Rush plays the sympathy card

Rush Limbaugh is talking about stem cells again -- and this time, he's the victim.

Published December 1, 2006 3:09PM (EST)

One of the past elections' iconic moments was, arguably, the spectacle of Rush Limbaugh mockingly imitating the Parkinson's disease-related tremors of actor Michael J. Fox.

Well, now Rush has changed his position. (Sort of.) Returning to the subject on his show, Rush has been discussing his deafness -- possibly caused, some have speculated, by his abuse of painkillers -- and quipping that he's now a supporter of embryonic stem cell research, and happy that Democrats support it as well.

Really, all this is a way for Limbaugh to attack embryonic stem cell research as "false hope," saying there's no evidence the science will produce any real cures. It's a convenient excuse, since research into the topic has been hamstrung by the Bush administration's restrictions on it.

What's apparent from Limbaugh's latest comments is that if there was a lesson in the backlash against him for his attack on Fox, he hasn't learned it. In fact, he's even returning to his old theme that Fox was somehow exaggerating or faking his symptoms: Limbaugh and his callers are now discussing the possibility of the bombastic host testifying before Congress without his cochlear implant, a clear swipe at Fox, who appeared in Congress without taking his medication in order to better demonstrate Parkinson's symptoms.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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