Who's afraid of Rush Limbaugh? Not Ron Paul
Blame D.L. Hughley.
If you got fed up with the non-stop Rush Limbaugh coverage last week, point your finger at him.
He's the soon-to-be-exiting CNN host who made a simple statement last week that resulted in Limbaugh taking precedence over everything. Everything.
Man of Steele
Well, GOP Chairman Michael Steele played a part in it too. Perhaps his pride was injured when Hughley said Limbaugh was the de facto leader of the Republican party.
And you know the rest. Steele said he deserved that title and called Limbaugh an entertainer who could get incendiary and ugly.
BOOM. Everything has taken a back seat since then. Not even rumors of Jennifer Aniston being pregnant can get the proper coverage it deserves.
Watch David Shuster on MSNBC's 1600 Pennsylvania. His favorite topic this week? Limbaugh.
Every night he's asking Republicans why they won't denounce the talk show host for saying he wants President Obama to fail.
Perhaps it's because they don't want to fulfill Rahm Emanuel's prophecy that you'll end up apologizing to the radio host if you take him on. Look at Emanuel's track record. Miss Cleo better hope Rahm doesn't get an 800 number.
Texas Congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul was a guest of Shuster's last week and wouldn't take his bait. But, unlike most Republicans, he wasn't afraid to criticize Limbaugh. (video below)
Further, he said he would debate him.
"I was disappointed with Rush because he is a good conservative, yet he hardly said hardly boo against George Bush," Paul said. "He supported all that big spending. Did he complain about George Bush? Did he complain about all those wars that were going on that caused us so much trouble?
"That's the kind of issues that I want to talk about. And I will be quite willing to challenge Rush Limbaugh on those issues. But just to pick out a word or two and say, he is wrong, I don't think that solves any problems."
Paul's comments didn't satisfy Shuster. The MSNBC host asked him at least four times to say Rush was wrong. He wouldn't. But he came closer to that rail than most.
Paul said Republicans shouldn't be "terrified" of Limbaugh, but said the real problem is internal.
"We talk about personal liberties and balanced budgets. The Republican Party lost credibility because they didn't do any of that," he said.
"It violated the privacy of individuals, it flaunted the spending and ran up these huge deficits. Got us into wars that are not winnable. And those are the real issues."
It's been a full week since Hughley created the firestorm of discussion. Can he do it again tonight?
With Ron Paul scheduled to appear, Hughley's got a chance.
And if he does, CNN might have to think twice about its decision to cancel the show.