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March 4, 2009

GOP Searches For New Leader

After the Republican Party lost the Whitehouse and seats in Congress in November many are questioning who is the leader for the new Grand Old Party.

Michael Steele, the newly elected party chairman, recently dismissed influential conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh as merely an “entertainer” whose show was “incendiary” and “ugly.”

Not everyone agrees, as Limbaugh was asked to be the keynote speaker at last week’s Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting. In response to Steele’s comments, Limbaugh shot back on his show stating: “I’m not in charge of the Republican Party, and I don’t want to be. I would be embarrassed to say that I’m in charge of the Republican Party in the sad-sack state that it’s in.”

As the interparty fight continues, Democrats, including the president’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel are fanning the flames and apparent divisions within the opposition.

This video has a two minute report on the war of words, followed by two Republican political analysts assessing what is next for conservatives and the Republicans.


“This notion that I want the president to fail, folks, this shows you a sign of the problem we’ve got.” Rush Limbaugh, radio talk show host

“Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh, his whole thing is entertainment. Yes, it’s incendiary. Yes, it’s ugly.” Michael Steele, Republican Party chairman

“Well, I want to start by making a distinction that I think a lot of your viewers may not quite know, but the conservative movement as a whole is really quite distinct from the Republican Party in a way that I would say the progressive movement or liberal movement is not quite distinct from the Democratic Party.” Vin Weber, Former Republican Representative Minnestoa

“Well, look, there’s a very important set of projects that need to be done in the next two and four years. There isn’t one leader for either the conservative movement or the Republican Party, and there’s certainly no one person who’s the leader of both.” Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform

Warm Up Questions

1. Who is the current leader of the Republican Party?

2. Who is Rush Limbaugh? Why is he famous?

3. What is a conservative? What is the difference between the conservative movement and the Republican Party?

Discussion Questions

1. Do you think it is important to Democrats who leads the Republican Party? Why is it important Republicans?

2. What is the role of pundits and talk show hosts? Can you name other people who are influential in politics but have not been elected?

3. Vin Weber said that conservative movement is distinct from the Republican Party, what do you think he means by that? He says that is not true of the Democratic Party, do you think that is true?

Additional Resources

Read this trasncript

After Tough Year, Republicans Mull Next Steps

Shields and Brooks Consider the Coming Obama Administration, Future of GOP

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