George Will describes the spectacle of watching Republicans fail to fully condemn Rush Limbaugh:
ABC’s George Will told me Sunday on “This Week” that GOP leaders have steered clear of harshly denouncing Limbaugh’s comments because “Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh.”“[House Speaker John] Boehner comes out and says Rush’s language was inappropriate. Using the salad fork for your entrée, that’s inappropriate. Not this stuff,” Will said. “And it was depressing because what it indicates is that the Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh. They want to bomb Iran, but they’re afraid of Rush Limbaugh.”
It's true that many members of the conservative base love Rush Limbaugh and don't like it when politicians attack him. Republicans politicians thus fear taking him on.
This reminds me of an observation which best explains the difference between the two parties: Democrats loathe their base, while Republicans fear theirs.