President Obama, in an interview with The New Republic:
"If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it."
Rush Limbaugh on immigration reform, and the bipartisan agreement in the senate:
"I don't know that there's any stopping this. It's up to me and Fox News, and I don't think Fox News is that invested in this. But I don't think there's any Republican opposition to this of any majority consequence.
"We’ll have to wait and see and find out. But this is one of those, just keep plugging away, plugging away, plugging away until you finally beat down the opposition.”
With the Republicans still finding their feet after sustaining big losses in the 2012 election, their power structure is relatively naked, and we can see who pulls the strings in the party: Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Limbaugh and Fox News are both enormously popular with conservatives, and, as Obama states, can effectively punish Republican politicians for misbehavior, such as working with Democrats.
A few short days after Obama's quote was published, Limbaugh corroborated. So, Rush Limbaugh does not like the immigration reform package put together by a bipartisan (read: Republicans working with Democrats) team. So, who is it up to to stop this? House Republicans? Far right senators like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz? Northern senators with relative impunity on immigration issues, like Wisconsin's Ron Johnson?
No, Limbaugh and Fox News.
That Limbaugh and Fox News have power over elected officials is not especially newsworthy, but that they can stop Congress' current biggest project is striking, and it provides further proof, in case you needed some, that Fox News isn't really in the news reporting business.
I'm honestly curious what conservatives think about this. Does this matter? Should Limbaugh have less power? I think so, but hit me with your thoughts in the comments and on twitter.