After Michael Steele referred to Rush Limbaugh's rhetoric as "incendiary"--sparking a storyline of "Steele vs. Rush" that spread throughout the blogosphere Monday--Limbaugh unloaded on the RNC chairman in an extended diatribe on his radio show today.
Incendiary? You bet. As I noted earlier, Steele actually defended the thinking behind Rush's desire for President Obama to "fail" during the interview in question--but from Limbaugh's corner, the fight is on.
The back-story: CNN's D.L. Hughley confronted Steele about Limbaugh's speech this weekend at CPAC, in which Limbaugh reiterated his "fail" sentiments and brought down the house at the conservative conference. Hughley also asserted that Limbaugh is the de facto leader of the GOP--a point Steele contested.
"How is that different from what was said about George Bush during his presidency?" Steele said, defending the "fail" sentiment. And then: "Let's put it in the context here. Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. His whole thing is entertainment...yes, it's incendiary, yes, it's ugly."
Which sparked chants and headlines of "fight! fight!" around the web this morning.
Rush's response: to throw down. Limbaugh asserted that Steele is not the leader of the Republican Party, the RNC is a failure, Steele wants Obama to fail, Steele is off to a "shaky start" as RNC chairman, and Steele had perhaps underestimated the intelligence of conservatives and of Limbaugh's listeners as a whole.