It’s still the one line Republicans can’t cross

IT’S STILL THE ONE LINE REPUBLICANS CAN’T CROSS…. Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, the Republican candidate in the special election in New York’s 20th, made a seemingly innocuous comment about his priorities on Thursday.

“Rush Limbaugh is meaningless to me,” Tedisco said in an interview with the Oneonta (N.Y.) Daily Star editorial board. “The only constituency I’m worried about are [sic] the residents of the 20th Congressional District.”

The interview was published yesterday morning. How long did it take for the Tedisco campaign to walk back the comments? A few hours. Here’s the full statement from Tedisco’s spokesperson:

Jim’s comments were in response to a question about what voters are asking him about on the campaign trail. So far, the concerns he has been hearing from voters on the campaign trail have been local in nature, such as his support for lower property taxes, fiscal responsibility, and his opponents appalling support for the AIG bonus loophole. That was his point and any effort to characterize it otherwise is a distortion of the facts.

Did the point really need clarification? What Tedisco said was largely common sense. But his comments included a mild and indirect rebuke of a right-wing talk-show host, and Tedisco certainly couldn’t let that stand.

For those keeping score at home, this is reversal #4 for Republicans who’ve been critical of Limbaugh recently. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) groveled for Rush’s forgiveness in late January, and Gov. Mark Sanford’s (R-S.C.) office quickly backpedaled after the governor said, “Anyone who wants [President Obama] to fail is an idiot.” RNC Chairman Michael Steele, of course, humiliated himself a few weeks ago.

That Tedisco, Gingrey, Sanford, and Steele were all correct in their assessments is irrelevant. This isn’t about accuracy; it’s about making sure the blowhard and his followers are happy.