El Rushbo

Okay, you’ve seen the statement by now:

“I first started taking prescription painkillers some years ago when my doctor prescribed them to treat post surgical pain following spinal surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful and I continued to have severe pain in my lower back and also in my neck due to herniated discs. I am still experiencing that pain. Rather than opt for additional surgery for these conditions, I chose to treat the pain with prescribed medication. This medication turned out to be highly addictive.

“Over the past several years I have tried to break my dependence on pain pills and, in fact, twice checked myself into medical facilities in an attempt to do so. I have recently agreed with my physician about the next steps.”

(There’s a bit more, follow the link.) Note how carefully Rush points out that his addiction was the result of a medical condition. You see, he’s not just some common, weak crackhead off the street — he had to take the pills because he was in pain. (This observation courtesy of my pal Steve Rendell, a long-time Rush-watcher.)

I remember noting in a few cartoons, during the debate over Clinton’s health care plan, that Rush considered health care more of a privilege than a necessity. He often compared guaranteed health care to guaranteed car ownership — if poor people want new Cadillacs, does we as a society have to provide them? Huh? Do we? One of his recurrent themes was that there’s no need for health care reform because no one goes without health care, because you can always go to an emergency room. This seemed mindbogglingly simpleminded to me at the time — what do cancer patients do, or anyone else who requires something more than immediate, one-time treatment? — but it makes more sense, now that we know that Rush was so confused on the topic that he did not understand the distinction between a physician prescibing medication and a maid scoring drugs in a parking lot.

In fact, a lot of what Rush has said makes more sense now that we know he was stoned out of his mind for years.

(And spare me the complaints about the harsh tone here. I’d have a lot more compassion for him if he’d ever shown an iota of compassion for anyone else affected by human weakness and frailty — including drug addicts.)