Unhappy Rush


Rush Limbaugh's comments during his first day back on the air since he went through a third round of "treatment" for his drug problem illustrate the point that, despite his emphasis on the addictive power of opioid painkillers, his habit was not simply a chemical compulsion. Summing up what he learned during his five weeks off, he said:

I can no longer try to live my life by making other people happy. I can no longer turn over the power of my feelings to anybody else, which is what I have done a lot of my life. I have thought I had to be this way or that way in order to be liked or appreciated or understood, and in the process I denied myself who I was, and I denied the other people who I was talking to and relating with who I really am. And that isn't good.

The problem, in other words, was not that the narcotics were inherently irresistible (which is what Limbaugh implied in his October 10 confession) but that he used them to mask his basic unhappiness. The need for the psychological changes to which Limbaugh alludes explains why simply getting the drugs out of his system, which he has done three times now, was not enough.


NEXT: Reaction Time

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  1. So is he saying he’s actually a Democrat?

  2. he admitted on the show that he used them because “he liked them”

  3. Always figured that guy was a closet libertine and he while he sometimes told social conservatives what they wanted to hear, he didn’t really believe it. (Showbiz I guess).

    If he uses his giant soapbox to declare a jihad on the War on Drugs. . . that would be an interesting development. I’m hoping he does that.

  4. There is no way in hell he declares war on the war on drugs. This guy is an actor playing a conservative. His on air beliefs are dictated by ratings. He will be seen as a hero by his fans because he kicked the habit. “He is so strong” they will say. No one will see the hypocrisy that he managed to clean up (assuming he does) without a prison sentence. This whole thing confirms my belief that conservatives will look the other way when their people screw up no matter what (Bush’s spending and tariffs, Reagan and North selling weapons to Iran etc…). Liberals do the same thing.

  5. Eh, maybe it depends on what the prosecutors decide to do. If they discretely overlook prosecuting him because he’s not “the type of person” who is prosecuted for drug crimes, maybe he’ll drop it. If they won’t, maybe it could get interesting.

  6. Eh, maybe it depends on what the prosecutors decide to do. If they discretely overlook prosecuting him because he’s not “the type of person” who is prosecuted for drug crimes, maybe he’ll drop it. If they won’t, maybe it could get interesting.

  7. So the old Rush was acting that way BECAUSE HE WANTED TO BE LIKED? Jeez, I can’t wait to see the “not afraid to be an asshole when I feel like it” Rush.

  8. sounds like Rush should take a pill and just chill…

  9. so, let me get (part of) this straight: he didn’t get high cuz he likes it, he did it so people would like him?

    btw, have the prosecutors commented on the case? why isn’t rush being charged? or can rich white guys just say “i have done wrong” and get off?

  10. Rush doesn’t have to live make prosecutors happy.

  11. Many years ago I was addicted to Rush. I listened to his show, bought his stupid books, and watched his stupid TV show (in which he prominently displayed his stupid books).

    I have no one to blame except for myself. I allowed myself to become overwhelmed with reactionary emotion and closed my mind to reason.

    My name is Jeff, and I’m a recovering Republican.

    (PS – I know this won’t happen, but I seriously wish that this bastard go to jail and be violated by another drug addict that he so vocally wanted “sent up the river”.)

  12. ^ You “seriously wish that this bastard go to jail and be violated by another drug addict”?
    That’s sad.
    Well I’m glad you’re no longer a member of the Republican party; this must be part of the “compassion” that Republicans are always lacking.

  13. why? shouldn’t people reap the rewards of their labor, ideological and physical?

    this fuck was participating in a fairly large-scale drug-purchasing ring, for which he will most likely receive no punishment. he advocated jail time for people doing the exact same thing he was.

    it may not be pretty, but it would be fair.

  14. The selected quote sounds strangely Objectivist to me ie “I can no longer try to live my life by making other people happy.” Maybe this a new era for Rush but I doubt it. At least maybe he has learned the lesson that people’s private lives are none of his or our business unless they effect their public performance and infringe on no one else’s rights.

  15. Sir Thomas — To me the selected quote sounds like something he might have picked up from “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World” by Harry Browne.

  16. It’s sad because Mr Nice Guy isn’t advocating fairness or justice, he’s advocating particularly sadistic violence against someone whom he feels mislead/betrayed by. It’s along the lines of making the lousy death sentance case by saying “Imagine how you would feel if if it was your …” He said he blames no one but himself, but clearly, that’s not the case.

