Since returning last week from a wedding-related hiatus, Rush Limbaugh has spent much of his time attacking the Obama administration and Democrats for what he perceives as their unfairly harsh treatment of BP. Limbaugh has been particularly outraged over the $20 billion relief fund the administration negotiated with BP to help cover the costs of the catastrophic Gulf oil spill.
Limbaugh has labeled the relief fund a "slush fund" that is just like "blackmail," "extortion," and "redistribution." He's called it "an abject violation of the U.S. Constitution" that is "far more than thugocracy," adding that it's "straight out of the Communist Manifesto."
Limbaugh was also piqued at the Congressional hearing into the causes of the spill with BP CEO Tony Hayward. To Limbaugh, this was "show trial" that was just like "what happened in Stalinist Russia."
In Limbaugh's eyes, the true hero of the "show trials" was GOP Rep. Joe Barton, who apologized to BP for what Barton deemed - echoing Limbaugh from earlier in the week - the administration's "shakedown" of the company. Barton was subsequently forced to retract his apology after pressure from GOP leadership. Limbaugh, however, agreed with Barton's initial assessment of the "shakedown" and has praised his apology to BP as a "home run."
And while numerous conservative media figures have joined with Limbaugh to praise Barton and defend BP, TPM reported this morning that Limbaugh's praise for the oil company and defense of Barton has some Congressional Republicans feeling uncomfortable:
Last night, TPMDC asked three separate House Republicans how they'd respond to Limbaugh, who's aggressively taken Barton's side in the BP flap. They all dismissed the conservative talk-show host out of hand.
NRCC Chair Pete Sessions brushed aside Limbaugh's and King's comments. "Those talk show hosts have hours to dissect it. I don't," Sessions said. "I would have said things differently [than Barton]."
What about Steve King? "I think everybody's entitled to their opinion, just like Rush Limbaugh," Sessions said.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) was more aggressive.
"I don't listen to Rush. He still thinks we [members of Congress] don't pay into Social Security," Issa said. "I don't listen to talk radio. I don't have the time."
"The reality is that Mr. Limbaugh, whether you like him or not, has nothing to do with this oil well being plugged or not. Has nothing to do with the skimmers being allowed or not. Has nothing to do with the lack of action," said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Limbaugh's home state of Florida, whose district borders the Gulf. "...that's the issue, not what Rush Limbaugh has to say."
If Limbaugh's feeling lonely, though, he has a friend in Steve King.
Let's start the timer.