THE BIG QUESTION for March 3: Rush Limbaugh's GOP Influence

The Big Question is a feature where influential lawmakers, pundits and interest group leaders give their answers to a question that’s driving discussion in news circles around the country.

Some responses are gathered via e-mail, while others are gathered in person via tape recorder.

Today’s Big Question is:
Is Rush Limbaugh good or bad for Republicans?

See responses below from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), Lanny Davis, Celinda Lake, Dr. Herbert London, Tom Fitton, and Americans United for Change.

Read the previous Big Question here.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said:
I think he's good. He's a very articulate guy, he is one of our great conservative spokespersons. But the party's more than just conservatism. We cover the whole gamut, the whole tent. He's a very effective spokesperson; I think the world of him.

Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) said:
He's a great resource for all interested Americans, and he provides very timely and thoughtful analysis and commentary.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said:
Well, they seem to do whatever he tells them to, so they must feel he's doing well.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said:
I think that Rush inspires the Republican base at a time when there's a real shortage of morale out there. Like everybody, he says things that not all of us agree with. But I think that his point about the Republican Party staying true to its core values and principles is a message that is well-taken.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said:
He's another voice of the Republican Party and everybody's welcome to join in the debate.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said:
You know, he's both. I think that he certainly has a wide audience that is very influenced by what he says, so he is very influential individual, and I think at times he is so difficult to believe that he presents a credibility problem for the Republicans.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said:
I think his views are extreme, so his views aren't particularly helpful for America.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said:
I don't get into speculating about who's good and who's bad for the Republican Party. We're in tough times as a country and I think this budget points out a huge change in direction. You know, I certainly plan to do my small part to try to make sure that we don't move to a government-dominant system in this country. And all those people who pursue that same goal in a fair and meaningful way, then certainly I appreciate it.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said:
He's good for the Republican Party; he's good for America.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said:
Well, I think loose linps sink ships is what they used to say during that big war. I think his comments are illustrative of that.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said:
I think I'll leave that up to the Republican Party to decide.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said:
That's for others to decide, that's not for me to decide.

Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) said:
I don't listen much to Rush Limbaugh, and I think in the end he's probably going to be a detriment to the Republican party. I encourage him to keep talking.

Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) said:
I feel like you know that's for something for the Republicans to figure out. I listen to Rush Limbaugh because I think he's silly.

Celinda Lake, president, Lake Research Partners, said:
Good for the base. Bad for appealing to the broad electorate. Good for white men. Bad for women.

Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Clinton, said:
I am urging all Democrats to support Rush and help him continue to speak for the Republican Party.

Go Rush Go!!! Read the full response here.

Herbert London, President of the Hudson Institute, said:
Rush Limbaugh is one of many spokesmen for conservative politicians. But he is not an authorized spokesman for the Republican party. If his ideas can resuscitate a moribund party so much the better. Read the full response here.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said:
The Left always attacks effective voices opposing them.  Rush Limbaugh is an effective voice, so now we see him being attacked by government officials from President Obama on down.  The rise of liberal support for the so-called Fairness Doctrine and “diversity” in radio evidences liberals’ desire to silence an effectiave opposition against the leftist political agenda. Read the full response here.

Americans United for Change's Lauren Weiner said:




The power vacuum in the Republican Party has allowed Rush Limbaugh to emerge stronger than ever. Clearly for a party struggling to find a new message, propping up a messenger who wants the President to fail is problematic. Yet Republicans continue to kowtow to Limbaugh, willing to follow wherever he may lead. Read the full response here.