Skip to comments.Byron York: Rush Limbaugh’s enemies are eager to pounce
Posted on 10/14/2003 5:59:09 PM PDT by Jean S
When the National Enquirer published its exposé of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaughs drug use, the part-time comedian and full-time conservative-basher Al Frank-en said that if the allegations led to Limbaughs arrest, Im looking forward to the perp walk.
Ill be switching channels to get it from every angle, Franken told the New York Daily News. My favorite part is when they push their heads to get them down into the car.
Now it turns out that the stories were true, that Limbaugh is indeed addicted to prescription drugs.
For the most part, liberal commentators have shown more self-control than Franken; as much as they dislike the conservative radio star, they dont want to be seen as kicking him when hes down.
But some have been unable to hide their happiness.
Phony Gucci-Shoed Populist Rush Pigboy Limbaugh Admits Hes a Junkie, read the headline of the popular left-wing website Buzzflash.com.
Part of the reason some on the left are delighted by Limbaughs troubles is that theyre still angry over his relentless criticism of Bill Clinton.
They believe Limbaughs problems have revealed him for the hypocrite hes always been.
They cant be convinced otherwise. But just to remind them of the record, these are some of the things that Limbaugh has not done:
He has not denied that he was addicted to prescription drugs.
He has not attacked the former maid who sold her story to the National Enquirer.
He has not claimed that prosecutors acted unethically or targeted him because of his politics.
He has not formed an organized-crime-style joint defense agreement with his associates.
He has not claimed novel and nonexistent legal privileges.
Whatever that says about Limbaugh, it certainly shows he has not taken the advice of anyone who served in the Clinton White House counsels office.
It is not clear what the legal consequences, if any, will be for Limbaugh. From what is publicly known, it appears unlikely he will go to jail; the criminal investigation in which he was entangled mostly focused on drug dealers, not users.
In addition, there are plenty of cases in which public figures who have engaged in extensive drug use did not go to jail.
Aaron Sorkin, the creator of televisions The West Wing, has long had a drug habit. Sorkins addiction, unlike Limbaughs, apparently began with recreational use.
But Sorkin has acknowledged his problem for years and in 1995 was treated at the Hazelden Institute in Minnesota.
In April 2001, Sorkin was arrested when authorities found crack cocaine in his luggage at the Burbank Airport. It was his first arrest for drugs.
In June of that year, he pleaded guilty to drug charges and was sentenced to treatment, not jail.
Even multiple offenses often do not result in time behind bars.
The actor Robert Downey Jr. messed up repeatedly was caught several times with crack, heroin, other drugs, and, occasionally, a concealed gun before being sent to jail. Once there, Downey won early release.
And then, out on parole, he was arrested again on drug charges and still didnt have to go to jail.
So in Limbaughs case, Al Franken might well be disappointed. But Limbaugh is going to have to deal with a lot of criticism.
A couple of years ago, the New York Posts John Podhoretz wrote of Sorkins preachy television show: I dont know about you, but I dont need any lessons on theology, destiny, public service, job creation, pay equity or conservative ideology from a crack addict.
Limbaugh can expect plenty of comments like that from the other side.
And then theres Franken, who made a good deal of money with his book Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot.
On the day Limbaugh announced his addiction, Franken appeared on CNN to discuss the news.
Franken argued that Limbaugh cannot possibly recover from his drug addiction and still do his radio show.
If hes going to go into recovery, hes got to work on a 12-step program, Franken said. Those programs are based on rigorous honesty. Then, I dont think hell have a show.
Why? asked host Aaron Brown.
I dont think he can do a show based on rigorous honesty, frankly, Franken replied. He wont have anything to do.
You dont think he can be, in his mind, honest, in his mind, and do the program that hes been doing?
No, said Franken. Hes a dishonest demagogue.
Thats rough stuff, but on the other hand, Franken called Limbaugh a dishonest demagogue before the drug business, too.
And besides, none of it will matter if Limbaugh can (1) beat his addiction, and (2) tell his listeners the truth about his problems.
If Limbaughs fans sense that he is leveling with them, theyll keep tuning in. But if they believe that he is being evasive or legalistic in other words, Clintonian theyll leave.
Most, no doubt, feel certain hell do the right thing.
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And the left considered him a hero and a man of great courage. He got standing ovations for his drug use!
Yep. Meantime, some on FR have stupidly implied Rush is guilty because he hired a lawyer.
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