Karl Rove's not-so-big-tent strategy

Was there no room for Rush Limbaugh?

Published October 25, 2006 12:59PM (EDT)

In the hopes of shoring up what's left of the base, the Bush administration erected a tent on the White House lawn Tuesday and invited 42 mostly right-wing radio talk-show hosts for chats with Karl Rove, Dan Bartlett and Michael Chertoff.

As Howard Kurtz notes in today's Washington Post, the ploy may not have changed a lot of minds -- at least not those of some of the radio hosts. After a pretty friendly on-air interview with Bartlett, Atlanta-based talker Neal Boortz told Kurtz that he'd like to see the Republicans "take it in the teeth in this election, lose the House and lick their wounds." Jan Mickelson, a radio man from Des Moines, Iowa, said that he doesn't "give a rip" whether Republicans hold Congress because conservatives "are not getting anything we want now" anyway.

Kurtz says Sean Hannity was the "biggest star" to make the scene, which would suggest that Rush Limbaugh wasn't there. It's not like Rushbo needs the tent; Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld come to him when they want to talk. But we also wonder if maybe Limbaugh didn't get an invitation. Even by the juvenile standards of presidential humor, it's not nice to make fun of people with Parkinson's disease.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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