Jan 13, 2004 12:35 am


Two recent events have brought Rush Limbaugh into my thoughts. The first was yesterday’s NFL playoff win by the Philadelphia Eagles against the Green Bay Packers. Near the beginning of the season Limbaugh lost his job as a football commentator for ESPN because he expressed the opinion that Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb received favorable treatment from the press because the media wanted a black quarterback to succeed. Many interpreted Limbaugh’s remarks as racist and ESPN quickly had him out of the booth.

I never understood just exactly how these comments directed exclusively at the mostly white media qualified as racist. Nevertheless, I felt that Limbaugh should go because he clearly knows so little about football. You might have been able to make the above case twenty years ago but a black person playing quarterback these days is pretty routine. Also. I am from Syracuse where McNabb played his college ball and I watched him closely for four years. Anyone who cannot see what a special athlete McNabb is has no business being a football commentator. Of all current NFL quarterbacks he has the highest winning percentage. Yesterday’s game provided ample proof that the media can’t possibly treat McNabb too favorably. As a long time Syracuse and Donovan McNabb fan I say in your face Rush Limbaugh.

The second event, which brought Limbaugh to mind, was the results of an online poll conducted by Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). The vote on whether or not Limbaugh should see jail time for his illegal drug use came out with 66% of the over 9500 participants saying yes. Most of those who voted in this poll would consider themselves, as I do, part of for want of a better term the drug reform community. As a member of this community I find the results of this very distressing and in fact shameful.

If say Barney Frank found himself in a similar situation as Limbaugh and the DPA conducted a poll with the same question no more than 2 or 3% (if that many) would say that Frank should be jailed. Therefore, some 6000 people have said that Limbaugh should be punished just because he holds a particular political point of view. The principles of self-ownership and the right to alter one’s consciousness as one sees fit are completely thrown out merely because of whom Limbaugh is.

If the people in the drug reform movement want the Bush and future administrations to show compassion for those who run into difficulties with drugs should they not be setting a good example themselves?

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Jonathan Dresner - 1/13/2004

Perhaps the poll question should have been more carefully worded to allow for two possible 'yes' answers: Yes, Limbaugh should be punished because he's a loud hypocrite; or, Yes, Limbaugh should be punished because that's the law of the land and our mission isn't to be nice selectively but to change the law and the attitudes behind it.

Keith Halderman - 1/13/2004

I do not believe that the drug reform community would view a revelation that Barney Frank, or anyone else who has been supportive of reform, used drugs as a scandal. It would be looked at as another case of unjustified government persecution. This belief comes from years of attending conferences, protests, and various other functions.

As to your second point, it may have some validity but it also a ends justifies the means argument.

Jonathan Dresner - 1/13/2004

You misunderstood the question: how do you know that a Barney Frank drug scandal would be treated differently by the drug reform community? I honestly don't know where your certainty on this highly speculative matter comes from.

And there might be some value in separating out goals and methods: having Rush Limbaugh serve jail time for drug use might actually change (at least shake) some hard-core opinions on the other side. At the very least it would shut him up for a while, which would have to be good for all of us.

Keith Halderman - 1/13/2004

So you write "if you can't the guys name right" and you are calling me a boob. Rush Limbaugh is someone who I have never taken too seriously so I guess I did not respect him enough to get his name right. I have corrected it.

Stu Buchalter - 1/13/2004

It seems to me that if you can't the guys name right that you shouldn't make any comments about him. It's RUSH you boob not Russ

Keith Halderman - 1/12/2004

I am just sorry he had to do it to the Packers. One of the best times I ever had was at one of their games.

Keith Halderman - 1/12/2004

I am not talking about how Barney Frank would have been treated by the government, I am talking about how Barney Frank would have been treated by the drug law reformers.
Speaking as a drug reformer, it is shameful to hold Rush Limbaugh to his own standards because we are supposed to be better then them. Also to jail him for using a drug violates our principles.

Jonathan Dresner - 1/12/2004

The next to last paragraph is meaningless jabber. What possible basis do you have that Barney Frank would be treated less stringently than Rush Limbaugh?

And why is it shameful to hold a person like Limbaugh to his own standards, when the law clearly states that he's right?

Oscar Chamberlain - 1/12/2004

I agree entirely with this. I have no love for Rush, but I think jailing people with drug problems is idiotic. And I do believe in equal protection under the law, even for talk show hosts.

You're right about McNabb too. I'm writing this from Wisconsin and the entire state is shivering through a case of Packer Interruptus, largely as a result of McNabb's skill.