    As long as we know something isn’t going to happen but we’re wishing it anyway, why not wish that that the laws would be changed for everyone? Or that wrongs could be righted? Why would you wish as he did?

  17. hell, if rush does a 180 and all of a sudden starts stumping against the war on some drugs, then i’ll be the first to tip my hat.

    what’s the likelyhood of that happening?

  18. dhex – as I said earlier… it ain’t gonna happen.

  19. I’m still trying to imagine objectivist rehab sessions.

  20. I’m picturing the “Megatronics” lecture from The Simpsons.

    “Life is hard. Am I right?”

    Class nods.

    “Wrong! Life is easy! You suck!”

  21. Nobody goes to jail for using pain killers without a prescription. Selling, maybe, not using.

  22. Rule of Law.

    What a joke.

  23. “Nobody goes to jail for using pain killers without a prescription. Selling, maybe, not using.”

    I had to bail my friend out of jail for possession of one xanax pill for which he didn’t have a prescription. At the time he was busted with a friend who’s charge was for 2 grams of pot. Ironically, bail for pot was far less than bail for the single xanax charge. His bail was $2000, the pot guy was $500.

    This all happened in Florida.

  24. You might be arrested for simple possession, but the likelihood of being prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to actual time behind bars is far from likely. The prosecutors in Rush’s case said as much. They go after those who are selling. Whether or not you like Rush, he isn’t the prescription drug kingpin that the prosecutors want to put away. Perhaps he will rethink his harsh views on low-level users. Perhaps he won’t. But wishing for him to be raped is just heartless.

  25. “Nobody goes to jail for using pain killers without a prescription. Selling, maybe, not using.”

    People are sent to Federal-Pound-Me-In-The-Ass prison for mere possession. As I understand it, Rush was busted with a felony quantity of drugs large enough to establish a “clear intent to sell”.

    I just wish he would dry up and blow away. He is the worst sort of hypocrite for claiming to take responsibility and then blaming the “highly addictive drugs”. What a douche bag. Claims he wanted to quit, tried to quit (but somehow just couldn’t), but there’s no reason to believe that. He would have just kept using if he hadn’t got busted. For that matter, why should we believe he isn’t using right now?

    The worst part about this two-faced scofflaw is how he spins his own criminal activity to a call for more oppressive laws and enforcement. Rush isn’t calling for an end to the war on drugs, he’s calling for its escalation. This blowhard generates enough money to keep his head pickled and his fat ass out of (FPMINTA) prison by promoting a right-wing agenda that keeps the rest of us under the heel of jack-booted thugs. Wealthy white guys shouldn’t be subjected to the law, unless they’re Democrats, in Rush’s world. Everybody else should be arrested and all their possessions seized to keep the establishment in power and pain-pills.


  26. He’s a monumental hypocrite, plain and simple. Question is, are his devoted fans hypocrites by association, even those who fervently believe in him?

  27. he and his fans would absolutely crucify someone like Al Franken if he had been the one caught with the pills. Suddenly the pills would be “narcotics” and “hillbilly heroin”. He would rant about the culture of permissiveness on the left. I do not hope Rush goes to jail, but I do hope he opens his eyes to the failed drug war and his “conservative” party line in general.

  28. Right on Dhex!

    I was torn about this issue, much of my angst mirrored the back and forth on this. Now I am just disappointed that the LONG OVERDUE NATIONAL DEBATE on the Failed War On Drugs? still seems years away. Not with a bang, but a whimper I suppose. Designer drugs may someday herald the end, or bring on a new wave of utter insanity (not the drugs, but the reaction to them of course).


    Steve in CO.

  29. Rush has at least come around to the perhaps convenient view that jailing addicts isn’t useful, especially if it keeps them from getting treatment, if what I heard on Tuesday’s program was his real view. If the concept that the state shouldn’t be interfering with the market for self-medication has somehow emerged in the half of his brain not tied behind his back, it would be a good bet that he wouldn’t say “boo” about it on the radio until he is absolutely sure that he will not be prosecuted. Taking a pro-legalization stance would be like waving a red cape in front of the U.S. or State’s attorney’s who would love to make an example of someone who won’t fall in and spout the official line about the WoSD.

