Compared to conservative commentators such as Michael “get AIDS and die” Savage and Ann “convert them to Christianity” Coulter, talk-show host Rush Limbaugh was something of a gentleman. With his uniquely bent sense of humor, he made fun of Chelsea Clinton as being “homely,” ridiculed the modest physical height Robert Reich, Clinton’s secretary of labor, and even took savage digs at homeless people. He did it all publicly and with unabashed glee. For every middle-age white man who ever suspected he had been cheated out of the good life by career women, uppity gays and black NFL quarterbacks, the guy was a veritable laugh a minute.
The bigger they come, the harder they fall. OxyContin, which Limbaugh admitted last week to popping over the course of years, is an opiate. That essentially makes him the upper-class version of a suburban heroin addict, give or take his $30 million Florida estate mansion. Conservative apologists have said that, since this was a drug Rush was introduced to after back surgery, he can’t be held to blame. If that’s true, let’s rid ourselves of the term “self-medicate” when we talk about the depressed and the legions of inner-city down and out who ingest drugs to escape life’s dreary realities or an abusive family. Besides, Rush himself said he takes “full responsibility” for his addiction. That’s a haughty admission for someone who let his maid do some of the scoring.
Writer Isaac Bashevis Singer coined this eerie truth: “People who don’t show pity to others, crave it for themselves.” Rush no doubt wants our compassion. He’s struggling. But after all the people he’s gone after and pilloried, that’s just not an option. He knows it, too. “I am no victim and do not portray myself as such,” he said in his radio statement. If he makes it out of rehab, he’ll no doubt be back on the air taking every other addict to task for not having the courage of conviction to kick the habit as he did. But what prescription drug addict has a $285 million radio contract allowing access to the best in treatment? We just lock poorer addicts in the slammer. Do we not?
But never mind tendencies toward Schadenfreude. We could always put politics aside and wish Rush the best, regardless of the fact that he’s always behaved like a complete Neanderthal toward everyone else. But that sort of behavior is all too typical of “liberals,” isn’t it? Anybody got a copy of gamblin’ man Bill Bennett’s The Book of Virtues?
& ull; This just in: President Bush said this week that Saddam Hussein is behind recent attacks on U.S. troops in and around Tikrit. This is the kind of military intelligence our tax dollars buy? We were always told that Saddam was a clear and present danger to U.S. security. Who knew the guy was going to kill all these U.S. troops once we invaded Iraq?
& ull; Bomb’s Away: Fresh off from stopping just short of calling all Muslims the spawn of Satan, that wacky Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson said during a recent 700 Club episode that planting a nuclear device underneath the U.S. State Department wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Robertson was interviewing reporter Joel Mowbray, who wrote a book critical of the way the department handles the nation’s affairs in the Middle East. Just imagine the reaction had Robertson been wearing a turban.