Pubdate: Sun, 07 Dec 2003
Source: Greenwood Commonwealth (MS)
Copyright: 2003 Greenwood Commonwealth


Conservative Celebrity's Persecution Claim Doesn't Wash.

Rush Limbaugh can bluster all he wants about how he's being singled out for 
prosecution because he's a conservative celebrity. It won't wash.

The millionaire radio talk show host's denials and hair-splittings are 
starting to sound an awful lot like those of his arch-enemy, Bill Clinton.

The fact is, by Limbaugh's own admission, he was addicted to prescription 
painkillers. He apparently spent a lot of money buying the medicine in 
secret. Since drug abuse of any kind is a scourge on society, law 
enforcement has a legitimate interest in finding out whether these 
purchases were legal, and particularly who was doing the selling.

There is very little, if any, difference between a person who abuses 
illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine and one who abuses prescription 
drugs. The most glaring difference is that one group can afford the habit, 
while many in the other must commit crimes to pay for drugs. For Limbaugh 
and his attorney to allege that this is a politically motivated 
investigation undercuts Limbaugh's own history of criticizing illicit drug 
dealers and drug users.

Limbaugh makes it sound like the police set him up. His troubles, however, 
only came to light when a former maid, who allegedly supplied the 
medication, went to the police. Only after he got outed did Limbaugh seek 
help. Nobody was sniffing into his life one bit until there was evidence 
that he paid a lot of money for drugs.

A person who craves something the way a drug addict does will do almost 
anything, including bending or breaking the law, to get it. All of us know 
this to be true. So it is not unthinkable for prosecutors to wonder if 
Limbaugh, too, did it.

Limbaugh claims to be pro-law enforcement, anti-drug and anti-crime. Yet he 
got all that medication somewhere. Why is he accusing law enforcement of 
invading his privacy? He is the same guy who has criticized others for 
being soft on crime and said that drug users - not just the suppliers - 
ought to be put in jail. Yet when the spotlight shines in his direction, he 
runs for cover, just like all the people he's knocked over the years.

Search warrants obtained in the investigation are not pretty. Investigators 
allege that Limbaugh went to at least two different medical facilities in 
Palm Beach, Fla., to get treated for pain, but did not tell either place 
that he was getting help elsewhere for the same problem. It's called doctor 
shopping, and prescription drug addicts frequently do it in an attempt to 
feed their habit.

Many of Limbaugh's listeners will no doubt forgive his weaknesses and 
transgressions - the same way President Clinton's defenders said it was no 
big deal that he was cavorting with a girl half his age in the White House. 
It's got to be comforting that Limbaugh's so-called "Dittoheads" are 
standing by him. Such loyalty is difficult to earn.

He can also help his skeptics. He should stop whining about being singled 
out by the law because he's famous. He was big enough to admit his problem. 
He now should accept the legal system's medicine.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart