Free Advice for Rush 

I can barely contain myself when someone on birth control professes to be Catholic (Catholicism isn’t a pick and choose religion; you can look it up), so I must confess I was one of the “happy” people when the news broke of Rush Limbaugh’s drug habit.  Another hypocrite busted.

Ultimately, though, I am a libertarian at heart, something the Republican Party occasionally and laughingly still professes to be.  So I became sympathetic and sad, not only for the uncontrollable habit that had befallen Rush, but for the larger issue of our national addiction to avoiding facts, history, and reason while spending deficit-grade sums of money on a miserable failure we had already tried not 100 years ago.

After pondering all this for a while, the perfect solution for Rush’s troubles hit me.  I offer this advice without expectation of compensation.

Rush has some 20 million loyal listeners.  So he should start there.  Rush should tell them he has reconsidered his position on the War on Drugs.  (Even if Rush is stunningly unable to actually internalize this turnaround, it is still the thing to say.   Somehow, I think Rush can pull this off.)

He should say the usual stuff, about how drugs ruin lives and can ruin anyone’s life and he could add that the idea of going to jail for what he did doesn’t seem all that constructive a use of tax dollars, at least in his case.  He should concede the drugs’ possible relationship to his hearing loss, since it’s a known side-effect of at least one of the drugs he wolfed, and continue to explain that no matter the two McDetox’s he went through, he was still unable to shake the Beast.

But now Rush should say some things that would really get some news.

Rush should point out that until things got wildly out of hand, no one would have known he had a problem, had his supplier not violated dealer-client privilege and ratted him out.  Not even, apparently, his wife.  He could say that if he had been just using his heroin-substitute periodically in therapeutic or “recreational” (if you will) fashion, as tens of millions of Americans use dozens of other substances, it would not have caused anyone, including Rush and the Almighty Tax Payer, any harm whatsoever.  No one would have ever known had Rush not been in what I call the “10-20% Club,” which is the number of folks who become addicted to ANY drug that has addictive potential.   Making something no one else would even be aware of 80-90% of the time a multi-billion dollar federal money pit, while trampling the Constitution in the process, is as good a definition of “bad government” as anyone is likely to find outside the tax code.

Rush could add that if he had just been smart enough to choose marijuana instead of the opiate pain-killers he settled on he would still have his full hearing and wouldn’t have had to endure any of those pesky physical withdrawal symptoms. 

Rush should then point out that if alcohol (a well documented pain-killer) had been his drug of choice, there would’ve been no way on earth to hide it (or possibly even survive it) at the levels he was using.  His fans know from drunk, that’s for sure!

Rush should emphasize that he was in no other way a criminal; Rush did not need to steal or stick a gun in anyone’s face to feed his habit.  Heck, up until the story broke, it was the same ol’ Rush, he should say!  The drugs even had the pleasant and potentially healthy  (particularly in his case) side effect of weight loss.

Now that the broader media has stirred it up and kept it front and center, with the help of those 30-40 (ABC News) or 3-4 (Rush) $9900 cash withdrawals, just under the limit for federal, “suspicious activity reports” (said law courtesy of the War on Drugs, ironically, to catch people like, well, Rush), it’s the perfect time for him to drop the Big One.  Herein lies the true genius of my plan for Rush’s PR recovery:  Rush should become every bit the zealot he is on so many other issues only this time it’s for ENDING the War on Drugs.  (If he really wanted to go the extra mile and show us his new leaf, he could actually do some reading on the facts, but he’s shown this isn’t really necessary.) 

He should go on “Face the Nation” and “This Week” and explain for all to hear his epiphany, and he should vow to pressure his pals in High Places to start using our precious legislative, executive, and judicial money and jail space more wisely.  He should threaten to out all his well heeled pals who have privately told him they’ve used illegal drugs or legal drugs irresponsibly or that the tax-dollar waste on the Drug War they publicly support is obscene, if they don’t come out and admit it themselves.  Anybody care to wager (Bill Bennett?) on whether or not he knows someone like this?

He should then get all these power-brokers on his show, one at a time, and harass them as only Rush can to explain how asset forfeiture and jail time would have benefited these individuals and society at large.  What a ratings grabber!

Liberals would be stunned; conservatives frightened.  Both should suit Rush just fine.  People Rush never knew were friends would come out and wish Rush well.   The media firestorm alone would put Rush’s medical problem miles out of focus!  And Rush’s fans, being Rush’s fans, will still think he’s a brave hero, and, ironically, this time they would be right!  The entire dynamic would change for him overnight.

It’s a win-win for everyone.  No one has to worry about the War on Drugs ending soon; it has become too entrenched in the culture, and more importantly, far too entrenched in the budget to end within a decade or two, and most of the guys Rush outs would be long out of politics or business by then.  What’s not to like?

Rush, buddy, I’m with you.  Get better.  I have a nicotine Jones I just know is going to kill me, and I can’t shake it for anything.  Thank God the Feds aren’t trying to put me in jail for it.

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