Tell that to Rush’s fans after what they’ve seen liberals do since Rush’s addiction story broke. Before his admission, "comedian" Al Franken joyfully proclaimed that he was "looking forward to the perp walk ... I'll be switching channels to get it from every angle." Katie Couric thought Rush’s addiction was great fodder when she appeared on Jay Leno's show: "I feel actually good because I flew out here, and Rush Limbaugh sat next to me on the plane. He gave me some vitamins. Whaa! It feels good!" In the latest Democratic debate on CNN, candidate John Kerry cracked that to improve access to prescription drugs, "You can hire Rush Limbaugh's housekeeper, or you could elect me president of the United States."
The reaction wasn’t kinder after Rush began his rehabilitation regimen. CNN anchorman Aaron Brown conceded that he could not deny the "permanent smirk that seems to be attached to my face." (He then ceded his show to more bile from Franken.) Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter gave this compassionate assessment: "It's been a bad year for bully-boy conservatives. Time for them to taste their own bitter medicine." The Newsweek cover story by Evan Thomas called Rush "a childless, twice-divorced, thrice-married schlub whose idea of a good time is to lie on his couch and watch football endlessly."
But the king of the mud mountain was Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin, who spread the taunts across the entire Limbaugh audience: "His people are hopelessly, embarrassingly dumb. Or -- sudden revelation! -- they're all out there whacked out on Hillbilly Heroin just like Rush. Only they can understand his babble."
Where are the national nannies of the public discourse to tut-tut at all of these compassion-deprived leftists now?
Let no one now pretend that the problem with liberals is that they’re too tender and toothless, too compassionately cuddly and fuzzily forgiving. Trapped in arrogance and wishful thinking, supposedly astute analysts like Alter and Franken believe that if Rush undergoes a successful recovery, he will come out more enlightened and less vitriolic -- and his show will be finished, since conservatives only want heaping helpings of ignorant vitriol.
After all of these slurs and insults, Rush knows that the best way to respond is to put this whole mess behind him and to apply all the force of his radio personality to the power of his own will. It’s also what his audience knows and will expect. That’s tomorrow’s agenda. For now, 20 million supporters are just pulling for him to pull through.