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Wednesday, October 15, 2003


Chickenhawks In the War on Drugs and Other Observations
Rush is in rehab for his addiction to hillbilly heroin. A defender of the war on drugs and friend of former drug czar William Bennett, Limbaugh joins a long list of chicken hawks in the war on drugs. You’re probably familiar with ordinary chickenhawks; these are a pro-war hawks who talk a good game (and have no compunction about impugning the patriotism of those who disagree with their pro-war views) but back when they had a chance to prove their machismo, they stayed on the sidelines—often because of phony medical deferments or family influence (as was the case for George W. Bush whose pro-Vietnam War father allowed someone else to take W’s place in the jungles of Vietnam).

Drug war chickenhawks are just as contemptible. These are the staunch war on drugs hardasses who, when they or people close to them get in trouble with drugs, are the first ones to call for lenient treatment at the hands of law enforcement. Two of the more odious of the drug war chickenhawks are Representative Duke Cunningham and U.S. Attorney Leslie Ohta. Limbaugh isn’t in the same league as Cunningham and Ohta, but his callous attitude toward people with drug problems makes him deserving of our contempt.

Is Limbaugh finished? Not for a minute. Some people have been optimistic that Limbaugh’s poisonous disinformation campaign will come to an end because of this episode. No such luck. I’m afraid these people have vastly underestimated the collective gullibility and self-deception of the masses of suckers known as the Dittoheads (if you think I’m being harsh, check out the advertisers on talk radio—they know where to find the suckers). What I have found listening to the contradictory claims made by Limbaugh is that the Dittomonkeys want to be fooled and like to be fooled.

Does he deserve to be finished? Hell yes. The day Limbaugh admitted that he was hooked on painkillers, I briefly tuned into Larry Elder’s talk radio show; Elder emphasized that Limbaugh’s drug problem is irrelevant to the merits of Limbaugh’s political thought. I couldn’t agree with Elder any more: Limbaugh’s personal life doesn’t discredit his message—it’s Limbaugh’s bullshit that discredits his message. Limbaugh will make a comeback; however, it will be a marginalized Limbaugh that will be making a comeback. This is a good thing. Although Limbaugh’s drug abuse makes his phoniness obvious to millions, it is his dishonest and vicious message that is especially deserving of our censure. This episode helped to open the eyes of millions of people, some of whom were Limbaugh’s biggest fans. This disillusionment is a good thing.

On the issue of gloating. Expressing glee over another’s misfortune is unseemly. However, the right has gotten away with gloating over tragedies involving innocent people—click here for a noxious parody song that Limbaugh played on his show after Vince Foster’s death (scroll down to my 10/04 post). On the topic of Foster, Ted and Barbara Olson were big on exploiting Foster’s death to smear the Clintons and to mobilize the mouthbreather wing of the GOP; yet when I wrote about the late Mrs. Olson and admittedly added a tasteless comment about her whereabouts, I was pilloried for it (click here and here). I, unlike the drug warriors, have sympathy for people who become addicted to drugs and I prefer treatment to incarceration. However, Limbaugh has a big enough sympathy chorus of toady listeners and GOP bigwigs who have benefited from Limbaugh’s lies (such as George W. Bush); Limbaugh doesn’t need my sympathy. If you think this makes me a prick, then email Jonah Goldberg at GFilecorrections@aol.com. I heard he’s looking for examples of left-wing callousness toward Limbaugh.

Should Limbaugh be prosecuted? This is a legal question. However, there appears to be strong evidence that Limbaugh did what Wilma Cline accused him of doing (if the charges are true, then Limbaugh committed serious felonies). I’ll bet everything I own that Limbaugh’s attorney Roy Black doesn’t want his client to cooperate with the investigation. Limbaugh has a Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself; we have a First Amendment right to draw conclusions about any lack of cooperation.

Finally, the American right--which is supporting Limbaugh—is, in fact, Limbaugh’s own worse enemy. One of the pillars of recovery from addiction is the necessity to make amends for one’s transgressions(coming clean about the cause of one's addiction is another). The American right is enabling Limbaugh. George W. Bush is one of the worst culprits—calling the talk radio demagogue “a great American.” The truth is that Bush coined a phrase that aptly describes Limbaugh: “major league asshole.” I believe that it will only be after Limbaugh engages in some self-reflection about the damage his rhetoric has done to this country that he will be on the road to recovery. He needs to come clean about his transgressions against the truth, his transgressions against others, and his transgressions against human decency.


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