous nonsense.”

A furious Limbaugh hit back at Murphy and Schmidt on his Monday show.

“Okay, so you people are all white, 65 and over, and you live in the sticks,” Limbaugh said. “And you are screwing up the Republican Party, because you are believing what I say. This is their explanation for having lost.”

He continued, “And so it’s quite natural to blame somebody else. 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.”

msnbc political analysts and radio talk show hosts and Michael Smerconish and Ron Reagan weighed in on Tuesday’s Hardball. The irony, Smerconish said, is that the same demographic problem faced by the Republicans is also faced by conservative talk radio hosts.

“Both are overly dependent on older white guys,” he said. “But they have different objectives because the Republican party exists for one purpose and that is to win elections…The talk radio industry is predicated on a very small but very loyal audience and like those consultants to whom Rush refers, he stays in a position of power regardless of who wins the election,” Smerconish added.

Reagan agreed, adding the GOP’s real problem wasn’t  Limbaugh or other conservative media outlets. It’s “much bigger than demographics, ethnicity and age,” Reagan said. “It’s ignorance.”

Republicans confront their Rush Limbaugh problem

Updated