One of the big stories around the net today is the revelation that Rush Limbaugh (who resigned from ESPN last night, supposedly for other reasons) is involved in a major drug case, which may include the fact that he purchased massive amounts of prescription pain drugs through the black market. His housekeeper may have been one of his suppliers, and supposedly she wore a wire during the final transactions with Rush. Reports also indicate that he is not the target of the investigation, but if the allegations are true, he could be liable to prison sentences of 25 years or more. Atrios has a lot on the subject today, TalkLeft has a good perspective, and Right Wing News has an interesting series of updates today that raise more questions than answers.
I’m not a Rush fan, but I’m also not going to jump on Rush here, partly because we don’t know all the facts, and partly because I believe that drug abuse is a medical problem, not a criminal one.
That said, there is another issue. Rush has often vocally condemned those with drug abuse problems. He has denied on his show that drug abuse is a disease. If, in fact, the stories are true, then he has been a hypocrite, and for that I do not excuse him. He is responsible. According to Drudge, President Bush has expressed his support of Rush — a president who is likely to have engaged in “youthful indiscretions” regarding drugs, and yet has presided over the most oppressive drug policy in U.S. history. Former President Clinton admitted that he smoked marijuana, yet his office started the persecution of medical marijuana in California, and he brought us General Barry McCaffrey as drug czar, who also focused on enforcement.
Time and time again, those with power and influence (on all ends of the political spectrum) end up with treatment or simply making apologies, while the rest of the country ends up with prison. I don’t believe that Bush’s past cocaine use or Clinton or Gore’s former pot use make them unfit to serve. I don’t believe that Rush’s Oxycontin use makes him unable to function as a radio host. But the people in positions of power should not be contributing to the war against the people.
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