It does and it doesn't. I kinda feel like Republicans put themselves in a bind. Same thing with some Repubs going crazy over Breitbart's death.
I really feel like Rush and Breitbart and many Republican talkingheads are fairly expendable. I don't see them as particularly clever or convincing. Pre-2000, Rush was the one guy you could listen to who agreed with you and that was a large part of why people listened to him. Now there are 10,000 guys on Fox News who do the same thing. There's no real reason to stick with Rush when in fact there are others who can make better arguments for the same policies and make you feel like you're smarter.
There's a limit to how much you can tap into shared anger. And when it comes to that, I feel like Glenn Beck just has that magical ability to capture paranoia. Probably because he really is that paranoid himself. With Rush, it's a schtick, and it feels like a schtick. That's how come he can be a total hypocrite as far as his personal life and get away with it.
Rush is really more Howard Stern than political force. I think the average listener is probably a conservative who thinks he is funny because it's true. But they are still more focused on the funny part.
It's really the more inside GOP semi-power players who foolishly and voluntarily back him and let him call the shots that give him any political presence. And if they stopped everyone would be better off. Rush would still have his listeners and would simply be another shock jock who doesn't have to apologize as much. The GOP would be perceived as less clownish. And angry conservatives will still vote conservative. Even if they don't vote mainstream conservative, they're still voting conservative which is better than losing to liberals because the conservative vote gets stupidly split.
Never waste resources on people that are already going to vote for you. You need to acknowledge their contributions and value, but don't let them drive the ship.