This morning I was talking with a friend about the latest misfortunes to befall the White House political team, their pal Rush Limbaugh, and their pawn Arnold Schwarzenegger. "When bad things happen to bad people," he cracked -- and I must admit I laughed. The grotesquely boorish Arnold, the dirty-trickster Karl, the demagogic and apparently drug-dependent Rush (a name that now sounds grimly appropriate) have all brought their new troubles on themselves. Ignore all the whining about how they're being picked on by the media, and remember that these conservatives, particularly Rush, have always mocked the "culture of victimization" that shifts blame for personal failings. Like Bill "Snake Eyes" Bennett, the moralizing, compassion-free Limbaugh is hoisted on his own petard.
Which leaves some questions for Rush to answer, again assuming that his former housekeeper's account is truthful. As a reader points out:
"In April 1999, a team of medical researchers published a study in which they associated significant and progressive hearing loss with the abuse of Vicodin, a powerful painkiller, which combines the drugs hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Could this be more evidence of Mr. Limbaugh's illegal use of narcotics? ... In addition, is it not conceivable that many of Mr. Limbaugh's more outrageous and offensive comments over the past fifteen years can be attributed to his recreational drug abuse? As a public figure and self-proclaimed purveyor of morality, Mr. Limbaugh should be held accountable for both his words and his actions." (Another reader wonders why, if Limbaugh actually bought tens of thousands of pills illegally, the police haven't executed a search warrant in his mansion to find the alleged stash.)
From what I've read, it seems that Limbaugh may have been overmedicating himself for pain. That's no excuse, as he would surely have said of any liberal caught doing likewise, but it's hard not to feel sorry for anyone whose suffering causes them to hustle narcotics. Perhaps he and his hard-hearted dittoheads might begin to understand addiction differently now.
This hectic life, Harvard Square
Signing books tonight at the Harvard Coop, 7 p.m.
[1:30 p.m. PDT, Oct. 3 2003]