Rush Limbaugh has been released to an unsuspecting public. Last night, police arrested the talk show host for drug fraud. Today he is a free man and won't face trial. A lot of people out there are thinking he got off because of his fame. He didn't - he got off because of progressive laws designed to divert non-violent drug offenders from the prison system into treatment. It's ironic, because this is exactly the sort of program people like Limbaugh would call 'coddling criminals'.
Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting provides a few relevant Limbaugh musings on crime and drugs.
These tough sentencing laws were instituted for a reason. The American people, including liberals, demanded them. Don't you remember the crack cocaine epidemic? Crack babies and out-of-control murder rates? Liberal judges giving the bad guys slaps on the wrist? Finally we got tough, and the crime rate has been falling ever since, so what's wrong?
When you strip it all away, Jerry Garcia destroyed his life on drugs. And yet he's being honored, like some godlike figure. Our priorities are out of whack, folks.
--Rush Limbaugh radio show (quoted in the L.A. Times, 8/20/95)
Actually, I think that second one's pretty funny. How did Jerry Garcia destroy his life with drugs? Would Rush argue that his life was destroyed by drugs? Of course not, in Rush's world, his life was being destroyed by democrats. From Rush Limbaugh Online (a site critical of Limbaugh):
...My friends, it is, and has been, obvious to me for the longest time that all these leaks were an attempt to try me in the court of public opinion. The Democrats in this country still cannot defeat me in the arena of political ideas, and so now they are trying to do so in the court of public opinion and the legal system. I guess it's payback time. And since I'm not running for office, can't get to me that way. They're going to seek the occasion of this event in my life to see, to find out if they can do any damage. And that's as much as I want to say... No, that's not as much as I want to say; that's as much as I'm going to say about it at the moment.
While I'll admit that seeing Rush go free is a little disappointing, we have to remember that being an arrogant, lying sack of crap with asinine opinions isn't illegal. Rush is free (well, on an eighteen month probation, really) because of drug laws that are a damned good idea. Prison doesn't cure anyone of addiction.
What I find so irritating about Limbaugh and so many on the right is that they so obviously benefit from liberal policies while ranting that liberal policies are a bad idea. Not only did he benefit from these drug policies, but he accepted help from the ACLU to protect his right to privacy - Limbaugh's been critical of both the ACLU and the right to privacy. In 1992, he wrote in his book, The Way Things Ought to Be, "I agree with the view, best articulated by Judge Robert Bork, that there is no basis in the Constitution for the privacy right which was announced as the foundational basis for the constitutional right to abortion." In other words, there is no right to privacy.
As I said earlier, being an arrogant, lying sack of crap with asinine opinions isn't illegal, neither is being a hypocrite or a fool. And Limbaugh should be damned grateful for that fact, because it'd be three strikes and you're out otherwise.