Following GOP Loss, Rush Limbaugh Downplays His Influence On Republican Party

Rush LimbaughRush Limbaugh complained that he was being attacked by Republicans following Mitt Romney's loss, claiming he has no influence over party decisions. But Limbaugh has a long history of touting his power and influence on conservatives and party officials.

On the November 19 edition of his syndicated radio show,  Limbaugh complained that he was being blamed for Romney losing to President Obama, claiming that attacks against him by conservative consultants are unfair because he doesn't have “authority or power” in the Republican Party:

LIMBAUGH: You guys need to start asking yourselves some questions. You pick the candidates and you're getting the candidates that you want. You're getting the issues that you want. I'm not in charge of any Republican Party platform. I'm not in charge of anybody's campaign.  I have nothing to say, officially or unofficially, about what the Republican Party does as it tries to win elections. Zilch, zero, nada. I am simply a powerful, influential member of the media commenting on such things.  But I can tell you that very little of what I thought should have happened in the campaign, very little of what I thought should have happened actually did. You wouldn't find my fingerprints on much of this at all because not much of it is stuff I would have done had I had the authority or power, which I didn't.

But Limbaugh hasn't always felt that he lacked influence in the GOP  -- just a few months ago, Limbaugh was asserting his influence by suggesting he had greater authority than most in the Republican establishment. During his August 21 show, Limbaugh urged Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) to  withdraw from the Missouri Senate race because of his “legitimate rape” remarks. The next day, Limbaugh guaranteed that if he had explicitly asked Akin to leave, his voice would have swayed the congressman: “Folks, if I had demanded Akin drop out, he'd be gone.”

That same day, Limbaugh stated that he hasn't spoken to Romney “in weeks,” implying that he had been in communication with him over the course of his campaign.

In 2010, Limbaugh hyped his political prowess by suggesting he hand-delivered a line to Romney and Republicans about Obama's failed policies causing them to await his “next leadership step” to see where he was going to take them. He even suggested that Romney had given him a direct shout-out during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that year. 

Later that year, Limbaugh crowned himself “the conservative leader,” declaring that “the center of the universe is not the RNC. It's right here.” These comments echoed several previous claims that he may be the leader of the Republican Party.

Limbaugh also has a history of high-profile relationships within the GOP. National Review reported that Ronald Reagan sent Limbaugh an “unsolicited note” in which he called Limbaugh “the number one voice of conservatism in our country... keep up the good work.” After the GOP takeover of Congress in 1994, the freshmen class of House Republicans made Limbaugh an honorary  member and gave him credit for their victory.