    We know Rush loves an “adult beverage,” good food and fine tobacco. He also claims to have quit smoking cigarettes cold turkey, and has dropped a lot of weight and kept it off. That tells me that, when he is sufficiently motivated, he can resist some temptations. Whether prescription opiates will prove tougher to beat than any previous jones probably depends on his personal physiology and psychology. For my part, if he never hurt anyone else because of his drug use, I wouldn’t care if he stayed hopped up for the rest of his life. His wife, family and friends might. Too bad the govt. can’t let it be just their business.

    One thing to look out for: sometimes people who have been forced into rehab by the threat of legal sanction take the “thank god, the cops and the courts stopped me and made me get help” view. It would be very easy to hear El Rushbo gravitate to that position. Had he been an average guy who committed a minor offense while drugged or drunk, and didn’t have much of a record, you know his best shot for getting his life back to normal would be to promise (or be ordered) to have his “substance abuse problem” assessed and/or treated. That, and ratting out his dealer or his Dr. Feelgood. Treating addicts in jail or prison isn’t cheap, and if an offender can stay outside, keep working, and pay for a good bit of the cost of counseling while on probation, judges may go for it. Those that fail to complete their program can always be “violated” and any suspended sentence can be be resurrected. A cynic might say that getting cleaned up by voluntarily going to rehab could have been a proactive step recommended by high paid lawyers, meant to convince any prosecutors and/or judges that Limbaugh is truly repentent for having gotten mixed up in the horrible world of black market pills. Mebbe so. Maybe it was a sincere attempt to get straight. And one can do something from a mix of pure and “impure” motives.


  30. Citizen:

    You make some valid points. Ideally, compassion should be universal, even towards flaming assholes. Alas, being a former Repulsican running-dog, my hatred now is directed towards the haters. Fuck turning the other cheek.

    “why not wish that that the laws would be changed for everyone? Or that wrongs could be righted?”

    Very true. However, people like Rush keep what you stated above from happening. As long as people listen to him, ignorance will fester.

    “I just wish he would dry up and blow away.”
    Better said, Warren 🙂

  31. As I understand it, Rush was busted with a felony quantity of drugs large enough to establish a “clear intent to sell”.

    It was my understanding that Rush wasn’t caught in possession of anything. Without actual pills in his possession, there is no case, and that is a barrier no prosecutor will try to overcome.

    If anyone has a link saying the cops confiscated a bag of pills from Rush, I’d like to see it.

  32. You guys are presenting a textbook example of why it can be so hard to recover. Yes, Rush sounds “strangely Objectivist” and like Harry Browne … but before either of those there was a guy named Bill W. What Rush really sounds like is someone who is working the Twelve Steps. In fact, in his talk he admitted his powerlessness over the addiction (First Step), and admitted what he was doing was wrong and that he knew it was wrong, which is something like the Fifth Step.

    Do you imagine that was easy? On national radio, in front of a bazillion people?

    So call him a hypocrite if you like — I’m sure he called himself worse in the last five weeks. But don’t talk to me about Republicans lacking compassion until you exhibit some sign that you know what it is by personal experience.

    Another friend of Bill W.

  33. compassion for someone whose own sense of it seemed to have been killed by the irony gods quite some time ago?

    there’s compassion, and then there’s just desserts. it would be nice to have the war on some drugs disappear, or at least perceptibly recede. but that’s not going to happen for quite some time, in part because of people like mr. limbaugh who insisted on both demonizing users (exempting himself?) and helping further anthropomorphize inert substances. calling drugs “demons” is like making moral judgements against cakes and cookies because some people are fat. it hurts public perception and helps feed the already superstitious cloud that surrounds illegal chemicals, from both users and opposers

    ha! i’m tough and opposing drugs! next stop – the war on paperclips!

    like fuck him. he wanted tough on crime so badly, he should get a taste of it himself. his efforts in some small way helped fuck up the lives of others.

    he’s not a fuck for getting hooked on pills. that’s his own problem and truly no one else’s concern. he’s a fuck for being hooked on pills and yet screaming for the heads of other illegal drug users. he’s a fuck for being an authoritarian bootlicker – so long as the boot’s on the correct foot.

  34. Rush should not be sent to jail.

    He may be a hypocrite, and he may be an illegal drug user. But being a hypocryte isn’t illegal, and being a drug user shouldn’t be.

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