Rush Limbaugh flared up in the news this weekend. Despite the dead-news-time scheduling of the announcement of the plea bargain letting him off the doctor-shopping charge in Florida, the second-string weekend editors of the mass media managed find the story on the wires and to trot out file footage detailing the drug consumption crimes.
The reportorial tone was that of mentioning a done deal: a footnote to last year’s news.
Limbaugh’s light escape from the criminal justice system put me in the same conflicting muddle I felt when death penalty opponents were arguing for clemency for Tookie Williams.
I am in favor of diverting drug users like Limbaugh away from the jail and punishment. Get them get help.
I am generally against capital punishment. Keep inmates like Tookie in prison, isolated from society, for the rest of their life. Let them reflect.
Yet both of these men refused to own up to what they did that got them into trouble. It was difficult for me to feel that Tookie deserved special treatment when he refused to admit to his murders. Now it’s difficult for me to maintain a principled defense of diversion programs when the addict refuses to say he needs help.
Limbaugh’s lawyers are out proclaiming that Rush didn’t do it. They just settled the case because it was time to move on. Yeah. Right.
Unrepentant Rush can stay on the air, spewing intolerance, denying he is also a flawed human. He can do this while benefiting from a soft, lefty social program that allows drug scum to avoid the jail time they so richly deserve.
Rush’s avoidance of punishment really doesn’t bother me. It’s his avoidance of responsibility that disturbs.