THE APOLOGY WILL COME IN 3…2…1…. Real Clear Politics chatted with South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) yesterday, and asked the governor about the “view that perhaps Republicans are rooting for President Obama to fail.” Given the notoriety of Rush Limbaugh announcing his hope that Obama fails, the RCP question was almost certainly in reference to the radio host’s infamous remarks.

Lee Fang noted Sanford’s response:

“I don’t want [Obama] to fail. Anybody who wants him to fail is an idiot, because it means we’re all in trouble.”

As it happens, this is a rare point of agreement for me when it comes to Mark Sanford. Americans who root for American failure are idiots.

But the angle to keep an eye on here is what Sanford will do when Limbaugh hears about this.

Last month, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) offered subtle criticism of Limbaugh, dismissing the right-wing talk-show host for finding it “easy” to “throw bricks” from the outside. About a half-day later, Gingrey was groveling for forgiveness, apologizing to Limbaugh in writing and on the air. It was one of the more pathetic displays for a member of Congress in recent history, but it was also a reminder — there aren’t many lines Republicans fear crossing, but Limbaugh criticism is verboten.

So, will Sanford apologize this morning or this afternoon? Directly or indirectly? Will he try to finesse it — “Only some of those rooting against Americans are idiots; I didn’t mean Rush” — or will Sanford just make a complete reversal?

The leader of the Republican Party is waiting, and Sanford is planning to run for president. Let the groveling commence.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.