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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

No One Ever Accused Rush Limbaugh of Being a Deep Thinker

Rush Limbaugh may have just achieved the nearly impossible -- he's proven himself an even bigger dick than I thought he was. In criticizing an ad for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill, Limbaugh accuses actor Michael J. Fox of faking his Parkinson's symptoms.

Media Matters:

LIMBAUGH: You need to see this. It's a spot running in St. Louis during World Series games, bought and paid for and approved by the Democrat [sic] Senate candidate, Claire McCaskill. Now, I want you to listen to this. This is Michael J. Fox, aired during a World Series game, and I will describe for you what he's doing in this commercial after you've heard it.

[begin audio clip]

FOX: As you might know, I care deeply about stem cell research. In Missouri, you can elect Claire McCaskill, who shares my hope for cures. Unfortunately, Senator Jim Talent opposes expanding stem cell research. Senator Talent even wanted to criminalize the science that gives us the chance for hope. They say all politics is local, but that's not always the case. What you do in Missouri matters to millions of Americans, Americans like me.

McCASKILL: I'm Claire McCaskill, and I approve this message.

[end audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: Now, this is Michael J. Fox. He's got Parkinson's disease. And in this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking. And it's purely an act. This is the only time I have ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has. I know he's got it and he's raising money for it, but when I've seen him in public, I've never seen him betray any of the symptoms. But this commercial, he -- he's just all over the place. He can barely control himself. He can control himself enough to stay in the frame of the picture, and he can control himself enough to keep his eyes right on the lens, the teleprompter. But his head and shoulders are moving all over the place, and he is acting like his disease is deteriorating because Jim Talent opposes research that would help him, Michael J. Fox, get cured. Jim Talent does not oppose stem cell research, he opposes fetal stem cell research but not adult. But this is reminiscent, and I don't have time -- yes, I do. Here, listen to [then-Democratic vice presidential candidate] John Edwards, the Breck girl, on the campaign trail, October 11th, 2004:

EDWARDS [audio clip]: If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk -- get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.

LIMBAUGH: And I think, didn't he even say -- they said it at a debate. I don't know if he said it at a convention. So this is really shameless, folks, this is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting, one of the two.

This illustrates the biggest problem that Republicans face today -- their own awesome stupidity. Let's think about this for just a moment. That's all it really takes. So much of what the right believes or does or says would never get off the ground if they let someone think about it for a minute. This is one of those times.

If the medications Fox takes to manage his Parkinson's worked as well as Limbaugh seems to believe they do, then why would Fox care about stem cell research? He'd be fine. There would be no reason to pursue another form of therapy if the treatment he was receiving worked great, now would there?

See what I mean? If the GOP had someone who'd take a breather and think for a minute, they wouldn't make these obvious mistakes. But that's not the way these guys run things. They have to rush into things pretty much the same moment it occurs to them. So we run into Iraq and away from global climate change.

There's no thought here, just impulse. Maybe thought is 'impure', somehow. Maybe these people are throwbacks to the romantic period, where the governing philosophy was that emotions were pure and reason was unnatural. I don't know.

In Rush's defense, he did offer something approximating an apology.

All right. Now, people are telling me that they have seen Michael J. Fox in interviews and he does appear the same way in the interviews as he does in this commercial for Claire McCaskill. All right, then, I stand corrected. I have never seen -- I've seen him on Boston Legal, I've seen him on a number of stand-up appearances, I've never seen the evidence that he's got -- I know he's got it. It's pitiable that he has the disease. It's a debilitating disease, and I understand that fully. Now, just stick with me on this.

All I'm saying is that I've never seen him the way he appears in this commercial for Claire McCaskill. So I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act, especially since people are telling me they have seen him this way on other interviews and in other television appearances.

But he cuts the legs out of the apology immediately.

We do not have anywhere near a cure. We can't regenerate nerves yet, folks, and that's what has to happen to cure paralysis in the spine. And stem cells do not promise any such thing, nor do they for Parkinson's disease. So the reason that I went and got the Breck girl to compare it to the Michael J. Fox is because I think that the intent here is the same thing.

I think, and if I may be blatantly honest, brazenly so, I think this is much more offensive than Hillary [Rodham Clinton]'s Senate opponent implying that she is ugly. Michael J. Fox is allowing his illness to be exploited, and in the process is shilling for a Democrat [sic] politician. And in the process of doing that, creating an impression, like John Edwards tried to do, that is not reality. Michael J. Fox is using his illness as a way to mislead voters into thinking that their vote for a single United States senator has a direct impact on stem cell research in Missouri. It doesn't, and it won't.

The thing is, fetal stem cells are one of the most promising avenues of nerve regeneration, for obvious reasons. If the fetal stem cell can develop into any kind of cell -- and it can -- then it can become a nerve cell. To say, as Limbaugh does, that fetal stem cell research doesn't offer anything for paralyzed patients is just another example of how all this rightwing craziness doesn't work if you stop and think about it for just a moment.

Let me give you another example. Limbaugh's always been a global warming denier. In arguing that global warming is a myth, Rush somehow came to the conclusion that even if the polar ice caps melted completely, ocean levels wouldn't rise. After all, a melting ice cube floating in a drink won't cause the glass to overflow. On reaching this conclusion -- the conclusion he wanted to reach -- Limbaugh stopped thinking. Further thought would only mess up his theory.

After all, had he continued thinking, he would've realized that there's a big ol' continent at the south pole and that most of the world's ice isn't floating in the ocean. Can't have that -- that's reality horning in on a perfectly good ideologically driven theory. Thinking about this stuff only wrecks it.

Thought is the real enemy of the right. Reason turns up all the things they don't like -- evolution, global warming, stem cell research. Science and thought are the doings of godless wizards. It's best to avoid it and motivate yourself by emotion as much as possible. Reasoning only brings up problems.

So, they come to insane conclusions like this. Michael J. Fox has to be faking his symptoms. Any other conclusion attacks Limbaugh's position on fetal stem cells.

So, it's better to go with the jerking knee than to stop and think for a minute.


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neonprimetime said...

Get these facts straight ...
1.) Stem Cell Research DOES NOT EQUAL Cloning
2.) Republicans are AGAINST Cloning
3.) Republicans are FOR Adult Stem Cell Research
4.) Republicans are AGAINST Embryotic Stem Cell Research

There is NO reason to vote Democrat on this issue. The Michael J. Fox ads in particular are very misleading, especially since in Missouri the ballot is talking about Cloning, not Stem Cell Research, so it makes Michael J. Fox's ad pretty inaccurate actually.

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