662 Rhetoric & Public Affairs
can engage their subject matter not only from a rhetorical perspective but
also from the perspective of theology, both disciplines will be strengthened
by the exchange.
James G. Gilmore, University of Maryland, College Park
Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment.
By Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Joseph N. Cappella. New York: Oxford
University Press, 2008; pp. xvi + 301. $24.95.
he election of Barack Obama as President of the United States has
become the most notable in a string of recent electoral victories for
the Democratic Party over the Republican Party. What began in 2006
continued into 2008 and has the chance of continuing into the future. This
trend has created a highly visible identity crisis in the Republican Party, which,
left without a clear leader, has been rife with infighting over its ideological
direction in the coming years. Numerous figures have emerged to claim a
leadership spot—Newt Gingrich, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, etc.—but one
person in particular has received significant attention as a potential leader
of the Republican Party: radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
Republicans and Limbaugh himself have attempted to deny this accusa-
tion, but the recent record lends it some credibility. Limbaugh has been the
most prominent and consistent voice in support of the Republican Party
since the election of Barack Obama, for example. Republican officials who
have criticized Limbaugh have immediately felt pressure to apologize to him
and retract their statements. Most succumb, leaving the impression that the
Republican Party takes its direction, at least in part, from Limbaugh. How is
it that a radio host can be perceived as the titular head of one of the nation’s
two major political parties? Part of the answer can be found in Kathleen Hall
Jamieson and Joseph N. Cappella’s new book Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh