The Washington Times - March 5, 2009, 11:13AM

As the Beltway press continues with its consumption and regurgitation of the this beef between Rush Limbaugh and Michael Steele, it incessantly keeps asking: so who is the leader of the Republican Party? (As if they are truly concerned with the well-being of the party). They ask only so they can answer as the self-appointed arbiters of anointing the GOP’s leader. Don’t believe me? Then take it from none other than MSNBC’s Chuck Todd:

“It’s a vacuum. We in the media pour into the vacuum. We’re looking for a leader in the Republican Party.”

And therein lies the problem. The MSM wants to appoint a leader of the Republican Party. It doesn’t matter what the people think, who they elect, or that they could care less about some so-called “national” leader of the GOP. It is the elite media who want to decide who is in control of Republicans. And none of the “elected” officials that the people have chosen (past or present) will do as their official leader. I’ve been shouting this glaring point in my head and out loud (to the television) over the past several days, but it wasn’t officially confirmed until I heard it from Todd’s mouth yesterday morning. And he was shameless in piling on who HE thought should be party leader.

“Steele’s not yet.. you’ve gotta earn it.”

“Mark Sanford wants to be.”

“Mitt Romney could do it… but he still has to prove himself.”

Are you kidding me? So even the Republicans who have been elected by a constituency don’t past muster for some in the MSM. According to Todd, these guys apparently aren’t even leaders in their own right, by virtue of being elected by their own voting public. No, only someone the MSM thinks it can mock and ridicule — like Rush — gets a thumbs up since he’s “entertaining” and highly regarded in conservative circles (with a following 20 million strong), but supposedly not accepted among “mainstream” Americans.

Surely it has dawned on the MSM that a party’s leader (generally speaking) is the person in charge of the big house. When President Bush was commander-in-chief, he was in charge of his party. With Democrats in control of the White House, there’s no question who its “leader” is (although Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have taken some liberties with that). And because Democrats also control Congress, the power in Washington generally lies with the party in power. When you’re in the minority, you have no real power, thus there is no real “national” leader. There are leadership positions and those vying to reclaim the party’s leadership position in Washington (that’s why we have campaigns and elections.) For all intents and purposes, Republican voters outside the Beltway care about the Republicans they’ve elected.. in their states, cities, towns and to represent them in Congress. Their “leaders” are those they elect and re-elect. The media, Democrats and the White House for that matter, need to get over their obsessive-compulsive disorder to control Republicans.

Finding an answer to the “Republican leadership” question is futile. One will emerge when the time comes. In the meantime, the media should stop asking and Republicans should quit answering.

—Tara Wall is deputy editor at The Washington Times