Shocking poll: No one knows who leads the GOP

In other surprising news, the sun rose today

By Alex Koppelman

Published June 10, 2009 2:35PM (EDT)

For some reason I don't fully understand, everyone on the Internet is going wild over a new USA Today/Gallup poll, which shows that Americans don't really know who speaks for the GOP.

This is, to put it mildly, not exactly news: By this point, every political junkie in the country knows there's no clear leader in the Republican Party. And, really, why should we expect there to be one? The party's in the minority in both houses of Congress, so neither of its leaders there really wield all that much power, the Republican National Committee chair never truly runs the GOP. former President Bush remains unpopular and the base doesn't like its most recent presidential candidate. And besides, could anyone really have identified one clear leader in the Democratic Party when it was in a similar position?

The thing about the poll that is worth noting is that, of all the various answers respondents gave as to who they feel leads the GOP -- besides "no one" or "no opinion" -- Rush Limbaugh came out on top. 13 percent of those surveyed, including 18 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners and 10 percent of Republicans and those who lean that way, named him. Coming in at number two was former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Neither of those men are likely to lead Republicans out of the wilderness; indeed, the Democratic Party, which has been working hard to paint Limbaugh and Cheney as the heads of the GOP, must be breaking out the bubbly today.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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